When Scott Myers took over as coach for the Flowery Branch baseball this season for longtime skipper Jerry Lawler, he had one goal in mind: Return the Falcons to the state playoffs, where they haven't been since 2009, when they were swept out of the opening round by Oconee County as a member of Region 7-AAA.
With the season winding down, the Falcons have put themselves in a great spot to qualify for a Class AAAA state playoff berth. With a 7-2 subregion record, the Falcons rest comfortably in second place in 8A-AAAA behind Winder-Barrow (9-0) and ahead of third place teams Madison County and Apalachee (2-4). If their place in the standings hold, they'll play the No. 3 seed from 8B-AAAA in a three-game series for a chance at the postseason.
The Falcons have been on a tear as of late, outscoring the competition 41-4 their last three games, including 18-0 and 17-0 wins against Salem and Clarke Central, respectively.
"I hope we're peaking right now," Myers said. "I want our bats to heat up as the weather heats up."
Not only are the Falcons playing well, but they're having fun doing so. Recently, Falcons outfielder Brody Thomas began sporting a Mohawk. His hairstyle caught on with the rest of his teammates, and now all but two have one.
"At first I thought, ‘Gosh almighty, that's ugly'" Myers said. "(Thomas) brought clippers just in case I made him cut it, but when I said it was alright, he went to work as a barber. I figure if that's what they want to do and if they're having fun with it, then let it go.
"I told them if they lost (on Monday to Madison County), they'd have to cut it."
Likely to the chagrin of their parents, the players earned the right to keep their hairdos by beating Madison County 6-4.
The Falcons put their Mohawks on the line again today at 5:30 p.m. against Heritage-Conyers (3-2 8B-AAAA) in Flowery Branch.
LADY FALCONS CELEBRATE: Speaking of Flowery Branch and the playoffs, the girls soccer team clinched their first region title in program history last Friday with a 1-0 win over Heritage in Conyers. The win not only gave them the Region 8-AAAA championship, it propelled Flowery Branch (10-6, 8-0 8-AAAA) into the EuroSportScoreboard.com Class AAAA coaches poll at No. 10 while knocking Heritage out of the polls - the Lady Patriots were ranked No. 7 at the time.
To celebrate, players coaches and parents invaded an unsuspecting CiCi's Pizza in Conyers.
"We had a good time," Lady Falcons coach Katie Scali said. "We're excited about going back to the playoffs."
After narrowly missing the state playoffs last season, the Lady Falcons return as a No. 1 seed and will host at least two home games. Their next tune-up is Tuesday at Salem.
GROWING PAINS FOR VIKINGS: Having a young and inexperienced baseball team can often lead to tough times on the diamond, but at the same time, the lessons learned can serve as invaluable to its long-term standing. Such is the case at East Hall, where the Vikings have yet to win a game in 16 tries.
Though errors have accounted for losses, the Vikings' potential and talent have been on display, and their perseverance though the long season has been nothing short of admirable.
"Defense has been our Achilles heel all season, but we'll keep working," Vikings coach Wesley Crow said. "We're trying different things, changing up the routines, looking for a way to click.
"But we're not quitting. We're still playing hard."