The Briarwood Buccaneers gained a great deal of experience in last Friday's 26-6 victory over Curtis Baptist School in Augusta. The Bucs are going to need all of that experience when they travel to Gainesville this Friday to face the top ranked school in the state in Georgia Independent School Association football.
"We're not only an underdog this week. We're an under-the-rug underdog," Coach Jimmy Barnett said of the Bucs' upcoming contest with AAA Riverside Military Academy. "We're going to play the number one team in the state, and we're going to see what we can do against them."
The Region 1AA Bucs chalked up their first region win in their first region contest of this season last Friday night, the 26-6 win over Curtis Baptist.
"Curtis Baptist is in rebuilding phase," Coach Barnett said. "They had some good athletes on the field, but their problem is numbers. They had only 15 kids on the team, and 11 of those played from the opening kickoff till the end of the game. You know those kids were tired. You've got to admire kids whose team of 11 hangs in with 28 (Buc players.)"
The Bucs second team played probably 60 percent of the game as compared to the 40 percent played by the first team.
"The second team started out weak, due mainly to a lack of experience, and I had to send in the first team to bail them out once or twice, but as the game proceeded, they played better football, and the first team played less and less," Coach Barnett said.
The Bucs jumped to an early lead in the game thanks to a pass interception by Joseph Batrous on the Bucs' 30-yard line. Batrous ran the ball back 67 yards to the Curtis three before he was knocked out of bounds. A blocking behind the ball penalty moved the ball back to the Bucs' 30. Not to be denied, Tyler Wester gained nine yards to the 21 on the first play from scrimmage, and Jacob Gay gained 14 yards to the seven on the second play. Batrous scored from the seven on the third play. Chris Gerlach kicked the PAT for a 7-0 Buc lead with 6:38 left in the first quarter.
The Bucs scored in the second on another big play. After Gay blocked a punt at midfield, John Spivey scooped up the ball and went 50 yards for the Bucs' second TD. Again, Gerlach's kick was good for a 14-0 lead. Curtis took the ensuing kickoff and drove down to the Bucs' six-yard line before they were stopped on downs. On the Bucs' second play from scrimmage, quarterback David Russell hit Batrous on a pass at midfield. Curtis defenders finally ran Batrous out of bounds at the 13-yard line, but not until he had gained 81 yards on the play. Russell hit Dave Joesbury on the next play on a 13-yard TD pass. The PAT attempt failed.
The Bucs, who led 20-0 at the half, returned for the third quarter and scored in short order. The Bucs returned the kickoff to the 39-yard line and scored just a few plays later. The PAT failed, and the Bucs led 26-0 going into the fourth quarter.
Defensively, sophomore John Spivey was named Player of the Week for the Bucs. In addition to outstanding play on defense, Spivey ran a blocked punt back for a TD.
Offensively, senior Dustin Pilgrim received Player of the Week honors. Pilgrim played the best game of his career, according to Coach Barnett, who said he "ran the ball well and made a really good catch."
Performance-wise, the Bucs are continuing to improve on a weekly basis, according to Coach Barnett.
"I'm finally getting some outstanding individual play," Coach Barnett said. "They're not forgetting the team concept, but they're going one step further and making some great plays."
Briarwood 26, Curtis Baptist 6
Star of the game: Dustin Pilgrim was the Offensive Player of the Game and John Spivey was the Defensive Player of the Game.
Play of the game: Early in the game, Briarwood's Joseph Batrous picked off a Curtis Baptist pass that set up Briarwood's first score. The Bucs never trailed thereafter.
Up Next: Briarwood (3-2) hits the road to play powerhouse Riverside Academy.