The football season didn't get off to the kind of successful start Bo Fleming and his players had wanted at Briarwood Academy Middle School last Thursday.
The Buccaneers ended up losing their season opener 18-0 at the hands of the Curtis Baptist Crusaders in Augusta.
"The final score does not indicate how close the game really was," coach Fleming said. "We had our chances, but we shot ourselves in the foot, fumbling away scoring chances. I was proud of my boys. We played hard and never gave up."
Coach Fleming said he would begin immediately trying to figure out what the Buccaneers can do to eliminate mistakes, such as fumbling the football.
In the season opener, they coughed up the ball four times on fumbles.
"We've got to find a way to hold onto the football," coach Fleming said.
The game against the Crusaders got off to a terrific start with the Bucs recovering an onsides kick.
Led by quarterback Jack Russell, the Buccaneers took possession with Russell keeping on the first play for a gain of five yards. The opening drive fizzled out almost as soon as it got started, as the Bucs committed their first fumble of the season and the game.
Defensively, the Buccaneers managed to hold the Crusaders in-check on their first possession.
When the Bucs got their hands back on the football, they did a good job of moving it downfield in seven plays.
Unfortunately for them, the drive stalled and they gave the ball back up to their opponents on downs.
The next time that Briarwood's offense put their hands on the pigskin, the result was bad. For they again fumbled the ball away -- thus ending a scoring threat at the Crusaders' 25.
On the first play from there, a Curtis Baptist runner managed to break three would-be tackles before getting loose up the middle and running to pay dirt. The long touchdown run covered 75 yards.
One of Briarwood Academy's best chances of getting into the end zone came with 2:15 remaining in first half action. Dusty Anderson recovered a Curtis Baptist fumble, allowing the Bucs to take over in excellent field position at the 30. The scoring threat ended at the 8, as time ran out.
In the second half, the Buccaneers weren't able to improve on holding onto the football. They fumbled it away two more times.
Nevertheless, the Bucs still trailed only 6-0 with 5:25 left in the game.
Briarwood wasn't able to contain the Crusaders from that point. Curtis Baptist scored two more times -- once on a 40 yard run and the next time on a 55 yard run.
Offensively, Russell led the Buccaneers with 60 yards on 17 rushes, while Jackson Sims rushed for 26 yards on 8 carries.
Russell completed one of five passes for 15 yards. The completed pass went to Jake Brooks.
Defensively, Sims and Russell each made four solo-tackles and recorded three assists; Anderson made four solo-tackles and had four assists; Mason Kent, three solo-tackles and two assists; Jake Brooks, three solo-tackles and two assists; and Matthew Mooney, one solo-tackle and four assists and a fumble recovery.