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Prep playoff preview: Falcons' QB seeks to keep season alive
Game of the Week
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Flowery Branch senior quarterback Jaybo Shaw is aware of the fact that tonight’s first round playoff game against Chamblee, the No. 3 seed out of Region 5-AAA, at Falcon Field could be his last in a Falcons uniform.

"I’ve been looking back at newspapers from my freshman year when we were 2-8," he said, "to now where we’re one of the top programs in the state. I’m just taking in every moment."

But he is in no way resigned to the fact that this could be his final high school game.

"This is the most film I’ve watched on a team," said the Middle Tennessee recruit. "I’ve called my college coach and got some advice from him and I’m glad we have them (Chamblee) here (at Falcon Field). I feel confident."

A quarterback’s confidence usually permeates the team and that is just what the Falcons are hoping for as they face a team in Chamblee that forces two turnovers per game, only gives up a touchdown per game, scores 40 points per game and has only had four turnovers all season.

"It motivates me beyond belief (to know that this could be Jaybo’s last game)," said Connor Shaw. "I don’t want this to be the last game for my brother in high school."

"Chamblee is probably the best team in 5-AAA," said Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw. "In the one game they lost (to Westminster) they were without four starters. They don’t make mistakes, they are huge up front and they have great skill kids."

The Bulldogs are led offensively by running backs Warren Norman and Darius Jones who have accounted for 1,482 yards and 25 touchdowns between them.

Defensively, the Bulldogs have five shut outs on the year and have caused 36 turnovers while only allowing 154 yards of total offense per game.

"They (Chamblee) will be a great challenge," said Lee Shaw. "Our guys know they’ve got to play perfect to get this one."

Offensively, according to Lee Shaw, the Falcons are going to look to pass it even moreso than usual and with a quarterback who has passed for over 2,000 yards, 25 touchdowns and completes 71 percent of his passes, no fault can be seen in putting the game on his shoulders.

"Flowery Branch has the best passing attack and quarterback we’ve seen all year," said Chamblee coach Jim Showfety. "Our secondary has a big challenge."

Leading the passing attack for the Falcons are Tracey Sykes, who has amassed 500 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Connor Shaw, who leads the team with 971 yards and 11 touchdowns.

"Jaybo and Connor (Shaw) have a great respect for each other," said Lee Shaw. "Connor believes Jaybo can do no wrong and Jaybo has a sense that if he throws it around Connor he’s going to get it. He personally feels like Connor will be better than him one day and when you get that mutual respect that’s pretty special."

"I’ve always thrown in the yard (with Connor)," said Jaybo Shaw, "and we’ve always played on the same team. And he’s a Shaw so he’s going to make a play when he touches the ball."

Showfety said that because of the Falcons’ strength on offense and their offensive experience, their defense sometimes gets overlooked.

"Lee Shaw has done a great job and they have a solid defense," he said.

Breaching the offensive line and quickly getting to the corners to stop Chamblee’s running attack will be key to the Falcons’ success tonight and leave it to seniors Jimmy Smith, Daniel Mendez and Cam Elrod to do it. Along with junior Izaan Cross the defensive foursome, as long as they get to the ball the way they did against Chestatee when they caused six fumbles, could be the difference in the game tonight.

"We’ve been playing really good football," said Lee Shaw. "We are peaking at the right time."

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