Two wins under their belts and five to go in regular season. That's how Briarwood Academy head coach John Osborne described the situation confronting his football players following their second back-to-back win over a GISA Region 1-A opponent.
The Buccaneers' latest victory came against the John Hancock Academy Rebels at the Briarwood field last Friday night. The final score was 47-22.
The victory gives Briarwood Academy a 3-2 record overall and a 2-0 region record.
This Friday night, the Buccaneers hope to continue their winning ways as they travel to Macon in a contest against Central Christian. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
"Guys, excellent job tonight," coach Osborne told his players immediately after the game. "That's two of seven. Let's make it three of seven next week."
Coach Osborne also told his jubilant players to enjoy the win over the weekend and to keep their heads up, as they continue to work hard in practice and improve week after week.
In the game against John Hancock's Rebels, the Buccaneers drove 54 yards on their opening drive to reach pay dirt. Junior running back Ryan Pritchett broke loose on a 33 yard run on a second down and six-play that got Briarwood to the John Hancock 17. Junior fullback Russell Burdette then spurted up the middle for a gain of 14 yards. The drive was capped on a 2 yard touchdown run by junior running back Michael Kent, who like last week, had a big night for the Bucs.
The touchdown came with 6:02 left in the first quarter and was the beginning of many of touchdowns on the night for Briarwood Academy. Steven Gunn, a senior offensive and defensive lineman, kicked the extra point that gave the Buccaneers a 7-0 lead.
For the second straight week, the Briarwood defensive unit shined brightly.
The group forced the Rebels to punt the ball away on their next possession.
Briarwood's Taylor Coxwell, a sophomore, made a fair catch of the ball and quickly senior quarterback Blake Sowell and company went to work again. On the first play from scrimmage, Sowell hooked up on a beautifully thrown touchdown pass to Coxwell. The play, which covered a distance of 65 yards, came with 3:27 left to play in the opening quarter. Gunn made it a 14-0 game by kicking the extra point.
John Hancock's Rebels managed to hit pay dirt for the first time with 1:49 to play in the first quarter. Quarterback Evan Butcher threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Chris McCoy. Butcher also kicked the extra point. It cut Briarwood Academy's lead to 14-7.
Early in the second quarter, the Buccaneers scored again.
Coach Osborne utilized three different backs to get the job done. They included Kent, Pritchett and Burdette.
With 10:50 remaining in first-half action, Kent scored his second touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run. Gunn booted the extra point that gave the Buccaneers a 21-7 lead. Kent scored again with 8:24 left in that same quarter on an 8 yard run. Again, Gunn's extra point was good, which made it a three-touchdown lead, 28-7 for the Bucs.
Just before halftime, the Rebels scored again. The TD came on a 35-yard pass from Butcher to Justin Bachlelor. Butcher's extra point cut Briarwood's lead to 28-14.
The Buccaneers were a long way from finished as far as scoring was concerned.
They put the game away with 9:34 to play in the third quarter, as Kent scored his fourth TD of the game. It came on a 4 yard run. Gunn kicked the extra point -- his fifth consecutive PAT of the game.
Briarwood's defensive unit rose to the occasion several times during the second half. Gunn came up with a big play when he deflected a pass. Matt McHatton, a senior offensive and defensive lineman, was another Briarwood player that came up big defensively. McHatton made several tackles at key times.
Offensively, Bryce Sowell got in on the act during the second half and made several nice runs.
Kent eventually scored again -- his fifth TD of the game -- on a 5-yard run with 3:35 left in the third quarter. Gunn's extra point kick failed. Nevertheless, the Bucs clung to a commanding 41-14 lead.
A 30-yard field goal was attempted by Gunn early in the fourth quarter. The Rebels put up a strong rush and the ball never got up in the air. As a result, it was an easy block.
Coxwell took over at quarterback midway of the fourth quarter. Immediately, he seemed to know exactly what to do with the football. The end result: another TD for the Bucs.
Sophomore wide receiver Jarrett Keen scored on a 16-yard pass play from Coxwell with 5:59 left in the game.
That made it a 47-14 game.
Just eight seconds later, the Bucs had the ball again on a fumble recovery by Pritchett. It didn't take the Rebels long to get it right back, as Coxwell was hit hard and coughed up the ball with the visitors recovering. They went on to score another touchdown.
Tyler Edwards, another senior offensive and defensive lineman, turned in his second biggest performance of his career.
In addition to playing well at the quarterback position, Coxwell played well defensively. He also intercepted two passes.
Edwards added that he believes the Bucs are a better team than their overall record reflects.
McHatton attributed the win to his teammates "sticking together."
Another defensive standout player for Briarwood Academy was Ryan Nelson, who has been injured the past few games. Still nursing a turf toe injury, Nelson made several tackles -- one of which was a saving touchdown tackle.