FLOWERY BRANCH — Last season Flowery Branch was well known for its high-powered offense, always able to take on opponents in a shootout.
Now at Region 8-AAAA, with a group of teams known for defense, the Falcons have followed suit.
Through their first two games they have yet to allow a point, following a week one shutout with a 28-0 win over Winder-Barrow Friday night at Falcon Field.
"Our defense is playing lights out," Falcons coach Lee Shaw said. "When you can shut people out, you always have a chance to win."
Not only did the Falcons (2-0, 2-0 8-AAAA) shut out the Bulldoggs (0-2, 0-2), they scored 28 points on a Winder-Barrow defense that had not allowed an offensive touchdown in its Week 1 loss to Rockdale County.
"We knew going in that they were going to put it in the air," Bulldoggs coach David Wagner said. "We gave their quarterback too much time to throw."
Falcons senior quarterback Austin Brown took full advantage of his time in the pocket, finishing 14-27 for 185 and a touchdown.
"We knew they were going to play the secondary pretty deep," Brown said. "So we were able to throw underneath, and try long to stretch them."
The home team didn't wait very long to get on the scoreboard, taking the opening drive 78 yards to the end one. Brody Thomas ran in on a pitch from quarterback Austin Brown to put the hosts ahead 7-0.
The Falcons returned to the end zone with 8:51 remaining in the half on a drive that had appeared over the play before.
Winder-Barrow fumbled in their last drive and Flowery Branch recovered on the 27 yard line.
The Falcons worked it down to the 14, before a bad snap flew past quarterback Austin Brown, who retreated and fell on the ball on the 33-yard line.
Faced with a third and long, the senior launched a pass over the secondary and into the arms of wide receiver Casey Osborne in the end zone.
Winder-Barrow had its best opportunity to get back in the game late in the first half when Quintin Long blocked a punt from Falcon punter Will Monday at the Flowery Branch 26-yard line.
But the Falcons defense held, and Bulldoggs kicker Cesar Saucedo's 30-yard attempt missed the uprights.
Flowery Branch made the visitors pay for the miss, marching down the field for their third score of the game on a 19-yard run from Jeremy Haley 1:01 before halftime.
"That was big that they held us," Wagner said. "It was a 14-point swing, instead of us scoring a touchdown to cut the lead in half, they then go score to make it 21-0."