The Briarwood Buccaneers broke a three-game losing skid last Friday night, as they amassed 326 yards of total offense enroute to a 44-16 victory over the Curtis Baptist Crusaders of Augusta.
The win increases the Bucs' overall record to 2-3 and their region mark to 1-0, while the heart of the region schedule looms in the very near future.
Briarwood's Tyler Wester cuts back in traffic.
Photo by Karen Hawes
After posting a big win over Memorial Day to open the season on Aug. 20, the Bucs suffered three consecutive losses to the teams of Trinity Christian, Thomas Jefferson and Bulloch Academy before this big win over Curtis Baptist.
"We needed this victory in a big way and we got it," said Briarwood Head Coach Jimmy Barnett. "Our guys played their hearts out and totally dominated this Crusader team."
He said the victory celebration will be short lived as the Bucs have to work hard to prepare for this week's opponent.
"We must treasure this victory, because our opponents this week will probably be the eventual Class AAA Champions when the season ends. Riverside Military Academy, an all-male school from Gainesville, is a very big team, and they will be bringing a lot of players and fans with them this Friday," Coach Barnett said.
Some members of the coaching staff of Riverside Military have connections to the McDuffie County Area. Riverside's Head Coach Doug Dixon is a former teacher and coach in the McDuffie County School System, while his assistant, Rodney Collins, is a former head coach of the Buccaneer football program. He led Briarwood to a state championship in the 1970's.
In their game with Curtis Baptist, the Buccaneers rushed for 266 yards on the ground, while passing for another 60 on four of seven passes.
"This was our first region game of the year, and what a big game it was for our team," said Coach Barnett. "It boosted their morals and hopefully got us back on track."
Burt Goolsby was the leading rusher for Briarwood with 88 yards on eight carries. He was followed by Jeffrey Kent with 66 yards on 10 carries, Dustin Pilgrim with 50 yards on three carries and Tyler Wester with 38 yards on four carries.
Briarwood put its first points on the board on the eighth play of its second drive of the night on a one yard run by Kent with 4:35 left to play in the first quarter. Goolsby's extra point attempt sailed wide to the right, thus the score became 6-0.
After holding the Crusaders to three downs on their next possession, the Bucs forced Curtis to punt the ball away. Briarwood sophomore Joseph Batrous fielded the punt on his own 15 yard line, and a few seconds later after dodging Crusader special team players, he crossed the goal line on an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. Kent converted with the two-point conversion run, thus the score became 14-0 with 2:45 left to play in the first quarter.
The Buccaneers added more points to their side of the scoreboard at the 9:52 mark of the second quarter on an eight yard pass play from quarterback David Russell to tight end Kyle Ewest. Ewest made a spectacular diving catch in the endzone, as he planted both feet on the grass just inches from the out of bounds line. Goolsby's PAT made the score 21-0.
Turnovers played a major role in this game, and on the ensuing kickoff, Russell recovered a fumble deep in Curtis territory on the 12 yard line. On the second play of the drive following the turnover, Pilgrim darted six yards for another Briarwood score with 8:49 left to play in the first half. Goolsby's extra point made the score 28-0.
Briarwood increased its big lead on its first possession of the second half. On the fourth play of that drive, Wester bulled his way into the endzone from the nine yard line at the 8:25 mark of the third quarter to increase the Bucs' lead to 34-0. Jason Holley booted the extra point to make the score 35-0.
"A lot of our players showcased their talents in this win for us," Coach Barnett said. "Goolsby showed his elusiveness and speed, while several of our receivers made beautiful catches, especially Kyle Ewest's touchdown near the sidelines. Batrous showed how he is becoming our second dimension quarterback, while Russell showed a lot of poise throwing the ball and guiding our offense."
Defensively, a lot of the Bucs' younger players stepped up.
"Will Quinn, Kelsey Jones and John Spivey performed spectacular for us in different positions," Coach Barnett said.
This week's opponent, Riverside, operates out of the Pro-I formation, while the defense will give the looks from the 5-2, 6-2 and 5-3 sets.
"(They) will be a very big test for our team," Barnett said. "They are very well coached, and they have a running back that has been called a miniature Barry Sanders."