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Murphy: Flowery Branch takes center stage
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Flowery Branch High’s football team should feel the support of all high school football fans in Hall County. The Falcons (12-2) have a chance Saturday night to become the first school in the county’s history to bring home a GHSA state title in football.

With its win against LaGrange last Friday in the state semifinals, Flowery Branch has already broken a long dry spell for Hall County football by reaching the state finals. Gainesville was the last Hall County school to reach the state finals, when it lost to Bainbridge 7-6 in the 1982 state title game.

The fact that the Falcons have reached the Class AAA state title game should be something that fans from each and every school within the county can respect. I’m sure that we’ll see plenty of fans representing all corners of the county when Flowery Branch tees it up against Cairo (13-0) at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

The fact that Flowery Branch is playing for a state title should be a rallying cry for fans in Hall County and in Region 7-AAA. What is most incredible about the Falcons’ season is that they had to win all four playoff games on the road, with wins against Stephens County, Ridgeland, Baldwin and LaGrange.

One could make a case that Flowery Branch had the toughest road of all the 10 state finalists to the state title game. There were no cupcakes in the Falcons’ playoff run. In fact, those four teams combined had won 87-percent of their games leading up to their postseason encounter with the Falcons.

So it would be factually inaccurate for anyone to say that the boys from South Hall had an easy road to the championship game.

When I penned Flowery Branch’s team the ‘Road Warriors’ in this column space two weeks ago, I thought it was just a fitting way to sum up two quality wins to kick off the Falcons’ playoff run. Since then, the Falcons stunned the state against No. 2-ranked Baldwin, and then again in the semifinals versus the Grangers.

I don’t think any objective fan thought that Flowery Branch would be in the position to play for a state title this year. Remember, we didn’t even know that the Falcons were going to be a playoff team in the middle of the regular season with the battle setting up with Gainesville and West Forsyth for the two playoff spots in Region 7B-AAA. The Falcons showed they were human with losses in the first and last game of the regular season.

However, the Falcons have played like they could conquer the world since the playoffs began. I sat amazed watching Flowery Branch’s dismantling of LaGrange last Friday night. Most of my disbelief was watching Flowery Branch running back Daniel Drummond put his team on his shoulders for the second consecutive week and carry the Falcons to victory.

Of course, it could have also been sitting in the subarctic open air press box at Callaway Stadium that left me feeling shocked, too.

Flowery Branch is showing it doesn’t matter where you start, but where you finish that counts. All fans in our area should enjoy watching the Falcons try to finally bring home a state championship trophy to Hall County, and send notice to the rest of the state that we have pretty good football too.

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