With an enthusiastic homecoming crowd looking on, Briarwood Academy defeated the Gatewood Gators 28-20, thanks to a hard playing team and the Bucs' dynamic duo of Chase Walker and Dave Joesbury.
Quarterback Walker rushed for a fourth quarter touchdown, and completed a nine yard pass to Joesbury earlier that same quarter for a total of 12 points. Joesbury added four points to the score with good kicks for a point each after all but one of the Bucs' touchdowns. Cane Gilmer and Matthew McElveen added rushing touchdowns for Briarwood's other scores.
Leading the Bucs in rushing yards was Cane Gilmer with 16 for a total of 82 yards. Matthew McElveen had 11 for 66 yards as well as 28 yards for receiving. In all, McElveen accounted for 131 yards on offense. Dave Joesbury garnered 94 yards in six receives.
Defensively, the Bucs didn't totally shut down the Gators but they did make some gains, keeping them to only three touchdowns. Matthew Graziano led the team in tackles, making eight and a quarterback sack. McElveen was second in tackles with five single tackles and two assists. Jonathan Gay also had seven combined tackles and assists for the night.
The Buccaneers now have a 3-5 overall record and are 2-0 in the GISA Region 1-AA. The team started out slow but has gained a renewed energy and strength since coaches Josh Morey and Bo Fleming took the reigns earlier this month.
"The team's effort and intensity is where we have been wanting it to be, and it's the right time to pull it out, since we are in a region championship battle for the remainder of the season," Coach Morey said of the team's last two games of the season that are both against Region 1AA rivals.
"Not only is this Friday's night game against Pinecrest Academy on the trail to the region championship, but a win would give us the right to host the first round of the GISA AA playoffs," Coach Fleming said.
"A lot is riding on the Pinecrest game," Coach Morey agreed. "The winner is the region champion. Even if we lost to Brentwood on November 9th, we'd still win the region championship based on the head-to-head tiebreaker."
The Bucs will host region foe Brentwood School of Eatonton on Nov. 9 when all of the Bucs' senior athletes participating in fall sports will be recognized in Senior Appreciation ceremonies.
The first round of the GISA Class AA playoffs will be held on Friday, Nov. 16, on the road in Cumming, Ga.
Briarwood 28, Gatewood 20
Star of the game: Chase Walker led the offense to the win, connecting on a TD pass to Dave Joesbury and rushing for another.
Play of the game: Senior Hughlon Mays forced a fumble and stopped a potential winning drive by Gatewood.
Up next: Briarwood travels to Cumming to face region leader Pinecrest.