5 top games: Unique road trip for Flowery Branch

Flowery Branch hits the field. (Photo courtesy Flowery Branch Facebook page)

It will be a homecoming week for Flowery Branch coach Ben Hall, who takes his team on the road for a non-conference game against Jefferson.

Hall coached at Jefferson for four seasons before moving over to Hall County.  He was an assistant under coach T. McFerrin from 2009-12, when the Dragons won the state championship. Hall became head coach in 2013 and ran the program for four years. He took the Flowery Branch job last spring.

“It’s going to be different,” Hall said. “There will be a lot of emotions involved and it will be different lining up on the other side of the field.”

Flowery Branch is off to a 3-0 start. The Falcons only won three games all last season and they haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. They haven’t gotten off to a 3-0 start since 2011, when they went 11-2 and reached the third round of the playoffs.

“The kids have bought into what we’re trying to do,” Hall said. “They’ve been a fun bunch to coach. They want to be good. They want to work hard and do the things it takes to be a good team.”

The Falcons have done it with a strong combination of offense and defense. They’ve scored 112 points and allowed only 13, including one shutout against North Hall.

The Flowery Branch offense is led by tailback Malik Damons, who has rushed for 458 yards and seven touchdowns. Sophomore Elijah Gainey is starting his first season at quarterback and has thrown for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Experienced offensive linemen Cannon Underwood (6-2, 275) and Bailey Ottaway (6-5, 270) are at the heart of the blocking.

The defense is led by outside linebacker Colby Adams (6-3, 205) and free safety Myles Janess (6-0, 205).  Adams has 24 tackles, two sacks and six hurries and Janess has 16 tackles.

Here’s a look at some of the other most interesting games in Class AAAAA this weekend.:

Starr’s Mill at Sandy Creek: Click here to read the report on this game.

Jones County at Woodland: Quarterback Teldric Ross leads the attack for No. 7-ranked Jones County, with his passing and rushing. Drake Bolus is the team’s leading rusher, receiver and threat on kickoff returns. Woodland (2-2) is led by quarterback Shariff Brown, who has thrown for 350 yards and three touchdowns, and running backs Kareem Rogers and Jalen Echols. Jones County leads the series 2-1. Woodland won last year’s game 38-9 and rode that to a runner-up finish in Region 4.

Carver vs. Jackson (Lakewood Stadium), Saturday: Carver (2-1) and Jackson (2-1) open the Region 6 schedule, with the winner immediately vaulting to the list of contenders.

Carver’s offense is led by quarterback Octavious Battle, who has thrown for 770 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 110 yards. Jo’Quavious Marks (499 yards, six TDs) and Tony Jones (298 yards) lead the team in rushing.

Jackson missed the playoffs a year ago after qualified for state the two previous years. Carver has made the playoffs for the last five years, during which the won at least seven games. Carver leads the series 6-4. The Panthers have won the last three meetings, including 43-7 a year ago.

South Pointe at Buford: The No. 2 Wolves (2-0) face their second straight out-of-state opponent in South Pointe of Rockhill, S.C. Their game last week against the International School of Broward County, Fla., was cancelled because of the hurricane. South Pointe (2-0) won the 4A state championship last year and has picked up where it left off. The Stallions have scored 92 points in its first two games and is coming off a 53-0 win over Nation Ford of Fort Mill, S.C. South Point features Derion Kendrick, a Clemson commitment who threw for 3,374 yards and 37 touchdowns last season. The defense is led by end Eli Adams, who is headed to Virginia Tech.

Paulding County at Kell: No. 9 Kell (0-3) will try to get one in the win column. The Longhorns have scored 93 points in three games and led No. 1 Rome in the third quarter. Josiah Futral ran for 121 yards and Evan Conley passed for 261 yards and three touchdowns for Kell. Futral has rushed for 432 yards (11.7-yard average) and five touchdowns. Conley has thrown for 485 yards and six touchdowns.

The Paulding County (1-2) offense is directed by quarterback Brantley Mauldin, who has thrown for 466 yards and three touchdowns. The two teams played for the first time last year and Kell won 35-7.

Changes in schedule: The Veterans-Howard game has been moved from Thursday to Friday at McConnell-Talbert Stadium. Ware County’s game against Northside has been moved to Sept. 22.


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