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Flowery Branch jumps on Winder early, rolls 54-14
Flowery Branch defenders swarm over Winder-Barrow’s Chad Platt during first half of play Friday night at Falcon Stadium. - photo by J. Bryan Stiles

The Blitz, complete high school coverage

FLOWERY BRANCH — With a tough three-game stretch upcoming and a must-win game before them, the Flowery Branch Falcons were out to make sure one thing didn’t happen — overlooking their opponent.

They proved they could handle the task.

The Falcons (5-2, 5-0 Region 8-AAAAA) defeated the Winder-Barrow Bulldoggs (0-6, 0-4) Friday, 54-14, for their fifth straight win.

“Offensively, defensively very, very pleased,” Flowery Branch coach Chris Griffin said. “That’s one thing we learned in the first two weeks, when we went 0-2, we decided we’re not looking for anything except for that next opponent. We’ve got to understand that it’s not necessarily our opponent, but it’s us. I told our guys ‘We can’t look past the next play. We have to execute on every given play.’”

The Falcons came out firing on all cylinders, scoring on their first six possessions. Two of their drives lasted only two plays, scoring on runs of 87 and 78 yards.

Falcons junior quarterback Jackson McDonald was sharp. He completed his first eight passes, including a 23-yard strike to sophomore Justin Curry. He’d find Curry again for a 66-yard touchdown strike.

McDonald also rushed for three touchdowns, including the 78-yard score. He finished with a game-high 122 yards rushing and 176 yards passing, also a game-high.

Curry finished the game with 54 yards rushing, including a 2-yard touchdown run. He also recorded a game-high 113 receiving yards off four receptions and caught two touchdowns.

“Offensive line’s been doing a great job, Jackson’s been making good reads and we’re doing what we do best,” Curry said. “Coach challenged us this week to try and dominate, and that’s what we did. Offensive line, receiver’s did a good job blocking on the perimeter.”

Senior running back Darius Curry, Justin’s brother, ran in the 87-yard touchdown on the Falcons’ second-play from scrimmage. After the Falcons defense held the Bulldoggs’ offense to a three-and-out, Justin then ran for the Falcons’ second score.

On the ensuing kickoff, Winder-Barrow junior running back Chandon Sullivan received the kick, returning it 35 yards, but fumbled. Teammate Chad Platt was there to scoop up the loose ball and finished the return for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 14-7.

After Flowery Branch opened up their lead to 33-7, Platt returned another kickoff for a touchdown. However, the touchdown was waived off due to a referee’s inadvertent whistle on the play. The call took away any momentum gained from the play.

“I don’t know exactly what the procedure is for the officials’ right there,” Winder-Barrow head coach David Wagner said. “That’s one of those plays ... it’s a big adrenaline play for a team that’s struggling. When he blew it the first time, my opinion, it should’ve been blown dead at that point.”

Sullivan led the Bulldoggs’ with 46 yards rushing on 11 carries. Johnny Hester scored their team’s second touchdown of the night.

Flowery Branch is host to Heritage next week, while Winder-Barrow travels to Loganville.

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