FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga - Injuries seem to be commonplace in Flowery Branch this season, but unlike the professional team that calls the Hall County hamlet home, the Flowery Branch High School Falcons are finding a way to survive them.
"This group has overcome some early adversity," said Head Coach Ben Hall. "We lost Elijah Gainey (South Alabama commit) our starting quarterback who was going into his third year as a starter. He tore his ACL in a non-contact injury in the Dacula scrimmage and it was kind of a blow early, and I'm proud of the way the kids have responded."
The injury to Gainey forced sophomore quarterback David Renard to take over, and so far he's managed games efficiently according to Hall, and he's gradually implementing more of the team's total offensive playbook. Flowery Branch remains undefeated after wins over East Hall, Winder-Barrow, Gainesville, and a ranked Clarke Central team. While their offense is getting the job done, it's the Flowery Branch defense that's turning heads. The Falcons have yielded only 21 points so far in 2019, but Hall says numbers can be misleading.
"Out first two games were shutouts," Hall told High 5 Sports. " The third game with Winder was shortened due to weather so that's a little misleading. I've had some people call wanting to do a story on that and I've had to say let's pump the brakes a little bit for the next couple of weeks before we start crowning this team the Steel Curtain, you know. We have two really good safeties in the Dial-Watson twins, Chase and Chandler. They're seniors this year and they're playing really well. Our middle linebacker Connor Mayfield is a senior and those guys are the leaders of that unit."
The Falcons defense will have their hands full Friday night as they enter region play against White County quarterback J. Ben Haynes and the high-powered Warriors offense. The schedule gets much tougher after that with away games at back-to-back state champion Blessed Trinity and Denmark, and a home match up with Marist. Region 7-AAAA is not for the faint of heart in October and November.
"It is a gauntlet and if you can survive physically then I think you're better for it. We finished third in the region last year and made the playoffs and kind of limped into the last few games of the year with some injuries. Our schedule is physical and if we can survive I think we'll be better for playing these teams."
Flowery Branch High School will host a pep rally in support of their Falcons Thursday morning, with FOX 5's Paul Milliken leading the cheers. Portions of the fun will be televised live on Good Day Atlanta beginning in the 8 a.m. hour.