Flowery Branch senior defensive back Quinton Mayfield was one of the players that insisted his team played better after a dreadful first half Friday against Heritage.
Mayfield then did his part to make it happen helping the Falcons defeat visiting Heritage 35-27 in a pivotal come-from behind win.
"That just shows how strong our team is and that we're going to stick together," said Mayfield, who finished the game with three picks. "That first interception of the second half really set the tone."
Heritage was outscored 29-0 in the third quarter, dashing hopes of a second-straight region title and making a home-field playoff game difficult.
The great third quarter for the Falcons wiped away a first half, in which the Patriots (6-2, 4-2 Region 8-AAAAA) scored 17 points off of Falcons turnovers.
After turning the ball over four times in the opening half, Flowery Branch (6-2, 6-0) scored its four touchdowns in just a four minute span in the third quarter.
Heritage led 27-6 at halftime.
"To come out and beat a high-quality team like Heritage is huge for us," Flowery Branch coach Chris Griffin said. "I'm proud of our team because they showed maturity and that they can respond to adversity."
It all started in the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run on the keeper by McDonald to start and chip into the Patriots lead. He set up the score with a 40-yard throw to Jamaad Stephens.
Then Mayfield helped keep the momentum on Flowery Branch's side. On the first play of Heritage's next drive, he came away with a diving interception in front of the intended receiver.
Curry scored on a 27-yard run two plays into the Falcons' drive. Then after another interception by the Falcons, this time by Gabriel Takacs, Flowery Branch scored on its first play, a 30-yard pass from McDonald to Darius Curry.
Flowery Branch's final score came when McDonald hit Stephens in the back of the end zone on an 18-yard pass. Mayfield set up the score with his third and final interception of the night.
Early on, Flowery Branch fumbled on each of its first two drives of the game and Heritage punched both in for touchdowns on a short field.
Dominique Packer scored for the Patriots on a 51-yard fumble return early in the first quarter, then Tyler Weaver scored on a 4-yard run less than a minute later for Heritage.
Heritage will look to rebound, hosting Loganville Friday.