ATHENS — Chandler White ran for 225 yards and three scores and the Flowery Branch defense pitched its second consecutive shutout in a 38-0 drubbing of Clarke Central Friday night Billy Henderson Stadium.
It was not supposed to be easy against a resurgent Gladiators team. But the Falcons (2-0) sure made it look that way.
The Gladiators (2-1) came in averaging over 300 yards and 36 points a game on offense. However, they managed just 161 yards of total offense and suffered their first shutout loss since a 24-0 loss to Tucker in 2007 in the first round of the playoffs. It was their first shutout loss at home since losing to Brookwood 13-0 in 1999.
It was the first back-to-back shutout wins for the Falcons since opening the 2010 season with shutouts of Madison County and Winder-Barrow.
"The kids were focused," Flowery Branch coach Ben Hall said about his defense. "They played well tonight. They play hard. We had great meetings all week and they were dialed in on their explosive playmakers. Yesterday I would have bet you a million dollars that it wouldn't have been a shutout.”
After a Branch field goal midway through the first quarter to take the initial lead, White, who was filling in for Jaizen Ellingham, added his first score on a 7-yard run to make it a 10-0 lead. Chase Dial-Watson scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter for a 17-0 halftime lead.
White scored again on another 7-yard run in the third quarter and added a 37-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“(Chandler) ran the ball hard tonight," Hall said. "Chase ran the ball hard as well. Those guys are really the product of a great offensive line in front of them. They were dialed in all week and came to play tonight.
“Jaizen didn't play tonight and I didn't know how they were going to respond to that. The tailback position had 380 yards on the ground."
PJ Stringer, who finished with 59 yards rushing, put the finishing touches on the win scoring on a 2-yard run with just 14 seconds left in the game.
The Falcons face another tough road game next week heading to Class 6A Winder-Barrow.