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Briarwood's defense steps up against Memorial Day

 • Visit the Buccaneers team page

Coach Jimmy Barnett's Briarwood Academy Buccaneers scored three touchdowns in the third quarter last Friday night to defeat the Memorial Day Matadors 40-20 in the opening contest of the 2004 season for both teams.


Briarwood's Chris Gerlach tackles a Memorial Day player.

The Savannah-based Matadors came into Buccaneer Territory with a strong passing game, engineered by junior quarterback Daniel Haun. Haun completed 12 of 17 passes in the first half, and finally finished the evening with an 18 for 29 performance for 208 yards.

However, the Buccaneer defense got the best of the junior signal-caller, as they intercepted four of his passes with one being returned for a clutch touchdown in the third period.

The Matadors received the opening kickoff and started their first possession from their own 20 yard line. On the second play from scrimmage, Buc defensive back Goolsby jumped up and snagged a Haun pass on the Memorial Day 45 yard line.

After Briarwood turned the ball over on downs, the Matadors began another possession on their own 15 yard line. On the third play from scrimmage this time, Briarwood's Goolsby robbed Haun again with an interception on the Memorial Day 30 yard line. He returned the ball all the way down to the 7 yard line.

From there, Wester got the call on the first offensive play and gained two yards. On the very next play, Wester scored Briarwood's first touchdown of the night on a five-yard scamper with 3:19 left in the opening quarter. Goolsby split the uprights with the extra point, and the Bucs led 7-0.


Quarterback David Russell (center) and his teammates listen to Coach Jimmy Barnett during Friday's game.

On Memorial Day's ensuing drive, it took only six plays before the Matadors answered with a touchdown of their own to tie the game. Memorial Day began its drive on its own 35 yard line, and on the sixth play of the possession, senior Jimmy Donnelly broke the plane of the goal line from the one yard line to make the score 7-6 at the 1:25 mark of the first period. Daniel Knight booted the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.

Coach Barnett's Buccaneers took possession of the lead again on their very next drive. The Bucs began the eight-play scoring drive on their own 31 yard line. After key runs from Russell, Kent, Batrous and Wester, Steven Sparks got the call on an inside reverse handoff in which he scampered 30 yards down to the Matador two yard line.

From there, Kent bulled his way into the endzone from the two yard line to put Briarwood ahead 13-7 at the 9:25 mark of the second period. Goolsby's PAT sailed wide to the left, thus the score remained 13-7.

Memorial Day received the ensuing kickoff and began its next possession on its own 22 yard line. On the thirteenth play of the drive, Donnelly scored his second touchdown of the night on a two yard touchdown run with 3:29 remaining in the first half. The Matadors missed the extra point, thus the score became 13-13, and remained deadlocked as the horn sounded for halftime.


Quarterback David Russell turns the corner.

The Buccaneers came out all fired up in the third quarter and took the game by the horns, as they scored three touchdowns in the first seven minutes of the period to dampen any hopes of a Matador victory.

At the 8:55 mark of the third period, Kent scored from the two-yard line on the Bucs' first possession of the second half to give his team a 19-13 lead. Goolsby's extra point made the score 20-13.

The Matadors began their next possession on their own 20-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Jason Holley intercepted a Haun pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown with 8:45 remaining in the third period. Goolsby's PAT made the score 27-13.

After holding the Matadors on their next possession and forcing them to punt to Briarwood, the Buccaneers began their next scoring drive on their own 42 yard line. On the sixth play from scrimmage, Wester scored his second touchdown of the game from the seven yard line at the 5:27 mark of the quarter. Goolsby's PAT failed, thus the score became 33-13.

Wester's second touchdown of the game was set up primarily on a beautiful 26-yard pass play from Russell to Kyle Ewest on the drive's first play.


Burt Goolsby takes a break from the action.

Memorial Day narrowed Briarwood's lead to 33-20 at the 9:06 mark of the fourth period on a 19 yard touchdown run from Donnelly. The PAT was good.

Briarwood's final score of the evening came with only 1:45 remaining in the contest on the twelfth play of a drive that started on the Buccaneer 31-yard line. Pilgrim bulled his way into the endzone from the four yard line to make the score 39-20. Goolsby's extra point made the final score 40-20.

"I am so proud of our players in the way they performed against Memorial Day," Barnett said. "Our big number of players proved to be a big impact in the game, as we just wore the Matadors out in the late going of the game."

Memorial Day dressed out only 17 players for this game, and in many situations, most of these players had to participate both ways. On the other side of the field, the Buccaneers dressed out 32 players and substituted several times to keep fresh people in.

The turning point of the contest came early in the third quarter, when Buccaneer linebacker Jason Holley leaped up and picked off a Haun pass and returned it 25 yards for the second touchdown of the third quarter. This score seemed to extinguish any hopes for a Matador comeback.


The Buccaneers rushed for 274 yards on 47 carries in this game, as senior Jeffrey Kent led all the rushers with 79 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Following him were Burt Goolsby with 57 yards on six carries, Tyler Wester with 37 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns, Steven Sparks with 30 yards on one carry, David Russell with 28 yards on six carries, Dustin Pilgrim with 15 yards on three carries, Jacob Gay with 13 yards on two carries, Joseph Batrous with 11 yards on five carries, and Kyle Ewest with eight yards on two carries.

Defensively, Goolsby recorded two interceptions for the evening, with Holley and Ethan Demore also snagging one Matador pass each.

Russell completed two of five passes for 33 yards, while Batrous went one for one for 16 yards. The Bucs recorded 323 yards of total offense.

Memorial Day racked up 317 yards of total offense, with 109 coming in the rushing column on 21 carries, and the other 208 yards coming on 18 of 29 completed passes.


Burt Goolsby muscles ahead with two Memorial Day players hanging on.

"We knew that Memorial Day was going to throw the ball on us, and that's just what they did," Coach Barnett said. "It's difficult to defend an offense such as the Matador's, because if you rush their quarterback, he will burn you on the pass."

The Buccaneers will host the Trinity Crusaders from Dublin this Friday night, August 27. Trinity lost its season-opener last week against John Milledge Academy by a 24-0 score.


Jeffrey Kent drops his shoulder on a run.


Web posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004

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Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01


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