The Blitz, complete high school coverage
CONYERS — Jackson McDonald threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Flowery Branch defeated Salem 35-16 on the road Friday night.
Salem (2-3, 1-2 Region 8-AAAAA) couldn’t convert several key opportunities with Flowery Branch (3-2, 3-0) picked up its third straight win.
Salem left at least six points on the field, missing on two field goals, and failed to take advantage of two Flowery Branch turnovers in the first half.
The Seminoles hurt themselves early in the game, jumping offside on a fourth-and-2 that extended Flowery Branch’s opening drive.
The Falcons thanked the home team for its generosity, finding the end zone two plays later on a 10-yard pass from Jackson McDonald to Cameron Davis with 9:55 left in the first quarter.
On Salem’s ensuing possession, the Seminoles fumbled on a failed pitch from Damian Gordon to Richard Days. Flowery Branch’s Quinshad Jenkins recovered the fumble on Salem’s 19-yard line. From there, the Falcons needed just one play, a 19-yard run by McDonald, to go up 14-0 with 8:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Salem had its own chance to capitalize on a turnover as Damian Gordon intercepted Cameron Davis’ halfback pass at Salem’s 35-yard line. Salem managed to get deep into Flowery Branch territory, but couldn’t convert as Kanome McIntosh missed a 30-yard field goal wide right.
Salem had its second strong chance in Falcons’ territory after Flowery Branch muffed a punt, which was recovered by Seminole Michael Peck on the 20. Salem missed another field goal from 30 yards as the lead stayed at 14-0.
Flowery Branch went up by 21 after forcing Salem to turn the ball over on downs. From the Falcons’ 20, Flowery Branch marched 80 yards into the end zone on a 10-yard pass from McDonald to Davante King with 17.3 seconds left in second quarter.
The Seminoles committed five penalties for 30 yards, but managed 205 yards, including 144 on the ground.
Salem finally ended the shutout on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Scott to Damian Gordon with 7:34 left in the game. Scott’s two point conversion to Deshawn Dotson made it 35-8.
On Flowery Branch’s first possession of second half, Jackson McDonald scored on a 48-yard quarterback keeper to go up 28-0 after the extra point with 8:23 to play in the third quarter.
McDonald scored his fifth touchdown of the game, third in the air, on a 24-yard pass to Jamaad Stephens for 35-0 lead with 4:37 left in third quarter.
Salem’s Ahmad Mitchell would finish off the night’s scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run, which came one play after a 75-yard run, to make it 35-16, after Gordon’s 2-point conversion catch with 33.2 seconds remaining.