(Columbus, GA) — The Heard County Braves scored a much-needed 34-8 road win over Spencer in the first Region 5-AA game of the season Thursday night.
The Braves led for the entire contest with the lone points from the Greenwave coming in the closing moments of the game with many reserves on defense for the Braves.
The night got off to a spectacular start when Brave starting quarterback Leroy Marsh connected with Ashton Bonner on a 61-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
The Brave defense would respond with a three-and-out on the ensuing Greenwave drive, the start of an excellent night defensively for a squad that limited Greenwave scoring opportunities despite one driving even starting inside the Braves 15-yard line.
Leading the way for the Brave defense were some of the usual suspects. Kesean Johnson and Micaiah Austin were the leading tacklers with nine apiece followed by Jai Wright with eight and Tray Owens with seven.
Qua Thornton had a nice night as well up front with five tackles and he also smothered the Greenwave punter to force a turnover on downs.
Other tackling leaders included Marsh, Boyd, Key Whitlow, Isiah O’Neal and Bonner with four each while Anthony Graley, Andrew Rogers, Jake Harrod, Will Finch, and Cordell Sweet each notched three tackles.
The Greenwave defense stopped the Brave offense’s second drive on downs to keep the score at 7-0 after a quarter. Junior Alex Boyd would break way on a 77-yard TD rush to extend the lead to 14-0 with 4:59 to play in the first half.
Junior Alex Boyd (Photo: Jeff Napier)
Returning from an early season injury, Boyd had a stellar night with a career-high 211 yards on 20 carries with two scores. Boyd also had an interception on defense to close out the first half.
With newcomer southpaw quarterback Maurice French seeing his first significant varsity action of the season, the Braves would score quickly again in the third quarter on a 31-yard scamper from Bonner.
The final touchdown of the night came via the a short burst from Isaiah O’Neal in the fourth quarter.
Place kicker James Newell connected on four of his five PAT attempts in the game.
Coach Tim Barron was pleased to get a region win but acknowledges there is still much to be improved on in the coming weeks.
“Our goal tonight was to be 1-0 in region and put everything else behind us but I still think we have a lot more in us,” said Barron after the game.
“We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to offensively and while defensively we kept them out — we’ve still got a whole lot of things to clean up and work on. We hope to have a chance to heal some guys up with our off week next week and then get back to our next goal which is being 2-0 in the region.”
The Braves have a bye week before returning home to host Temple in another Region 5-AA contest on October 11. The Braves will then host Jordan the following week at Staples Stadium as part of the 2019 Homecoming festivities.