FLOWERY BRANCH — Flowery Branch football is just three games into the Ben Hall era, but already the pattern is well and truly set:
Play great defense, run the ball and success will follow.
It certainly has so far for the Branch, as they rolled to a third straight win on Friday in a 31-6 defeat of Stephens County in Flowery Branch.
The Falcons (3-0) held the Indians (1-2) out of the end zone until just over two minutes remained while building a 31-0 lead behind the running of Malik Damons and Malik Drayton. Damons proved particularly difficult for the Stephens defense, as he rumbled his way to three touchdowns and over 100 yards rushing -- 80 yards in the first half. Drayton added a 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to wrap up t6he contest.
Jackson Bell scored from six yards to give the Indians their lone touchdown.
The Branch actually came out throwing to start the contest, as quarterback Elijah Gainey connected with receivers to set up a 38-yard field goal from Alexander Sanchez that handed the Branch a 3-0 lead. But then the Falcons got back to their bread and butter, Damons making it 10-0 on a 4-yard scoring run that capped a 73-yard churning drive. The surge set the tone for the rest of the game, as Damons made it 17-0 on a 6-yard plunge in the second quarter -- where the scoreline stayed until he capped his night with another 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for a 24-0 lead.
Flowery Branch suffered a 41-7 loss in this game a year ago.
The Falcons will now take their resurgence into Memorial Stadium, as Ben Hall faces his former team Jefferson next week on the road. The Dragons were on a bye this week.
Stephens County, meanwhile, will look to bounce back next week at old rival Habersham Central.