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Curry a key piece in high-flying Flowery Branch offense
Flowery Branch’s C.J. Curry runs the ball into the end zone Oct. 7 for a touchdown during a game against Habersham Central at Flowery Branch High School. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

High school football previews: Week 8

Game of the week: Monroe Area at Gainesville

FLOWERY BRANCH — A spread option offense, like the one Flowery Branch runs so effectively, is great at creating mismatches by spreading out the defense.

But regardless of the offense, the defensive backs who go one-on-one with Falcons senior wide receiver C.J. Curry are in a mismatch wherever he lines up.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Oklahoma State verbal commit has teamed up with fellow senior Casey Osborne and juniors Jamaad Stephens and Chris Dilidili to form a deadly wide receiver corps for Flowery Branch (6-0, 6-0 Region 8-AAAA).

"We’re as loaded at wide receiver as we’ve ever been," said Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw. "If you try to lock down and double team C.J., somebody else is going to pop."

With a talented senior quarterback at the helm in Kanler Coker, who passed for five touchdowns and ran for another in last week’s 56-31 win against Habersham Central (4-3, 4-3), the wide receivers are in a great situation in which to break off big plays.

This season Osborne has compiled 426 yards receiving and six touchdowns, Stephens has caught 16 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns, and Dilidili has 10 receptions for 135 yards.

Curry has added 418 yards and another six scores to complement the talented group. Not bad for a player who played running back as a freshman at Bainbridge.

"I was always better running than catching, but I just like to get the ball on offense, no matter how," Curry said.

It may explain why the senior, who transferred from North Hall before the 2011 season, averages 18.2 yards per catch. He’s just not easy to bring down.

Darius Curry, C.J.’s younger brother and a junior cornerback for Flowery Branch, should know.

"He’s real tough, he’s very physical, he’s fast and he runs his routes very well," Darius said. "You have to be physical with him."

To make matters worse for opposing defenses, he doesn’t just catch passes.

In last Friday’s win at Falcon Field, C.J. not only caught five passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, he broke free for a 37-yard run and returned a punt 73 yards for a score.

Tonight’s game against Heritage (7-0, 7-0) at Evans Memorial Stadium in Conyers is the biggest of the season for the Falcons and, looking back at the recent history of the region, a must-win if Flowery Branch has designs on its first region title.

Last year the Falcons finished 9-1, second to 10-0 Clarke Central, and in 2009 Apalachee ran the table in the region.

"Being undefeated’s a goal, a region title’s a goal and a state tile is a goal," Shaw said. "This is certainly a hurdle we need to cross to keep our goals intact."

The Patriots claim the top scoring defense in the region at just 11 points allowed per game, but the Falcons offense has yet to score less than 42 points this season.

Something’s got to give.

The Falcons offense shows no signs of slowing down, having surpassed 50 points in the last two games, and the Flowery Branch defense is eager to rebound after allowing over 30 points for the first time this season last week against Habersham Central.

"We can definitely rebound from that," Darius Curry said. "It was a one-time thing and we won’t make those mistakes again."

The Patriots do have a signature win this season, a 21-14 victory against defending region champs (and the last team to defeat Flowery Branch in the regular season) Clarke Central (5-1, 5-1).

But they haven’t had to deal with an offense so explosive yet this season; no surprise, considering the Falcons are second in the state in scoring average at 53 points per game.

C.J. Curry is just one of those pieces, a wide receiver/punt returner who counts former Oklahoma State and current Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and current Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon as two of his favorite players.

With the way the Flowery Branch senior is playing this season, Stillwater might not be too worried about seeing Blackmon head to the NFL.

College, however, is far in the distance with the Falcons still in the thick of the region schedule.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Curry doesn’t feel the high expectations on him.

"They say that he looks big, so the play has to match it," the senior recalls.

This season he is living up to those expectations even while fitting in with a new team and learning a new offense.

"We’re fortunate to have a guy like C.J.," Shaw said. "And a guy like Osborne."

The talented group of wide receivers have helped the Falcons to this point, now Flowery Branch needs to get past the only other remaining undefeated team in the region.

It’s not an altogether unfamiliar situation for the Falcons.

Last year the Flowery Branch met the Gladiators in the final game of the regular season, with both teams at 9-0 and the winner taking region.

This game doesn’t yet have those implications — after all Flowery Branch still has to play the defending 8-AAAA champs — but it’s no small challenge.

"They’re a very good football team," Shaw said. "We know they’re good defensively, and we know what we can do offensively."

Tonight is just one more chance for Curry and the rest of the high-flying Falcons to show it.

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