(Franklin, GA) — Current Florida Gator Emory Jones was the eighth grade quarterback of the Heard County Middle Braves football team the last time they won a league championship in 2013.
This year’s squad will have a chance to equal that feat next week when they host Villa Rica in the 2019 West Georgia Small School Championship game at Staples Stadium.
The HCMS Braves knocked off Temple 30-8 in the semifinals at Staples Thursday evening following Heard High’s Homecoming Parade.
L.J. Green set the tone early coming up with a bug fumble recovery for the Braves defense on the Tigers’ opening drive of the game. Moments later, Jonathan Echols took a hand-off from QB Gryson Cockrell and ran 58 yards to the end zone for the first score of the game.
Gavin Barlow converted a point play to put the Braves on top 8-0 and give them a lead they would never relinquish.
Cockrell would sneak it in from the 1-yard line twice more in the game and he would also connect with Echols on short pass play for another score. The Braves led 16-8 at the half.
Landon McLendon had a nice game rushing the ball and also converted a 2-point conversion in the game as did Cockrell.
A large crowd was on hand at Staples as was the HCMS Pep Band to create a fun atmosphere for some Thursday night football.
A huge upset of the No. 1 seed Bowdon by Villa Rica in the other semifinal earned the Braves home-field advantage again for the title game.
The Braves defense played well throughout the game allowing just one big play in the first half. Green came up with a big interception in the fourth quarter.
First year head coach Zack Janney was excited to see his kids play so well in the semifinal contest.
“We really pumped up the kids all week and they were ready to play tonight,” said Janney after the game. “We were missing Antwan Carter and Sammy Holliday got hurt during our warm-ups so we faced some adversity and we had to try to find some pieces — but they all came together and I am excited about next week.”
The Braves will host the Villa Rica Wildcats in the Championship Thursday night at 6:00 PM at Staples Stadium.