Briarwood Academy capitalized on three Westminster Christian fumbles and a blocked punt last Friday night that led to 16 first-quarter points and a 29-14 home region win over the Lions. The win increased Briarwood's overall record to 5-1-1 and its region mark to 1-0.
"This win gave us an opportunity to play our second unit for about three quarters of the game," said Buccaneer Head Coach Jimmy Barnett. "A lot of our younger players, like Nick Dawson, Jackson Lyons, Chase Walker, Trey Stadler, Matthew McElveen and Cane Gilmer really played their hearts out in this big region win."
Dawson played strong on both sides of the ball for the Buccaneers. He had big runs on offense, and he intercepted a Lion pass in the back of the end zone on a crucial fourth and goal play.
Injuries are still hurting the Buccaneers a lot in their trek for a region title. Hughlon Mays, who plays on both sides of the ball, suffered a separated shoulder against Westminster and will be out for the rest of the year. Jonathan Gay, who suffered a leg injury recently, will be out for the remainder of the year with a torn ACL. Senior running back Joseph Batrous still has a 50/50 chance of seeing action this week against Gatewood with his leg injury suffered a couple of weeks ago.
"Jonathan has the hardest fight of all our injured players," Coach Barnett said. "It will take four to five months following surgery for him to get on the road to getting better, followed by a long off-season of rehabilitation."
Briarwood's first score against Westminster came on a 27-yard touchdown strike from quarterback David Russell to Dave Joesbury with 9 minutes left in the first quarter. A few minutes later, the Bucs tacked on another touchdown - thanks to a Chase Walker 21-yard scamper.
The Bucs closed out the first quarter when Cane Gilmer blocked a Westminster punt out of the back of the endzone for a safety, making the score 16-0.
In the second quarter, Russell and Joesbury teamed up again on a 25 yard touchdown pass. Up 23-0 with nearly 10 minutes left in the first half, Coach Barnett sent the second team defense in for Briarwood. The second team would play the rest of the night, giving up two late scores to Westminster.
The Bucs would score their final points of the game in the third quarter on a Gilmer rumble from 1 yard out.
The Bucs are preparing this week to meet their greatest rivalry in school history for another key region game. Briarwood will travel to Eatonton to face the Gatewood Academy Gators.
"There will be a massive tailgate party by both schools this Friday night on the campus of Gatewood," Coach Barnett said. "This game has been compared to the Georgia-Florida game because when we arrive on the school bus at the campus, we will have to drive straight through a tremendous Gator tailgate party in the parking lot with yelling fans, banners and the such. It will be an experience our kids will not forget."
Player of the Game: Dave Joesbury set the tone for the Buccaneers with his superb offensive performance as wide receiver. He caught two touchdown passes from quarterback David Russell, one for 27 yards and the other for 25 yards last Friday night.
Play of the Game: Freshman defensive back Nick Dawson intercepted a Westminster pass in the back of the end zone on fourth down and goal to halt a Lion scoring threat in the second quarter. This play secured a 23-0 halftime lead for the Buccaneers.
Up next: The Buccaneers will travel to Eatonton this Friday to take on the Gatewood Academy Gators in a big region match up.