The Briarwood Buccaneers showed the potential to turn the team's season around in their 31-14 loss to Bulloch Academy, the number one ranked team in GISA Class AA, last Friday in Statesboro.
"We were competitive for three quarters with the number one team in the state," Coach Josh Morey said. "A loss is a loss, but we have something to build on."
Coach Morey and Coach Bo Fleming are filling in at the helm of the Bucs while Briarwood's Board of Trustees debates the future of suspended Head Coach Blake Duncan.
Coach Fleming said he was pleased with the effort of the players against Bulloch.
"It was a huge step in the right direction towards turning the season around," Coach Fleming said. "They played hard. You couldn't ask for a better effort. It showed we can play with anybody."
It was the Bucs' defense - under the leadership of senior John Spivey that really shined against one of the best teams in the state. Briarwood started the game in an early hole after Bulloch scored on the opening drive of the game. But the Bucs' defense settled down and put the pressure on the Bulloch quarterback, forcing the Gators to throw. The Bucs managed to keep the Gators out of the end zone for the remainder of the first and second quarters.
The Bucs threatened to score with little time left in the half, but the Gator defense got to quarterback Chase Walker, sacking him on the 34-yard line for a 12-yard loss and removing the Bucs from field goal range.
The half ended with Bulloch up by only one touchdown, 7-0.
Bulloch came back in the third quarter to seal the win with three touchdowns, all the result of turnovers in the Bucs' own territory.
Up 28-0 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Bulloch kicked a field goal for their final points of the game.
But the Bucs kept fighting with junior Nick Dawson scoring twice late in the fourth quarter. Both touchdowns were on short sweeps to the left. Matthew McElveen added a two-point conversion on the Bucs' final TD.
Now 1-3 and having faced the top teams in GISA Class A and AA, the Bucs will face AAA John Milledge Academy at 7:30 p.m. this Friday night at Briarwood.
"It's not getting any easier," Coach Fleming said. "Last week, John Milledge knocked off the reigning AA champs (Trinity Christian Academy of Dublin) 22-20."
Briarwood 14, Bulloch 31
Stars of the game: John Spivey's stellar play led Briarwood's defense to keep Bulloch to just seven points in the first half.
Play of the game: Bulloch sacked Briarwood Quarterback Chase Walker for a 12-yard loss late in the second quarter, effectively killing Briarwood's momentum going to halftime. Bulloch then scored three unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter.
Up Next: Briarwood plays AAA powerhouse John Milledge at home