The Heard County Braves were dominant in their 27-6 win over the Rockmart Yellow Jackets for their first state title in school history.
For many Braves fans, they were confident and knew the championship was theirs.
However, the Yellow Jackets did not fear Heard County and embraced the challenge in search for their first title since 1950.
Late in the first quarter, the Braves were the first team to score as runningback Aaron Beasley rushed in from two yards. A successful two point conversion gave the Braves a 8 point lead early.
Things did not go the Yellow Jackets way for most of the game as their offense failed to generate any points. They had a chance late in the second quarter to get three points before halftime, gaining much needed momentum heading into the break. Noah Hughes’s missed a field goal attempt went wide right giving the Braves defense a stop and retaining momentum.
The second half was critical for the Yellow Jackets as they needed to convert on great field position as the Braves defense played strong in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets defense came out on fire to begin the third quarter, forcing the Braves to go three and out. Quarterback Dylan Bailey led the offense inside the Braves 10 after huge completions to Juke Boozer.
A promising drive that seemed ending in points ended up turning into a turnover on downs giving the Braves defense a lot of momentum.
The Braves offense benefitted of the momentum of their defense as their fans desired points from their next drive, even though they would scrimmage from their one yard line
Alijah Huzzie finished a 99 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run to go up 14 with 3:14 to go in the third quarter.
Rockmart fans grew desperate as their team needed to respond. It was late in the third quarter but they knew time was short.
It was not the Yellow Jackets night as Quincy Shephard intercepted Bailey’s pass for a pick six. However, an unsportsmanlike penalty and targeting call, erased the six points but put the Braves at the Yellowjackets one yard line.
Huzzie found the endzone again giving the Braves a 20 point lead with 10:18 to go in the fourth quarter. Rockmart fans were optimistic about a possible comeback while Heard County fans began celebrating.
All game long, the Braves defense gave Bailey and the Yellow Jackets problems. This time, the Braves forced a turnover on downs getting the ball at the Yellow Jackets 4 yard line. This time, running back Aaron Beasley broke through the defense to put the Braves up by 27.
At this point, the game was no longer in question but the Yellow Jackets did not want to end their season scoreless. Bailey finished the ensuing offensive drive with a 21 yard touchdown pass to receiver Juke Boozer.
The Braves offense killed the clock, as fans and players celebrated winning the class AA state title.
“This championship means a lot. Things were not great early in the season but we came together and trusted the process and our coaches,” said Beasley.
“Right now, it feels numb and hasn’t hit me. For our defense to play lights out and set up our offense, I couldn’t be more proud,” said coach Tim Barron.