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Briarwood to play for region title Friday

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Briarwood's Jacob Gay lunges for the Edmund Burke quarterback during the second half.
Photo by Staff
The Briarwood Buccaneers had little time to savor their 27-14 homecoming win over Edmund Burke Academy before turning their attention to this week's game for the GISA Region 1AA championship against Brentwood School in Sandersville.

Not only will the winner of the game between the only two undefeated teams in Region 1AA capture the region championship, they'll also gain the all-important home field advantage in the first round of state playoffs.

"They have a tremendous program and a great coach in Bert Brown," Coach Jimmy Barnett said of the Eagles, who have won the AA state championship in football two of the past three years.

"He's been waiting for this game," Coach Barnett said of Coach Brown, who claims Coach Brown has been saving his team's top play for championship games. "I guarantee you he won't save anything this Friday night."

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Briarwood's Tyler Wester dodges an Edmund Burke tackler.
Photo by Staff

Although the Bucs are a little banged up, the Eagles are in a similar situation, according to Barnett. The Eagles have lost their top running back, Daniel Harris, to an injury. However, he's been replaced in the line-up by "his little brother, and he's just as good."

The Eagles' speed poses a threat to the Bucs, as does their wing T offense.

"You never know what to expect from them," Coach Barnett said of the wing T. "It's probably the toughest offense to defend. I call it the smoke and mirror because you see one thing and get something else - a lot of misdirection. You're never quite sure what you're seeing."

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Briarwood Quarterback David Russell makes a run.
Photo by Staff

Especially after losing to Brentwood by two points in the final few seconds of that game last week, Edmund Burke Academy came to Briarwood last Friday night determined to "whip" the Bucs.

"It was in their eyes," Coach Barnett said, and early in the game, it looked like they just might do it.

The Spartans struck first, chewing up more than seven minutes in the first quarter on a long scoring drive to take a 6-0 lead.

"They pounded us - just came at us," Coach Barnett said. "It took that drive to convince my players that they were here to play."

But the Bucs answered quickly, with Junior Chris Gerlach scoring on a five-yard run following a 33-yard pass play from quarterback David Russell to senior Dustin Pilgrim.

"It was a real physical football game," Coach Barnett said. "We hit them, and they hit us. It was the most physical game we've played all year."

By halftime, the Bucs held a 15-8 lead - thanks to a tipped pass Chris Gerlach caught in the end zone.

"(He) just raced out of nowhere and caught it on his fingertips," Coach Barnett said. "It was a great play."

After the brutally competitive first half, EBA seemed to lose their fire, and the Bucs quickly established dominance, mainly on the shoulders of senior fullback Tyler Wester.

For his efforts on the other side of the ball, Wester was named co-Defensive Player of the Week along with sophomore John Spivey.

"They both handed out some big licks," Coach Barnett said.

Gerlach and Russell received co-Offensive Player of the Week honors.

At 7:30 p.m. this Friday, in Sandersville, the Bucs will face the Brentwood Eagles for the Region 1AA championship and home field advantage in the first round of the GISA AA playoffs.



Web posted on Thursday, October 27, 2005











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