(Franklin, GA) — The Heard County Braves scored 28 unanswered points and went on to defeat the visiting Spencer Greenwave 28-12 in Friday’s Region 5-AA opener at Staples Stadium.
After winning toss on homecoming night, the Braves received and put together a quick scoring drive to take an early 7-0 lead over the Greenwave. A long 54-yard pass completion from senior QB Alijah Huzzie to Ayden Cannon was the key play and Aaron Beasley took it to the house from seven yards away to finish the quick drive.
Senior Jakab Moon was a perfect 4-for-4 on PAT attempts with nice holds from Leroy marsh and snaps from Tray Owens.
After a hold from the Brave defense the Brave offense took over in good field position before a couple of penalties and a botched punt snap set the Greenwave up deep in Brave territory.
Spencer would not sustain that momentum for long as senior Brave defensive back Quincy Sheppard came up with a big interception at the Brave two yard line.
Sheppard had a huge night all around for the Braves on both sides of the ball with two interceptions and two shirt TD receptions from Huzzie. Sheppard finished the night with four receptions for 62 yards.
Alijah Huzzie also had a solid night in the passing game completing 9 of 14 passes for 148 including his two TD passes to Sheppard. he rushed for 23 yards on five carries.
Aaron Beasley rushed for 147 yards on 28 rushes and two scores to lead the ground attack. Beasley also came up with an interception on defense.
The Brave defense was strong again allowing just 136 yards on the ground. The big Braves up front completely shut down the rushing attack allowing just 34 yards rushing on 24 carries.
The biggest special teams plays of the night came on a touchdown saving tackle by Jake Harrod on a Spencer kick off return and a blocked punt from Kesean Johnson in the third quarter.
The Braves led 28-0 after three quarters when things turned chippy. A Spencer player was ejected and the referees eventaully gained back control of the game. Spencer’s two fourth quarter touchdowns closed out the scoring for the night.
It was another tough night on the injury front for the Braves who lost standout offensive lineman Michael Cheney for a yet to be determined amount of time with multiple injuries.
The banged-up Braves will be off next week before facing back-to-back Region 5-AA road games at Temple (Oct. 5) and Jordan (Oct. 12).
“I thought for three quarters we played really well on defense but on offense they are just not playing as crisp and fast as we would like them to be playing right now,” said Coach Tim Barron after the game.
“Granted, I thought we did some things well offensively tonight and I thought Huzzie did some really good things. Also glad to see we got some new numbers called — but we have got to get this thing like a machine and right now it’s not like a machine.”
Barron says the top priority during the open week will be to try and get his banged-up squad healthy again. Senior Collin Wright was on the sidelines with the team Friday night, but in a wheelchair following season-ending knee surgery last week.
The Braves will be off next week before facing back-to-back Region 5-AA road games at Temple (Oct. 5) and Jordan (Oct. 12) prior to a huge home match-up versus rival Callaway on October 19.
In other Region 5-AA openers Friday night, Callaway crushed Temple 49-0 and Lamar County ousted Jordan 35-6. Bremen destroyed Cross Keys 79-0 in non-region play.