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Zopf: Fear the Falcons
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There’s something going on down at Flowery Branch High School, and I’m not talking about the recent coaching changes or the public run-ins with the law.

No, what’s going on down at The Branch is a lot more positive than coaches leaving for other schools in the region or students getting caught doing illegal activities. What’s happening down at The Branch is winning, and a lot of it.

In just its fifth year of existence, the athletic program at the South Hall high school is quickly becoming one of, if not the most, successful programs in the county.

Just outside the Gwinnett County border, and although they have yet to bring home a state title to Flowery Branch, the Falcons are experiencing a rate of success comparable to such elite Gwinnett programs as Parkview and Brookwood.

Combined with the boys track team’s dominating performance at the Region 7-AAA meet in West Forsyth last Tuesday and the baseball team’s dramatic 4-3 win on Friday night against Lumpkin County, the Falcons have won a total of five region titles this year.

The boys cross country, basketball and soccer teams all were region champions this year.

But even when its teams aren’t winning region titles, Flowery Branch is still finding a way to represent Class AAA in the state playoffs. Since school began in August, the football, cross country (boys and girls), volleyball, basketball (boys), soccer (boys and girls), track (boys) and baseball teams all qualified for the state playoffs.

Even in individual sports the Falcons shined. Tom Pennington (wrestling), Danny Bell (wrestling), Ashley Hillie (track) and Sam Salyers (track) also sported the Falcon red and black during state competitions this year.

To say that Flowery Branch has had a successful year in athletics would not be giving the school justice.

And the Falcons still have a chance to improve on their historic year.

The third-ranked boys soccer team has reached the semifinals of the state tournament, and with a win against No. 2-ranked Westminster on Tuesday night at The Branch, the Falcons will be one game away from the school’s first state championship in any sport.

If the Falcons don’t bring back a title on the pitch, the pitching and hitting of the top-ranked baseball team in the state could very well bring a state championship back to The Branch.

Flowery Branch’s baseball team opens the state tournament on Friday against Riverwood, and if they beat Region 5-AAA’s No. 4 seed twice in a three-game series, the Falcons could very well to be on their way to a state title.

Recently I asked Flowery Branch’s athletic director Shannon Benton about some of the goings on at the high school, specifically the training methods of the athletes. Benton said that the athletes at the school get there at 6:30 a.m. to train and lift weights, and after the training is complete they are awarded with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I’m not sure what kind of peanut butter the school is using, but whatever kind it is, they better not switch brands any time soon.

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