The Fourth Annual Backyard Battle between the Briarwood Academy Buccaneers and the Edmund Burke Spartans was just as fierce as it has been in previous years last Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, the season didn't start well as they dropped a 20-8 decision to the visiting Spartans from Waynesboro.
"We've got to work on some miscues that we made against Edmund Burke," said Briarwood Academy head coach John Osborne. "We made too many mistakes against them in the second half."
The second-year head coach told his players that if they were feeling upset, "you should be." He went on to tell them that despite such an emotion, he didn't want any of them quitting.
"We, as coaches, aren't giving up on y'all and we don't want y'all giving up on yourselves," coach Osborne said. "We're not quitters, just because somebody beat us. We're going to work harder and we're going to get better."
Coach Osborne said he and his assistants would be working closely with the team on blocking and making sure runners can hold onto the football.
"Those kinds of mistakes hurt us against Edmund Burke, but we're not going to let it hurt any more because that game is behind us now," coach Osborne said. "There's nothing we can do about that game. But we can learn from those mistakes and try not to make them against other teams this season. We correct that stuff, we win ball games."
Despite the mistakes, coach Osborne praised his players. "We are going to get better, I promise."
Coach Osborne still believes his team can win the region championship. "That's an attainable goal."
The Briarwood Academy Bucs travel to Monticello to take on Piedmont Academy at 7:30 this Friday night.
Because of a pair of fumbles in the first half, the Bucs weren't able to do much with the football. But they looked impressive from a defensive standpoint. They managed to stop the Spartans on a first down-and-goal situation at the Briarwood 2 when senior linebacker Trey Stadler recovered a fumble with 9:21 to play in the second quarter of a scoreless game.
The Bucs weren't able to move the ball from that point and had to rely on Stadler to boot it away from deep in his own end zone. Edmund Burke's Alex Sturkie returned the punt all the way back down field to the Bucs' 1. One play later, Brandon Sharpe scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 7:09 left in the first half, giving the Spartans a 6-0 lead.
In the second half, Briarwood came out pumped up. Dalton Reese, a sophomore, returned the kickoff 36 yards to put the Bucs at the 50. From there, junior quarterback Blake Sowell led his teammates to pay dirt. Much of the running was handled by senior running back Matthew McElveen and Reese, who later burst downfield on a 22-yard run.