(Lagrange, GA) — The Heard County Braves fell hard in the 8th Annual Pulpwood Classic Friday night in Lagrange.
After a promising start with two defensive stops and a long drive on offense, the Braves came up empty after a botched field goal attempt early in the second quarter and the state’s No. 2 ranked Callaway Cavaliers would control the game for the rest of the night.
The Cavaliers scored 21 second quarter points to lead at the half and added two more second half scores to win by a final score of 34-0.
The defensive highlight of the game came from the 2019 Senior Homecoming King Qua Thornton when the defensive lineman stabbed a pass out of the air for a rare interception from one of the big guys up front. Thornton also returned the interception for a few yards in Cav territory.
Despite the Braves only accruing 145 yards of total offense in the game, junior Alex Boyd managed to post his third straight 100 yard rushing effort. Boyd earned each and every one of his 103 yards on 24 attempts.
Quarterback Leroy Marsh was able to complete four of his five pass attempts for 53 yards. Marsh’s longest completion of 28 yards landed in the hands of Micaiah Austin.
The Brave defense was unable to duplicate last year’s effort that saw them hold highly-touted Callaway running back “Tank” Bigsby to just 64 rushing yards, but were able to limit any big plays.
Bigsby scored two touchdowns and rushed for 154 yards on 24 carries with only one of those touches going for more than 15 yards. The Brave defense also limited the Cavs to just seven pass completions on 21 attempts.
“Callaway can hurt you in so many ways. They’ve got a talented running back in Bigsby and four receivers, and a quarterback who can run and he can throw. It just puts you in such a bind,” Brave coach Tim Barron said after the game. “It’s just really difficult when your defense is on the field for a long amount of time against a team with that many explosive weapons.”
Barron says the team has to do better if it wants to find success in the final two games of the regular season.
“We didn’t play well there’s a whole lot of things we could have done better from me on down — we’ve just got to be better than we were tonight, said Barron after the game. “We can’t play like we did tonight in our last two games at Lamar and versus Bremen. We’ve got a whole lot of things to clean up and we’ve got to do it in a hurry.”
The win secured the Cavaliers a Region 5-AA title for the first time since 2016 and also as a result, the Pulpwood Classic Trophy will reside in Lagrange for the next year. The Braves drop to 3-5 on the season but with a 3-1 Region 5-AA record there is still much to play for in regards to the postseason.
The Braves are currently tied for second place in the region with the Bremen Blue Devils — a team that will come to Franklin on November 9 in the regular season finale that will likely be a fight for a home playoff game in the opening round of state.
But first, both the Braves and Blue Devils must take care of other region business this Friday night on the road.
The Braves (3-5, 3-1) will travel to Barnesville for a 7:30 PM kick versus the Lamar County County Trojans (6-2, 2-2) while the Blue Devils (5-3, 3-1) will travel to Columbus to face the Spencer Greenwave (2-6, 0-4).
Region 5-AA matches up versus Region 7-AA from Northwest Georgia in round one of the GHSA Class AA State Playoffs beginning on Friday, November 16.
The Braves have already clinched a state playoff spot and could face either Model, Chattooga, Pepperell, or Rockmart in round one. Temple and Lamar County are both in contention for a Region 5-AA playoff spot as well.