Posted: Saturday, September 15th 2012 at 4:17am
Falcons claw Cedar Shoals to break into win column, 45-27
By Morgan Lee Editor
Flowery Branch running back Justin Curry prepares to take a handoff in the Falcons' win over Cedar Shoals in Athens on Friday. / photo: Brian Oliver
ATHENS -- It took a few minutes for Flowery Branch to find its feet on Friday.
Once the Falcons did, however, they showed their offense is still very much a potent force to be reckoned with, pulling away from Cedar Shoals to secure their first victory of the season, 45-27 in Athens.
Flowery Branch (1-2, 1-0 Region 8-AAAAAA) racked up 578 yards in the win -- including 397 on the ground -- as the Falcons overcame some early turnovers to outscore the Jaguars 33-14 in the second half.
"It was a much improved effort tonight, especially in the second half," Flowery Branch coach Chris Griffin said after earning his first victory as head coach. "Things finally started to click for us, and we started to gain some confidence. Hopefully we're ready to move forward now."
Falcons quarterback Jackson McDonald showed both his legs and his arm, rushing 11 times for 148 yards and three scores, while also completing 18 of 21 passes for 181 yards, three scores and an interception. Jamaad Stephens proved his favorite target, hauling in seven passes for 83 yards and two scores. Devante King caught the other touchdown pass, finishing with three catches for 29 yards. Cameron Davis also caught four passes for 37 yards.
Running back Justin Curry also provided plenty of impressive moments for the visitors -- who handed Cedar Shoals its first loss of the season -- rushing 27 times for 195 yards and a score.
"We were able to move the ball well, but we've still got a ways to go," Griffin said. "Our defense made some strides, but our kicking game has got a way to go for sure."
The Falcons allowed 333 yards to the Jaguars, including 222 yards rushing. Adrian Washington accounted for 121 of that total, including two touchdowns. Both of his scores came in the second half, however, after the Falcons had grabbed control of the contest.
Flowery Branch trailed 13-12 at halftime, thanks in large part to turnovers. But the Falcons began to cement their dominance in the third quarter, pulling ahead on McDonald's 61-yard touchdown run with 8:23 left in the period. Quinshaun Jenkins then picked off a Cedar Shoals pass, returning it for a score and a 25-13 advantage.
Wahsington scored with with 3:34 left in the third to pull within 25-20, but Stephens fired right back with his first touchdown reception, and the Falcons took control at 31-20.
Flowery Branch will play host to Loganville next Friday.
"We'll be ready to go," Griffin said.
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