FLOWERY BRANCH - Class AAAA No. 4 Flowery Branch had no trouble with Salem, staying unbeaten with a 54-8 victory Friday. The Falcons, in their second season in Region 8-AAAA, moved to 9-0 and need only to beat Clarke Central next weekend to secure the 10-year program's first league title.
Salem, which last weekend kept its slim playoff hopes alive with a blowout win over Winder-Barrow, finished 5-5 in coach John Starr's second season. The Seminoles trailed just 12-0 in the first quarter, but hurt themselves with a lost fumble deep in Flowery Branch territory, had a punt blocked and came up just short of a first down on a fake punt attempt. By the time the teams hit the locker room at halftime, the juggernaut Falcons, who are averaging more than 50 points per game, led 40-0.
"We didn't help ourselves," said Starr. "Early on we were playing some decent football, we were able to shut down the pass, but we couldn't stop the run. We showed a lot of progress, we did a lot of good things (in 2011, but) still got some work to do physically to compete in this region. We still got physically, we got to get bigger and stronger."
The Falcons' rushing attack was led by quarterback Canler Coker, who ran for 136 yards on just five carries and two touchdowns and Jeremy Haley, who picked up 133 yards and a pair of scores.
"We got our ground game going pretty good. I'm real pleased with our guys," said Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw, who is the only coach in the program's history.
Salem's only points came on Che'Darious Robinson's 50-yard touchdown run late in the game.