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Prep football: Flowery Branch 52, Pickens 0
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Georgia and Alabama NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass & Kick team champion Drew Atha talks about his experiences Sunday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

FLOWERY BRANCH Coming off three emotionally charged games to Chestatee, North Hall and Gainesville, the Falcons were resolute during their bye week in their preparation for subregion 7B-AAA bottom-dweller Pickens and it showed.

Jaybo Shaw passed for four touchdowns (56, 9, 25, 20) and ran for two (13, 9) leading his team to a school-record 52 points and a shutout win over Pickens 52-0.

"We had a great off week," said Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw. "The guys were really focused; they knew we had to get better."

On the Falcons opening drive they went 89 yards on eight plays, ending with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jaybo Shaw to sophomore wide receiver Connor Shaw.

Flowery Branch scored on all of its possessions in the first half. Senior quarterback Shaw went 8 for 13 passing for 171 yards, tossing four touchdowns to four different receivers.

"Jaybo checks us into a lot of plays," said Lee Shaw. "He did a lot of that tonight and spread it out and our guys made plays for him."

Connor Shaw finished the game with two catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Flowery Branch’s next score came after a three-and-out by its defense.

The Falcons’ second touchdown of the game was set up by runs of 26 yards by Darius Kimbrough and 23 yards by Jaybo Shaw. It came on another run by Jaybo Shaw, this time a 13-yard keeper on second-and-10 around the left side of his offensive line.

Kimbrough had a game-high 141 yards on 12 carries to lead the rushing attack for the Falcons while Jaybo Shaw had 113 yards rushing on 10 carries.

On Pickens first drive after the Falcons made it 14-0, the Dragons looked like a team ready to run the clock, keeping the ball out of Jaybo Shaw’s hands and making it a close game.

All that ended when Pickens, threatening inside the 5-yard line, fumbled on the 3. Flowery Branch senior Daniel Mendez fell on the ball in the end zone, giving the Falcons the ball back and killing any momentum the Dragons were building.

"He (Daniel) always seems to be around the football," said Lee Shaw. "Pickens had a great drive going. We called a time out and said, ‘if we’re going to be a great football team we can’t give up points early.’ And they responded by starting to play our kind of football and challenging them (Pickens) up."

After that fumble, Pickens didn’t again show any of the offensive prowess displayed in that 16-play, 79-yard drive.

The Falcons would, in turn, use the momentum provided by their defense to score three more times before halftime.

The first came on a 9-yard run by Jaybo Shaw, set up by back-to-back catches of 10 yards and 37 yards by senior Tracey Sykes. And the second came on a first-and-10, 9-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Robby Boudreau set up on the previous play by a Jaybo Shaw 18-yard run on third-and-9.

Senior kicker Kyle Ellis ended the half with a 21-yard field goal, making the score 31-0.

"I’ve got a lot of respect for Pickens," said Lee Shaw. "They have had a couple of tough weeks, but came in here tonight (Friday) and didn’t quit."

The second half was much the same as the first, with Flowery Branch’s offense clicking on all cylinders and its defense shutting down Pickens.

The Dragons finished the game with only 160 yards of total, led by junior running back Brett Larson, who had 66 yards on 19 carries.

The Falcons final three scores came in the third quarter, with Jaybo Shaw hooking up with Preston Buice for a 25-yard touchdown and Tracey Sykes for a 20-yard touchdown.

Buice finished the game with one catch for 25 yards and Sykes finished with three catches for 67 yards.

Flowery Branch was given the ball back prior to the Sykes 20-yard touchdown reception thanks to a timely interception by junior Greg Palmer on Pickens’ second play from scrimmage of the second half. It was Palmer’s third interception of the season.

"We came to play against a scrappy team," said Lee Shaw, "but we are still going to go back and watch the film of this game and see what we need to correct and get ready for a tough team next week."

With its second-team offense in, Flowery Branch’s final score came on a 6-yard run by senior running back Nathan Busbee, who finished the game with three carries for 12 yards.

"It felt like at times we were really clicking," said Lee Shaw, "and at this point in the season, that’s what you want."

Flowery Branch 52, Pickens 0

Pickens 0 0 0 0—0

Flowery Branch 14 17 21 0—0

First quarter

FB—C. Shaw 56 pass from J. Shaw (Ellis kick), 6:24

FB—J. Shaw 13 run (Ellis kick), 3:19

Second quarter

FB—J. Shaw 9 run (Ellis kick), 6:33

FB—Boudrea 9 pass from J. Shaw (Ellis kick), 2:54

FB—Ellis 21 FG, 0.3

Third quarter

FB—Buice 25 pass from J. Shaw, 10:21

FB—Sykes 20 pass from J. Shaw, 7:28

FB—Busbee 6 run, 57.2

Team summary

Pickens Flowery Branch

First downs 9 14

Rushes-yards 35—123 34—322

Passing yards 37 171

Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-8-1 8-13-0

Total yards 493 160

Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0

Punts-avg. 5-44.2 1-33

Penalties-yards 13-120 6-35

Individual leaders

Rushing: Pickens, Larsen 19-66, Willingham 7-35, McMahan 2-12, Cantrell 3-11, Mosley 1-2, Harrington 3-(-)3. Flowery Branch, Kimbrough 12-141, J. Shaw 10-113, C. Shaw 5-44, Bostic 4-12, Busbee 3-12.

Passing: Pickens, Harrington 3-5-37, Mosley 0-2-0, Cantrell 0-1-0. Flowery Branch, J. Shaw 8-13-171.

Receiving: Pickens, Larsen 1-18, Willingham 1-12, Mosley 1-7. Flowery Branch Sykes 3-67, C. Shaw 2-61, Buice 1-25, Boudreau 2-18.

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