The Briarwood Academy Buccaneers suffered a disappointing 15-7 upset to Georgia Independent School Association Region 1-A opponent Monroe Academy last Friday in Forsyth. The loss not only dropped the Bucs to third place in Region 1-A, but also lost the Bucs' the right to host the first Class A playoff game.
The Bucs will play their final regular season game this Friday night when they travel to Conyers to face the Young Americans Christian School Eagles in a non-region contest.
Now, rather than hosting the first playoff game, the Bucs will travel to deep south Georgia to face the loser of this Friday night's game between Terrell Academy of Dawson and Randolph Southern Academy of Shellman. The first playoff game will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 14.
The Bucs beat Monroe everywhere except the only place that mattered - the scoreboard.
The Bucs out gained Monroe 319 yards to 178 yards, but couldn't convert when needed.
Senior Jonathan Gay gained 122 yards for the Bucs on 21 carries, an average of 5.81 yards per carry. He was followed by senior Nick Dawson with 114 yards on 14 carries, an average of 8.14 yards per carry. Junior Trey Stadler caught three passes for 51 yards.
Defensively, Stadler led the Bucs with 13 tackles and one assist. He was followed by Gay with eight tackles and one assist, and freshman Michael Kent with six tackles and one assist.
The Bucs were hampered by the loss of several key players. Senior Ben Raburn, a force on the offensive and defensive line, was injured in the win over David Emanuel Academy last week and unable to play. Senior Cane Gilmer, who broke his arm in the game against John Hancock, returned, but his play was not up to his usual standard as his cast hampering not only his running ability, but particularly his ability to tackle. The Bucs suffered yet another major blow in the second quarter when the Bucs' leading rusher, junior Matthew McElveen, was forced to leave the game with a knee injury.
"We had to move a lot of players around, and when you have to move players around, it affects the chemistry of the team. We just didn't play effectively," Coach John Osborne said. "We didn't do what we needed to do to win the game."
Playing on a dry field for the first time in three weeks, the Bucs dominated the first half offensively, driving down to within the Mustangs' 13-yard line three times, but failing to score.
Briarwood's first score came late in the second quarter on a 27-yard run by Jonathan Gay. Stadler kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead. It was an expensive TD for the Bucs, who lost leading rusher McElveen on the drive for the remainder of the game with a knee injury.
The Mustangs responded immediately. Aided by a facemask call against Briarwood on the ensuring kickoff, Monroe started the short drive with a first and 10 on their own 41. On the first play from scrimmage, a Mustang went 59 yards for a TD on a slow developing toss sweep around the right end. The Mustang quarterback sneaked over for a two-point conversion and an 8-7 lead for the Mustangs with a 5:45 left in the half.
Monroe tacked on another score in the third. Meanwhile, Briarwood couldn't convert on a series of drives, including a fourth-quarter drive that ended on the Monroe 3.
The loss dropped the Bucs to 4-2 in Region 1-A play and 5-4 overall.