The Buccaneers of Briarwood Academy were not to be denied a win in football action last Friday night.
They did it when they needed to and in convincing fashion.
The Bucs defeated the visiting Nathanael Greene Academy Patriots 44-22 to post their first win of the season against three losses -- those losses all at the hands of Class AA opponents. The victory over the Patriots from the tiny town of Siloam near Greensboro was Briarwood Academy's first one over a Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA) Region 1-A team this season.
The Buccaneers will be seeking their second win of the season on Friday night when they play host to the John Hancock Academy Rebels from Sparta. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The contest against John Hancock Academy and the remaining games on the Briarwood Academy schedule are all region games.
In the game against Nathanael Greene, the Buccaneers totally dominated the game. They racked up nearly 400 yards rushing and another 83 yards through the air. The offensive output of almost 500 total yards was the Bucs' single biggest attacks in more than a year.
Junior running back Michael Kent had a career performance. He led the Buccaneer offensive attack with 190 yards rushing on 21 carries and scored four touchdowns.
Ryan Pritchett, a junior running back who lives in Washington, Ga., meanwhile, had a fine night, too. Pritchett rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries and scored a touchdown.
"Hard work helped us win the football game," said Briarwood Academy head coach John Osborne. "Winning is an attitude and together we got a taste of it. Hopefully, we'll get to taste it some more during the coming weeks."
Coach Osborne said he was pleased with his team's overall performance.
"We worked as a team and that's what it's all about," said coach Osborne. "The guys have developed a sense of trust with each other. When those factors come together, you can accomplish great things."
The Buccaneers wasted no time getting points on the scoreboard against Nat Greene's Patriots.
After forcing the Patriots to punt on their first possession, the Bucs took over in excellent field position at the Pats' 47. From there, Briarwood Academy senior quarterback Blake Sowell engineered the Bucs to pay dirt for what would be the first of many times in the game.
The scoring drive culminated on a 2 yard run by Kent -- his first of four touchdowns on the night -- both a season and career-high best. The touchdown came with 6:34 left in first quarter action. Fifth Newton's extra point kick failed.
Following the ensuing kickoff by Briarwood senior Steven Gunn, the Buccaneers' defensive unit rose to the occasion again, forcing the Pats to punt the ball away. Nat Greene's Ben Holcomb's punt only traveled 22 yards, which gave Briarwood nice field position for the second straight time. Their second scoring drive started from their own 39.
From there, the Bucs steadily moved the ball downfield on runs from Sowell, Kent and Pritchett, who helped set up Briarwood's second touchdown of the game on a 19 yard run to the 11. With 11:37 to play in the second quarter, Kent scored from there. Sowell later threw a two-point conversion pass to sophomore wide receiver Taylor Coxwell. It gave the Bucs a 14-0 lead.
Briarwood went on to score their third touchdown of the game with just 4:37 remaining in the first half. Russell Burdette, a junior, got the honor on a 10 yard run. Sowell later connected with Gunn on a two-point conversion pass which increased the Bucs' lead to 22-0.
Nat Greene's Pats were kept out of the end zone until Holcomb found Micah Stewart open on a passing route. The play covered 44 yards and came with just 1:58 left in the second quarter. Holcomb's two-point conversion pass was successful to Aric Hanson.
It cut Briarwood's lead to 22-8, which is the way it remained at halftime.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Buccaneers put another touchdown on the scoreboard. It followed a 45 kickoff return by Coxwell that got the Bucs all the way to the Patriots' 48. Two plays later, Sowell connected with Coxwell on a hitch play that took Coxwell all the way down to the Pats' 3.
Kent eventually scored on a 5 yard run. The Bucs' lead then climbed to 28-8 with 9:58 left in the third quarter. The Buccaneers put together another scoring drive following a fumble recovery by Fifth Newton with just 1:47 left in the quarter.
The eventual scoring drive continued into the fourth quarter with Sowell hooking up with his younger brother, Bryce Sowell on a nice pass play that covered 18 yards. Kent later scored from 2 yards out with 10:35 left to play in the game. Blake Sowell made it a 36-8 game by running for the two-point conversion.
Nathanael Greene scored again on a 3-yard run by Stewart with 6:18 left in the game. That made it a 36-16 game.
The ensuing kickoff saw Coxwell record another nice runback. His play led to Kent scoring on a 1 yard run with 2:10 left to play in the game. Sowell threw a two-point conversion pass to Jarrett Keen, a sophomore wide receiver, to give the Bucs a 44-16 lead.
With only 11 seconds left, Holcomb threw a touchdown pass to Hanson to complete the game's scoring for both teams.
The Briarwood Academy Buccaneers were led defensively by Michael Kent with 7 solo tackles and four assists; Tyler Edwards, 6 solo tackles and 3 assists; Russell Burdette, 6 solo tackles and 2 assists; Steven Gunn, 6 solo tackles and Jarrett Keen, 4 solo tackles.