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Flowery Branch proud of Falcons’ success

Townsfolk, city officials are hoping for state football title

POSTED: December 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Flowery Branch proud of home team

Watch Flowery Branch Mayor Diane Hirling comment on Flowery Branch High's appearance at the Georgia Dome for Saturday's football championship.

SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Flowery Branch High School varsity cheerleaders Cydney Stephens, right, 17, and Phuong Nguyen, 17, decorate the Chick-fil-A at Stonebridge Village on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of Saturday's state title game at the Georgia Dome.

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FLOWERY BRANCH — Forget that Flowery Branch High School is a cross-town rival. Kelly Woodard will be pulling hard for the Falcons on Saturday.

"With us being right down the road from them, they’re a huge deal for us," said Woodard, a graduate of West Hall High School in Oakwood.

"We’re very proud of them," she added.

Woodard now works as a physical therapy assistant and trainer at Lanier Therapy in Motion at 4875 Hog Mountain Road. Flowery Branch High is close by at 4450 Hog Mountain Road.

Falcon faithful are spread across this city of some 4,000 residents, and they’re pumped about the football team’s first-ever championship game. The team is set to play the Cairo Syrupmakers at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Annie Black-Buchanan, owner of Carpe Diem hair salon on Main Street, said the team’s success seems to represent a rise in general excitement — not just football — in the fast-growing city.

"I’m excited for them. Flowery Branch is stepping up to the plate — we’re on the map now," she said.

Falcon fever has even reached City Hall, where City Council members were buzzing about the team at their meeting Wednesday morning.

"I’m going down to the game. I’m going to cheer for the whole city of Flowery Branch," Mayor Diane Hirling said.

She encouraged council members to consider some form of appreciation to the team if they win.

Councilman Craig Lutz said he’s looking forward to the city installing a sign that announces Flowery Branch as the home of the state football champions.

"I want it on my business card, too," said Councilman Chris Fetterman.

Hirling is not shy about showing her pride for the team.

"I’m really thrilled about the Falcons winning the (state Class AAA) championship — I’m counting on it already," she said in an interview before the meeting. "I was the first person in line on Monday morning to buy tickets."

Mark Coleman, principal of Flowery Branch High School, said that Flowery Branch has agreed to give the team a police escort as it leaves Saturday afternoon for the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

The team’s route will involve Hog Mountain Road and Spout Springs Road to Interstate 985.

E-mails calling for supporters to line the roads and cheer on the team are circulating.

"The school and community are very excited," Coleman said. "A lot of our players will be visiting our feeder schools, which want to recognize them."

Some Falcons cheerleaders spent part of Tuesday evening painting windows of the Chick-fil-A restaurant off Spout Springs Road.

"The Road Warriors are at it again," one cheerleader wrote in a reference to the team’s playoff success away from its stadium.

David Norman, director of operations at the restaurant, said employees and customers have buzzed all season about the Falcons’ successes. Enthusiasm has risen now that the team is marching toward a title.

In weekly discussions at the restaurant of area football games, "Flowery Branch has (mostly) come out on top, and we’re very thankful for that," he said.

Norman said that some of the football players visited the store Wednesday morning to see the cheerleaders’ work.

"Those guys ... were hungry and they ate a lot of food, but they were ready to go," he said.

"They were poised, and you could just tell that they’re not joking. They’re not laughing ... they are serious about going to the Dome."



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