The Briarwood Academy Buccaneers' season ended Monday evening in a three-team playoff for the final playoff spot in GISA Region 1-AA.
Briarwood lost to rival Brentwood 16-14 Friday night, leaving the Bucs in a three-way tie with Brentwood and Gatewood for second place in the region. The three teams faced off Monday at John Milledge in Milledgeville in a collegiate overtime shootout, with Brentwood coming out on top.
"We had a disappointing outcome Friday night against Brentwood and then again Monday night," said Coach Josh Morey Tuesday. "But we played hard both games and made it farther than most folks thought we would, given our obstacles this season."
Coach Morey and Coach Bo Fleming were both pleased with the performance of the team and the amount of work and hustle they put into the region games. But the Bucs' final region battle started out on a low point, Coach Morey said, when Brentwood scored with less than 3 minutes left in the first quarter with a field goal. Brentwood continued to pound on the Bucs in the first half, scoring with a 58-yard touchdown pass with 11 minutes left in the second quarter.
Briarwood then turned on some heat, with an 11-yard TD pass to Senior Dave Joesbury who also made a good PAT. At the end of the first half, the Bucs were down by only a field goal and had gained some much-needed momentum.
The third quarter was a battle of the two teams' offensive and defensive lines, with neither team scoring. Brentwood came close, but the Bucs held them to no first downs in the third as well as a missed field goal. Briarwood managed to control the game in the fourth quarter, making defensive adjustments against Brentwood but a seven-yard touchdown rush by the Sandersville team gave them a bigger lead, 16-7. With three-and-a-half minutes left in the game, Briarwood scored on a TD rush by Quarterback Chase Walker. Joesbury made the point after good and the scoreboard reflected a 16-14 game.
The Buccaneers had possession of the ball with less than a minute left to go in the game but could not get back down the field to score, leaving them in the three-way tie that was settled Monday night.
With Gatewood watching from the sidelines, the Buccaneers won the coin toss and chose the defensive position against Brentwood. Brentwood scored first in two plays, making the overtime contest 7-0 with a good PAT. Briarwood then received the ball and in the team's third play, threw an interception, ending the Bucs season. Rival Gatewood then took the field against Brentwood, with the Sandersville team winning in just five plays.
Coach Morey said that because the Bucs defeated Gatewood in region play, Briarwood comes in at third place in the region under the number two team Brentwood.
"We had the chance to win region and play in the playoffs, and that's something we were not expected to do," Coach Morey said. "Coach Fleming and I are very proud of this team. We have some great senior players that we will miss next year but we also have some stellar underclassmen that will be coming back and we can't wait to get started."