The Briarwood Buccaneers face a long trip to deep south Georgia this Friday to face the Randolph Southern School Patriots in the first round of Georgia Independent School Association Class A playoffs at 7:30 p.m. in Shellman.
"I'm real excited for the kids and our fans," Head Coach John Osborne said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We arrived. Now, we need to make some noise."
The Bucs, by virtue finishing third in Region 1A, will play the number two team in Region 2A, Randolph Southern. For the regular season, the Bucs ended up in fifth place in GISA's Class A.
The Bucs finished their season at 6-4 overall and at 4-2 in region play with losses to region opponents Thomas Jefferson Academy and Monroe Academy, while Randolph Southern finished their season at 7-3 overall and 4-1 in Region 2A play. The Patriots only region loss came last Friday night, 36-15, at the hands of Terrell Academy, the number one ranked team in Class A. The Patriots lost to Southwest Georgia Academy and Bethesda Day School during regular season play. The two teams only common opponent was Bethesda Day School of Savannah. The Bucs defeated Bethesda Day 34-12, while Randolph Southern lost to the Blazers 13-7.
Randolph Southern's offense runs out of the triple option, or the "hambone" as it used to be called at Georgia Southern University under the late Erk Russell.
"You may recall that Tracy Ham, the former quarterback there, ran the hambone so successfully," Coach Osborne said.
Briarwood's next opponents like to control the football and eat up the clock as much as possible on long, sustained scoring drives.
Coach Osborne said he is looking forward to a hard-fought contest between the two teams.
"We must win at the line of scrimmage," Coach Osborne said. "Our linemen must beat their linemen on both sides of the football."
The final stop on Briarwood's trek to the playoffs was a 42-8 non-region win over the Young Americans Christian School Eagles last Friday in Conyers.
Despite playing without the services of three key starters, the banged up Bucs had no problems with Young Americans Christian. Senior lineman Ben Raburn, senior running back Cane Gilmer, and junior running back Matthew McElveen are all expected to be back in the lineup for the game with Randolph Southern.
Freshman Will Souther, who returned to the lineup Friday after being sidelined for five with a shoulder injury, was rolled by Young Americans blockers shortly before the half and is out for the season with a broken leg.
Playing in a steady rain on a mud soaked field for the third time this season, the Bucs ran with ease, amassing 442 yard in total offense as they emptied their bench early, allowing their younger players to gain valuable playing time.
Briarwood's scores came:
• on a first quarter third-and-five run by senior running back Nick Dawson;
• a 23-yard TD run by Dawson late in the first quarter;
• a six-yard TD scamper by Jonathan Gay.
• a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown by Trey Stadler;
• a 15-yard TD run by Gay.
• a 25-yard pass from Chase Walker to Blake Sowell.
Offensively, the Bucs were led by Gay with 136 yards on 14 carries and Dawson with 133 yards on 13 carries.
Defensively, the Bucs were led by Stadler with five tackles and three assists, Gay with five tackles, Steven Gunn with four tackles, and Adam Hardy with three tackles and one assist.