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High school football: No. 6 Flowery Branch toppled by second-ranked Jefferson 40-10
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Flowery Branch quarterback David Renard drops back to throw a pass Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, during the first half of their game with Gainesville High at The Branch. - photo by Scott Rogers

BY JESHUA KIDD

For The Times

Though the highly-anticipated region opener didn't go the way of the sixth-ranked Flowery Branch (3-2, 0-1 Region 8-4A) on Friday, there's still plenty of opportunity to rebound and make a case for the other spot to open the playoffs at home in Class 4A. 

In fact, it's likely for the Falcons. 

However, hopes of a region championship, the program's first since 2012, took a serious hit Friday after missed opportunities resulted in a 40-10 loss to second-ranked Jefferson at Falcons Field. 

However, Flowery Branch, which was dominant in its last three outings, should not fret. Its next four region opponents have a 1-14 combined mark. 

That leaves plenty of room for the Falcons to make a run toward their fourth straight playoff appearance under Ben Hall. 

After this one, there's little doubt that the Dragons (5-0, 1-0) will be taking home the region championship. On Friday, Malaki Starks, a junior quarterback and the state's second-best prospect in the Class of 2022, rushed for their first three touchdowns, as Jefferson rallied from an early 3-0 hole. 

Starks, a prospect with 15 Division-I college offers from Power 5 programs, had another big night, leading Jefferson with 130 yards. He's now at nearly 700 yards on the season with 14 touchdowns. 

The Dragons would score 33 unanswered points before Flowery Branch scored its only touchdown in the fourth quarter. By that point, the game was well in hand. 

Sophomore Myles Ivey had 127 yards rushing for the Falcons, while the state's leading passer David Renard completed 19 of 31 throws for 166 yards for Flowery Branch. 

Up next, Flowery Branch has a bye before hosting North Oconee on Oct. 23.

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