Week 8: Initial observations

Week 8 saw Class AAAAA bump down and AAAA newcomer Flowery Branch extend its unbeaten start to six games and turn in another dominant performance—routing Region 7 counterpart Chestatee 69-13. It only took three passes for the Flowery Branch Falcons to score its first touchdown of the night — a 25-yard pass from QB Elijah Gainey to WR Jalin Strown. The two players connected for another touchdown — a 45-yard catch and run — later in the first quarter. The Falcons continued to pile it on for the remainder of the first half, scoring 35 unanswered points to take a 48-0 lead into halftime. Gainey was nearly perfect in the first half, completing 12-16 passes for 336 yards and five touchdowns. WR DJ Brown caught three scores of 43, 75, and 17 yards, respectively; all of which came in the second quarter. Flowery Branch RB Zarian Brawner scored a rushing touchdown in the second quarter (after DJ Brown’s first touchdown) then tossed a lateral to Strown on a punt return for a Flowery Branch special teams touchdown late in the second quarter. Brawner scored on a 55-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the third quarter to extend the Falcons’ lead to 55-0. Flowery Branch returned an interception for a touchdown early in the fourth, then responded with a kickoff return touchdown after Chestatee’s only touchdown of the night.

On Thursday, I emphasized a matchup that having measured 2018 records alone, would have downplayed its importance. It was between Richmond Academy (6-0) and Baldwin (1-5). 

Here’s what was said: 

Richmond Academy at Baldwin

Richmond Academy (6-0) has lost its last four meetings with Baldwin and puts an undefeated start on the line this Friday against the Braves in a Region 3-AAAA opener for both squads. Baldwin took on a grueling non-region slate before picking up its first win of the season last week against Greenbrier (14-0). Richmond Academy head coach Lyle Burnes and his Musketeers have been led by senior quarterback Marcus Cobb and senior running back Torri Taylor, who have sparked the offensive production and provided a potent balance that the playbook hasn’t seen in recent years. 

And here’s what happened Friday night: 

Baldwin 28, Richmond Academy 21 F/OT

Baldwin (2-5, 1-0) defeated Richmond Academy, now (6-1, 0-1).

So Week 8’s initial observations are: Flowery Branch is a real threat in Region 7 and the battle for Region 3 is really on. 

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