Flowery Branch’s class of 2008 started their career with a 2-8 mark and finished four years later having amassed a 32-14 record while making it to the playoffs for three straight years.
Unfortunately a career has to end sometime and Flowery Branch’s seniors saw their’s come to a close Friday as Chamblee, the No. 3 seed out of Region 5-AAA, scored on four big plays (41, 76, 41, 55) on its first four possessions en route to a 47-34 win over Flowery Branch at Falcons Field.
"Our kids played their hearts out," said Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw. "What this senior class accomplished is unreal and I’m going to miss that senior class. It’s been a special year, a special ride.
"They were bigger and faster and we gave up too many big plays," Shaw added. "They’re a big-play team."
The Bulldogs, operating out of the wishbone, had three players rush for touchdowns and four topped 50 yards of offense.
Chamblee’s first possession of the game, a nine-play, 73-yard drive, culminated in a 41-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Beyah.
Flowery Branch, looking ready for the challenge, answered with an 11-play 76-yard drive of their own that ended in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jaybo Shaw to his younger brother Connor Shaw.
The Shaw-to-Shaw connection would account for two of Flowery Branch’s five touchdowns on the night and Connor Shaw would finish the game with 8 catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Chamblee scored twice more before the Falcons would get on the scoreboard again.
The first of the Bulldogs’ next two scores — at the end of a three-play, 80-yard drive — came when Chamblee quarterback Garett Williams hit senior tight end Ryan Smith for a 76-yard pass play.
The touchdown pass was the first of the season for Chamblee.
Williams finished the game 4-of-7 for 192 yards passing and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs last big-play touchdown of the game came on a 41-yard scamper into the endzone by junior halfback Darius Jones.
Jones finished the game with 12 rushes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
The Falcons ended the first half by swinging the momentum back in their favor scoring twice in four minutes, once on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jaybo Shaw and the next on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Connor Shaw with 57 seconds left in the second quarter.
Flowery Branch knotted the score at 28 to open the second half. Jaybo Shaw took his offense 85 yards on seven plays ending in a 10-yard touchdown run by the senior quarterback.
The Falcons defense couldn’t get a much-needed stop however and Chamblee took the lead back on a 6-yard touchdown run by junior halfback Warren Norman.
Norman finished the game with 12 rushes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Chamblee kicker Nhan Doan missed the extra point attempt, but Flowery Branch was unable to capitalize on the mistake on its next two drives — the latter of which ended with an interception of Jaybo Shaw, only his fourth one of the season.
The Bulldogs scored twice more in the fourth quarter to take a commanding 47-28 lead with less than a minute in the game.
The ever-relentless Falcons didn’t give up, scoring on a 2-yard run by Jaybo Shaw with 47.4 seconds left in the game.
As the Middle Tennessee recruit ran off the field for the final time he was met by father and coach Lee Shaw.
"I just told him that I loved him and was proud of him," said Lee Shaw while fighting back tears.
Jaybo Shaw finished the game with 18 rushes for 124 yards and three touchdowns.
He finished his senior year with 164 rushes for 924 yards and 19 touchdowns while completing 140 of 200 passes for 2,283 yards and 27 touchdowns.
"We played with so much heart, the way we fought back and tied it," said coach Shaw. "I’m proud of what this team has accomplished."