When the 2004 football season started for the Briarwood Buccaneers, Coach Jimmy Barnett had many goals set aside for his team to achieve this year.
One of those goals came to reality this past Friday night in the Buccaneers' 21-7 region victory over the Gatewood Gators.
Briarwood's Jeffrey Kent carries the ball.
Photo by Mercer Harris
Since this summer, Barnett and his players have been working extremely hard in trying to establish a short passing game into their play-calling. This past Friday, the Bucs surpassed his goal by completing six of 11 passes for 133 yards.
"I am very proud of our execution in passing against Gatewood last week," Barnett said. "We are going to need this type of weapon in the next few weeks as our season winds down toward the playoffs."
He added, "In the next two weeks of our regular season, we will face the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Class AA in Brentwood Academy and Edmund Burke Academy. These are very strong teams, and we will need every weapon available to defeat them."
With their 21-7 win over arch-rival Gatewood, the Bucs now have a 4-4 overall record and a 3-0 region mark. Gatewood falls to 3-5 overall.
Briarwood's defense was again on the prowl all night long, as it held Gatewood to 206 yards of total offense. The Gators amassed 81 yards on the ground and 125 yards in the air.
Offensively for Briarwood, Tyler Wester was the leading rusher with 79 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. He was followed by Burt Goolsby with 49 yards on 10 carries, Jeffrey Kent with 37 yards on six carries and one touchdown and Joseph Batrous with 24 yards on 11 carries.
The Bucs' immediately made a point in the early going of the game, as they put the first points on the scoreboard on the month play of their initial drive with 8:16 left to play in the first quarter.
After beginning the game's first drive on their own 31 yard line, the Bucs used a primarily running attack to score their first touchdown of the game. On the ninth play, Kent took the handoff from quarterback Joseph Batrous and bulled his way into the endzone from the five yard line. Goolsby's extra point attempt was no good, thus the score became 6-0.
Briarwood added more points on the board in the early minutes of the second quarter. On a drive that started on the Gatewood 41 yard line, the Buccaneers used another nine-play drive to increase their lead to 9-0 over Gatewood.
After eight running plays and on fourth down and goal from the 10 yard line, Goolsby was called on and booted a 27 yard field goal at the 7:47 mark of the second period to put Briarwood ahead by nine points.
On Gatewood's ensuing drive, the Buccaneer defense rose to the occasion and got a turnover on the Gator's second play from scrimmage. On a second down and nine play, Briarwood's Goolsby intercepted a Gatewood pass on the Gator 41 yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage following the interception, Batrous connected with Buccaneer tight end Steven Sparks on a 32-yard pass play that put the ball on the nine yard line. After an illegal procedure penalty that backed the ball up to the 14 yard line, Wester scampered 14 yards for his first touchdown of the game. The attempt for two points failed, thus the score became 15-0 with 6:27 left in the first half.
Late in the second quarter, the duo of Batrous and Sparks teamed up again on a 33-yard pass play to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt. The attempt, with only four seconds left in the half failed, leaving the score 15-0 at intermission.
The Buccaneers increased their lead to 21-0 at the 10:56 mark of the fourth quarter on a four yard touchdown run by Wester. The pass for two points failed.
The gators finally placed points on their side of the scoreboard with 7:22 left to play in the game on a 10-yard run by Josh Gannon. The PAT was good, thus making the score 21-7 in Briarwood's favor.
"In this contest with Gatewood, we displayed two different styles of show in quarterbacks Batrous and David Russell," Coach Barnett said. "Each of these athletes bring an unique characteristic to the gridiron and we will use these guys a lot in the next few weeks."
The Buccaneers will travel to Waynesboro this Friday night to take on the No. 2 ranked Spartans of Edmund Burke Academy. EBA dropped its first game of the year last week in a 7-0 loss to Brentwood Academy, now the No. 1 team in Class AA.
"The Spartans will kill you with speed. If you blink for a second, their backs will be gone. They have two speedsters in the backfield that will be trouble for us," Barnett said.
"The Spartans will be bringing 24 different offensive formations to this game, and we are working on defending these plays. To counteract this, our short-passing game must show up and be a decisive factor for us."