There won't be a region championship or even a home playoff game on the line when Flowery Branch and Denmark meet in Alpharetta Friday night. Both teams will also be playing having already clinched their spots in the Class 4A state playoffs.
That doesn't mean the match-up is meaningless. The game will decide who enters the postseason as the No. 3 and Number seeds, with the No. 4 matching up with undefeated Region 5-4A champion Cartersville in the first round.
Aside from the playoff implications, Falcons coach Ben Hall and Danes coach Terry Crowder says the game should be a fun one to watch. The two teams have each spent time ranked in the top-10 in Class 4A this year, but feature very different plans of attack.
FLOWERY BRANCH COACH BEN HALL...
On how Denmark's talent compares with the Falcons' other Region 7-4A foes, Blessed Trinity and Marist:
"Well, they're athletic in different places. They're more athletic at the perimeter positions, at the receiver position and the quarterback position. Blessed Trinity had a young quarterback, but their talent was a lot on their offensive line and with their Division-I running backs. Denmark has a Division-I quarterback and a Division-I receiver and a Division-I running back. They're good. We've played good teams with good players though and our kids are excited about the opportunity."
On how the Falcons will look to defend Danes receiver (Auburn commit) Ze'vion Capers:
"I think he's probably rated as the No. 1 receiver in the state and he's probably going to burn us a time or two. We just have to limit those opportunities. He's a great player and there's a reason that he's been offered by just about every school around. We just have to work to keep him in front of us, do like every other team and keep a guy over top of our corner and really assign two to him. Then they have two other really good receivers that we have to be able to contain."
On Flowery Branch's offensive approach to the match-up:
"We're going to play defense on offense. We're going to line up and try to keep the ball and not ask young players to do too much. We've got to possess the football and avoid turnovers and untimely penalties that are extra costly when you play that style of ball. You get behind the chains with a holding penalty and it's hard to overcome so we have to play a clean game and we have to be the more physical team."
On the playoff implications of the game:
"It's important. You would like to be seeded as high as you can and we match up with a really good region. Sandy Creek and Cartersville are coming out of that region as one and two and I think there's only about a touchdown difference between those two teams according to the previous matchup so we have to work to win the ball game. If we go in seeded three, that's great. We'll go to Sandy Creek and work to win that ball game."
DENMARK COACH TERRY CROWDER:
On how helpful the team's Week 11 BYE was:
"It was perfect timing for the BYE week. We had gone nine straight games and whenever you run through that Blessed Trinity and Marist gauntlet, you need a break anyway. We're healed up, everybody is healthy and like I said, it just came at a really good time for us."
On the match-up with Flowery Branch:
"They're really well coached and they do a lot of things so very good. They're big and physical on the offensive and defensive lines. Two running backs that are certainly game-breakers at any time and then two safeties that we think are very good players as well. Their coach does a good job with schemes and he's patient with it. There's just a lot of things that make it very difficult for a football team to stop them."
On how the Danes will look to attack the Flowery Branch defense:
"They're not a team, I don't think, that you can drive the ball on and go score. You're going to have to hit some big plays somewhere, whether that be in the running game or passing game. We're probably going to try to use formations to maybe gain an advantage because the advantage certainly is not going to be in the box. We know that in the box, they're probably better than us. So we'll try to use formations and try to get our skill guys in some one-on-one situations at least."
On the importance of playoff seeding and potential first-round playoff matchups:
"I've talked to both coaches at Sandy Creek and Cartersville and they're not happy either because they know they're going to draw a booger bear, whoever it is, us or Flowery Branch in the first round. I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference, they're both very good. Certainly Cartersville, maybe the last couple of years has had a little bit of an advantage on Sandy Creek, but Sandy Creek is very very talented as well. It will be a great first-round matchup for both schools."