The Briarwood Academy Buccaneers continued their winning ways on the gridiron with a convincing 46-7 victory over the visiting John Hancock Academy Rebels at the Briarwood field Friday night.
It was the Bucs' fourth consecutive victory of the season. Now with a 4-2 record overall and a perfect 3-0 record in Region 1-A, Briarwood Academy hits the road to Louisville to take on the Thomas Jefferson Academy Jaguars. The game pits a showdown between two undefeated region teams.
It also will be an emotional game for Briarwood Academy head coach John Osborne, who for five years taught school and served as the defensive coordinator at Thomas Jefferson Academy. While serving as an assistant coach under head coach Chuck Wimberly, Osborne and other Thomas Jefferson coaches helped the Jags to back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006.
"It's definitely going to be an emotional game for me because I used to coach the kids we'll be playing on Friday night when they played football in middle school," Osborne said Monday. "My loyalty is to Briarwood Academy now, though. And I'm hoping our team can go down there and pull out a big win."
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
When the Buccaneers play the Jaguars, Osborne said, "We're going to have to be 100 percent in tune and focused the entire ballgame. One mistake could end up costing us the ballgame, because Thomas Jefferson enjoys capitalizing on other teams' mistakes.
"You can't go to Louisville and play Thomas Jefferson and make mistakes, because they are the type of team that will beat you if you do."
In the game against John Hancock, the Buccaneers exploded for 27 unanswered points in the first quarter and never had to look back.
"We came out and played really well in the opening quarter," Osborne said. "It was another big region win for us. I thought our kids came out and did a real good job against John Hancock. I was proud of them."
Senior running back Matthew McElveen had another 100-plus rushing game. He rushed seven times for 108 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Senior running back Trey Stadler was the team's second lead ground gainer, with nine carries for 76 yards and one touchdown.
McElveen put the Bucs on the scoreboard with a 37-yard touchdown run with 8:37 left in the first quarter.
The extra point was booted by Stadler.
Briarwood's Dalton Reese later intercepted a pass that led to the Bucs' second touchdown of the first quarter. It came on a 35-yard pass to Reese from junior quarterback Blake Sowell. The extra point by Reese failed, but the Bucs led 13-0.
With 5:13 left in the first quarter, McElveen scored on a 20-yard run. Reese added the extra point and the Bucs led 20-0. Briarwood tallied its fourth touchdown of the first quarter on a 32-yard run by Stadler. Reese's extra point made it a 27-0 game.
Briarwood's fifth touchdown came on a 3-yard run by running back Michael Kent with 4:31 to play in the second quarter, giving the Bucs a 33-0 lead into halftime.
With 1:14 left in the third quarter, John Hancock finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown on an 8-yard run, making the score 33-7.
Briarwood Academy answered with two more touchdowns. Both came in the fourth quarter -- the first on a run by McElveen and the other by freshman running back Fifth "Nacho" Newton with 5:30 remaining in the game. Reese added the extra point.
Offensively, Briarwood's Blake Sowell had another fine night. He completed 4-of-5 passes for 89 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Russell Burdett put on a show. He made 15 solo tackles and had six assists. Other defensive standouts included Steven Gunn with four solo tackles, two assists and a sack.
Sol Smith also played an outstanding game, recording a career-high three sacks. Stadler, Ryan Nelson, Matt McHatton and Coxwell had three tackles each.