WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- Dubbed "The Backyard Battle," this year's football season opener between Briarwood Academy and Edmund Burke Academy was everything it was hyped up to be and a little more last Friday night.
The game, played at Rogers Field in Waynesboro, was won by the Spartans of Edmund Burke Academy, 7-0.
But by no means was it an easy victory for the home team.
The Buccaneers of Briarwood Academy gave the Spartans a fight, despite being a much smaller team -- both in size and number of players. Edmund Burke outnumbered Briarwood Academy 38-20 and averaged 230 pounds to 165 pounds for the Bucs.
"I thought our defense did a heck of a job," Briarwood head coach John Osborne said immediately after the game. "They played pretty well all night long."
Offensively, the Buccaneers had several opportunities to get into the end zone, but simply weren't able to cash in because of big defensive plays by Edmund Burke.
"We've got some work to do, offensively," coach Osborne confessed. "We've got to go back and look at the game film and see exactly where we need to improve. We'll keep working hard to improve in practice."
Coach Osborne, who is in his third year and guided the Bucs to the Final Four a year ago in the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A State Playoffs, said he was proud of the way his players stood their ground against Edmund Burke.
"They were so big upfront," coach Osborne said. "We really couldn't ever get anything going offensively. They were so big and quick."
Nevertheless, he said he was pleased with the overall effort displayed by his team.
"The effort we gave was outstanding," coach Osborne said. "It was a total team effort. We don't have individuals."
Once again, the Buccaneers find themselves on the road this Friday night. They will travel to Sandersville to take on the Brentwood Academy Eagles in another non-region game.
The Bucs' home opener will be Friday, Sept. 10 when they entertain Piedmont Academy. The game will feature Vince Dooley, former football head coach and athletic director of the University of Georgia.
In the season opener against Edmund Burke Academy, the lone touchdown was scored by the Spartans. It came on a 3 yard run by Logan Christian with 4:04 left to play in the first quarter. Jon Jon Evans kicked the extra point. The 7-0 lead held up over the next three quarters.
Every time the Bucs attempted to get untracked offensively, they were stopped by the bigger and stronger Spartans.
"We moved the ball well at times," coach Osborne said. "But they were able to keep us from scoring."
Offensively, Bucs' senior quarterback Blake Sowell played well, as did running backs Ryan Nelson, Michael Kent and Ryan Pritchett.
Defensive standouts for Briarwood Academy included: Steven Gunn, Russell Burdette, Tyler Edwards, Matt McHatton, Ashton Wiley, Taylor Coxwell, Michael Kent, Ryan Nelson, Blake Sowell, Michael Kent, Jarrett Keen, Fifth Newton, Steven Parris, Bryce Sowell and Taylor Smith.