Like an old engine with new parts, the Flowery Branch offense struggled to get going for much of its first four games, but the Falcons roared to life Friday in a 41-7 win that featured touchdowns from five different players.
New weapons emerged for Flowery Branch, which had stalled, scoring 44 points (including two defensive touchdowns) in the last two games since a 42-10 win over Lumpkin County in Week 2. But Friday, the Falcons showed new flair in their spread option running game, involving wide receivers like Rodriguez Frazier, who carried twice for two touchdowns and 61 yards in the win.
Frazier, a long-legged junior, didn't show up on the Falcons' list of rushing leaders after the first four games, but he has two scores and 89 receiving yards on six catches on the season.
Big senior running back Daniel Drummond continues to be a threat with 286 yards on the season (7.3 per carry) after carrying six times Friday for 78 yards.
Shuffle the deck
If there's ever a good problem to have in football, being flushed personnel must be one.
That's the situation Riverside coach Chris Lancaster seems to find himself in after a 4-1 start (1-0 in Region 8-AA) in the Eagles' first season back in GHSA.
Friday, Lancaster moved part-time quarterback Julian Suber to running back, making room for Riverside's leading passer, Lucas Bersin, to take over as the starting signal caller.
Safe to say, the move worked well. The Eagles bounced back from their first loss of the season, thumping East Jackson 44-6. Suber rushed for 220 yards on 19 carries at his new position, bringing his season total to 580.
Meanwhile, Bersin (48-65, 550 yards on the year) completed 10-of-19 attempts, including a pair of touchdown passes to Logan Clemens, who split his time between running back and receiver Friday.
Even with a loss, the Eagles remain in the hunt for the Region 8-AA crown.
To win it, they'll probably need to knock Jefferson (5-0, 4-0) off the top of the hill Friday.
Speaking of Jefferson, the Dragons stayed hot with a 50-14 win over Union County on Friday. The win leaves Jefferson as the only unbeaten team in Region 8-AA.
The Dragons are scoring 38.6 points per game, but the defense has played its part as well.
Minus the 14 points Oglethorpe County scored against the Jefferson reserves after the Dragons led 46-8 at halftime, the Jefferson defense entered Friday night's game only giving up a little more than six points per game. The Dragons followed that by limiting Kolt Owenby and the Union County offense. Led by Owenby's 1,100-plus passing yards and 450 rushing yards, the Panthers were scoring more than 35 points per game before running into Jefferson.
Wild, wild 7A-AAA
Through five weeks of football, no team in Region 7A-AAA is above .500, four teams sit dead even, and three others are winless. And with only two subregion playoff spots up for grabs and just one week of in-league play crossed off the calendar, the final standings haven't even begun to sort itself out.
Friday's North Hall-White County game could go far in determining playoff positions. Both teams suffered bruising losses to Gainesville, but have since bounced back with wins.
White County (2-2, 0-0) got back on track with a close win over West Hall, while North Hall (2-2, 1-0) scored five times in the first half, then buckled down in the final two quarters to hold off Creekview.
Lumpkin County (2-2, 1-0) and Chestatee (2-2, 1-0) also meet Friday. Despite losing its top two producers from last year (Ken and Cameron Jackson), the Indians have remained competitive, notching a pair of wins led by quarterback Daniel Abercrombie.
The War Eagles have been offensively explosive in their two wins, but limited by turnovers in much of their two losses.
The winner of Friday's games will position themselves as frontrunners, while the losers will be playing catch-up in the second half of the season.