After suffering their first loss of the year on Sept. 22 against a very good Thomas Jefferson team, Coach Jimmy Barnett's Briarwood Academy Buccaneers regrouped last week and recorded a big 25-16 win against the Bulloch Academy Gators.
This nine-point win improved Briarwood's record to 2-1-1 overall, as they prepare to travel to Milledgeville this Friday to take on the John Milledge Trojans of Class AAA.
"Everyone played in our big win over Bulloch," Coach Barnett said. "We played great football on both sides of the line of scrimmage."
The first half of the game was marked by back-and-forth scoring from both teams.
It was Briarwood's defense that set the Bucs' first TD. Joseph Batrous intercepted a Gator pass at the 48 yard line and returned the ball to the Gators' 26.
On a key third down play for Briarwood, Jacob Gay scampered five yards for a first down at the Gator nine yard line. From there, senior quarterback David Russell ran in for Briarwood's first touchdown of the night.
The Gators responded quickly, putting together a scoring drive from their own 32 yard line. With a combination of option plays and passes, the 68-yard drive culminated with a 15-yard touchdown pass to the tight end on the first play of the second quarter. The extra point made the score 7-6 in Bulloch's favor.
On the ensuing kickoff from Bulloch, Gay received the ball on his 15 yard line, and 85 yards later, he crossed the goal line to put Briarwood back into the lead. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 12-7 at the 11:38 mark of the second quarter.
Briarwood would score again four minutes later on a three-yard run by Russell.
The Gators would score again to make the score 18-10 with less than a minute left in the first half. That's when Russell stepped up and led the Bucs to a final first half TD. The drive marked the third time in as many weeks that the Bucs have scored in the waning minutes of a half.
Russell connected on passes of 23 yards to Gay and 17 yards to Batrous, before a run left the Bucs on the one yard line. After a Batrous touchdown run, the Bucs carried a 25-10 lead into the locker room.
The scoring machine for both teams ground to a near halt in the second half, with only Bulloch scoring on a fourth quarter sweep.
"We were clicking in the first half in every aspect of the game," Coach Barnett said. "In the second half, Russell forced a couple of passes and was intercepted both times. This will happen at times."
This Friday night, the Buccaneers will travel to Milledgeville to tangle with the Trojans of John Milledge Academy. Coach Ken Johnson's Trojans are 3-0-1 for the year, with a season-opening tie with Gatewood Academy.
"This week, our focus at practice will be to fine tune our running game," Coach Barnett said. "We are getting a tad better each week."
Briarwood 25, Bulloch 16
Star of the Game: Buccaneer senior David Russell played superbly on both sides of the ball as quarterback on offense and linebacker on defense.
Play of the Game: Jacob Gay returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown with 11:38 remaining in the second quarter to give Briarwood a 12-7 lead.
Up next: The Buccaneers will travel to Milledgeville to play the Trojans of John Milledge Academy in a non-region game.