DANIELSVILLE — After holding an early lead over Flowery Branch, a series of field goals from Falcon kicker Marco Velasquez and a backbreaking defensive score sent Madison County to its third region loss in four games.
The Red Raiders fell 32-8 Friday (Oct. 22), surrendering 29 unanswered points to the visiting Falcons (5-3, 2-2 Region 8-AAA) after leading 8-3 in the second quarter.
Madison County (3-4, 1-3 Region 8-AAAA) will look to regroup next week with a road game at struggling East Hall (1-7, 0-4 Region 8-AAAA).
The Red Raiders fumbled the ball away three times in the loss. All three turnovers came while the game was still within striking distance, the most damaging coming in the final minute of the third quarter while trailing 18-8.
Falcon defensive end Samuel Westbrook dislodged the ball from Madison County quarterback Cooper Brown and Flowery Branch's Cam Haynes plucked it off the turf and scored on a 2-yard return, putting the Red Raiders behind by three scores with just little over a quarter left to play.
The Falcons put the game away with a 1-yard touchdown run from Myles Ivey with 8:24 left in the game, increasing the lead to 32-8. Ivey finished with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 attempts.
Madison County's defense forced Flowery Branch to settle for field goals often throughout the night, but unfortunately for the Red Raiders, Velasquez connected on them all. The junior drilled attempts of 21, 21, 32 and 45 yards and also converted on two PATs.
Velasquez put the Falcons on the board with a 21-yard goal at the 6:37 mark in the first quarter. But the Red Raiders responded with a second-quarter, 9-play, 45-yard scoring drive capped off by a 6-yard touchdown run from Brown. Camden Smith then tacked on a 2-point conversion, giving Madison County an 8-3 lead at the 8:20 mark.
The Red Raiders actually received a reprieve on the scoring drive, as an interception one play prior to the touchdown was wiped away after Flowery Branch was flagged for roughing the passer.
Madison County, however, wouldn’t find the end zone the rest of the night.
Flowery Branch answered with a long drive of its own, moving 64 yards on nine plays and scoring on a 5-yard run from Ivey as the Falcons led 9-8 with 4:22 left in the first half.
Velasquez’s second of his four field goals, another 21 yarder, gave Flowery Branch a 12-8 edge at halftime. His 32-yarder with 6:37 in the third quarter increased the Falcons’ advantage to 15-8.
A Madison County fumble later led to a six-play Falcon drive, setting up Velazquez’s 45-yard field goal, which came with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
Flowery Branch scored again just seconds later when Westbrook forced the ball from the hands of Brown, who was attempting to pitch it to Zane Milz deep in Red Raider territory. The ball ended up on the ground and then in the hands of Haynes, who scooped it up and scored as the Falcons began to pull away.
Madison County was held to 154 total yards in the loss, 114 of which came on the ground. Brown led the Red Raiders with 48 yards rushing on 13 carries. He was also 3-of-6 passing for 40 yards.
Madison County was limited to 55 total yards in the second half.
Flowery Branch finished with over 300 total yards. Quarterback David Renard was a threat both throwing and running as he finished with 137 yards on 10-of-18 passing and 53 rushing yards on 11 carries.
The night was a flag-filled affair with the teams combining for 20 penalties, 13 of which were committed by Flowery Branch.
Flowery Branch 32, Madison Co. 8
FBHS 3 9 13 7 — 32
MCHS 0 8 0 0 — 8
FBHS — Velasquez 21-yard field goal, first quarter, 6:37, 3-0
MCHS — Brown 6-yard run, second quarter (Smith 2-point conversion), second quarter, 8:20, 3-8
FBHS — Ivey 5-yard run (2-pt. try failed), second quarter, 4:22, 9-8
FBHS — Velasquez, 21-yard field goal, second quarter, 0:05, 12-8
FBHS — Velasquez, 32-yard field goal, third quarter, 6:27, 15-8
FBHS — Velasquez, 45-yard field goal, third quarter, 1:15, 18-8
FBHS — Haynes 2-yard return off fumble (Velasquez PAT good), third quarter, 0:57, 25-8
FBHS — Ivey 1-yard run (Velasquez PAT good), fourth quarter, 8:24, 32-8