The Briarwood Academy Middle School Buccaneers have kicked off their 2006 gridiron season in a very positive and winning manner. After only a couple of weeks into the new schedule, the Bucs have a 2-0 record with victories over very tough teams.
The Bucs defeated the Trojans of John Milledge Academy 12-6 on August 29, and more recently, they defeated the Gators of Gatewood Academy 16-8 on September 7.
"An ugly win is still a win," said Buccaneer Head Coach Kenny Haney. "Both of these games fell in that category. Mistakes like bad snaps, jumping off-sides and fumbles hurt us offensively in both contests."
The 2006 Briarwood roster is 29 players strong that includes nine sixth graders, 10 seventh graders and 10 eighth graders.
The starting offense for the Buccaneers consists of Garrett Mohr at quarterback, Blake Sowell, Michael Kent and Dalton Reese at running backs, Ryan Walden and Ryan Nelson as wide receivers, and Colt Phelps, Steven Gunn, Jackson Douglas, Tyler Edwards and Charlie Cox as linemen.
"The main focal point of our offense will be the play of Nelson and Mohr," said Coach Haney. "We are going to run a multi-set offense with a lot of spread and shotgun looks this year."
The Briarwood defense is currently running several different looks that includes the 5-3, 5-2 and 6-2 formations.
"We are running the same offense and defense that the varsity does," Coach Haney said. "We are building the younger kids for a smooth transition to the varsity squad. Overall, we will run 90 percent of the formations that the varsity will run. We will, however, run a lot more plays out of the shotgun than the varsity."
The starting defensive players for the Bucs are Gunn at nose guard, Cox and Douglas as tackles, Mohr and Nelson at ends, Sowell, Kent and Brett Jenkins as linebackers, Reese and Rhett Hinesley as cornerbacks and Jarrod Pickard as safety.
"Brett Jenkins has no fear playing linebacker," Coach Haney said. "He will hit you anywhere."
In their opening 12-6 win over John Milledge, the Bucs put the first points on the scoreboard in the first quarter on a 39 yard bootleg pass from Mohr to Nelson. A bad snap prevented a conversion on the PAT, thus the score became 6-0.
With only 1:00 left in the first half, Briarwood increased its lead to 12-0 on a great defensive play from Nelson. John Milledge's offensive unit set up a screen pass, when Nelson came up with an interception and ran it back 60 yards for a touchdown. Another bad snap on the conversion halted the extra point attempt.
The Trojans of John Milledge took the second half kickoff and marched all the way down the field to score their only points of the game. Their lone touchdown of the night came late in the third quarter on a 12-yard reverse play. The conversion failed, thus the score became 12-6.
"John Milledge took the second half kickoff and gained three, four and five yards at a time on offense against us. They very effectively ran the clock down on us," Coach Haney said. "On the touchdown run, JMA caught us in a blitz, and they found the endzone. They had two huge kids on offense that kept us busy all night."
Briarwood's Mohr had an excellent game in the quarterback slot, as he recorded 24 yards on the ground and went three for six in passing for 75 yards.
On September 7, the Bucs played host to the Gators of Gatewood Academy, and in a drizzling rain, they came away with a big 16-8 win. This victory revenges last year's 8-6 loss to Gatewood.
The Bucs scored the first points of the game in the opening quarter, as Reese hauled in a 14 yard touchdown pass from Mohr. The two point conversion by Mohr on a QB sneek was good, making the score 8-0. This score was set up by a beautiful 18 yard pass from Mohr to Walker Hargrove.
The Gators tied the score at 8-8 in the second quarter on a 20 yard option run to their near side of the field. The conversion was good.
Briarwood regained the lead close to the end of the first half, when Nelson made an acrobatic catch of a tipped pass under double coverage. The 20-yard touchdown pass from Mohr made the score 14-8. On the two point conversion, Hinesley hauled Mohr's pass in on a corner route to make the score 16-8.
Mohr rushed 10 times for 80 yards and completed nine of 13 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Sowell had five carries for 30 yards.
Briarwood traveled to Waynesboro on Monday, Sept. 11 and played the Edmund Burke Spartans. On Thursday, Sept. 21, the Bucs will travel to Sandersville to play the Brentwood Eagles.