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Game pitted brothers against each other

GARDEN CITY, Ga. --- Jeffrey Kent was one side of the football field, while his parents and younger brother was on the other side of the field.

And there's good reason. As an assistant coach at Memorial Day School in Savannah, he and his team battled the Briarwood Academy Buccaneers -- his alma mater -- for the Georgia Independent Schools Association Region 1-A Championship.

The end result: Coach Kent's team won 42-0.

Despite the loss, the Buccaneers along with the Blue Thunder both will be playing in the first-round of the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A state playoffs this Friday night.

Briarwood Academy will host Randolph Southern. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

It was one of those emotional games for coach Kent, as well as for his brother, Michael Kent, a junior running back with the Buccaneers. At the same time, it also was an emotional game for their parents, Stacey Kent, of Thomson and Jeff Kent, of Warren County.

Prior to the game, coach Kent talked with Michael and his former football coach John Osborne, now the head coach at Briarwood Academy.

"I told him good luck and that I loved him," said coach Kent.

Michael said he told his older brother basically the same thing.

"I'm so nervous," said coach Kent during a telephone interview with The McDuffie Mirror on Thursday night. "The butterflies started Monday at practice. My nerves have been on edge all week. I can't even sleep at night, thinking about this big game."

The 23-year-old Coach Kent, a senior at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, is a 2005 graduate of Briarwood Academy. He now teaches history a half day, five days a week at Memorial Day School. There, he also serves as coordinator of the special teams and defensive line coach.

"I love it," said coach Kent, who plans to become a fulltime teacher/football coach when he graduates from GSU next Spring.

The week before the game with Briarwood, the Blue Thunder trounced the Curtis Baptist Crusaders 48-6, while the Buccaneers defeated David Emanuel Academy's Eagles 22-12.

Coach Osborne was one of three head coaches during coach Kent's four-year playing career at Briarwood Academy.

"I played for Dan Moore, John Osborne and Jimmy Barnett," recalled coach Kent.

In those four years, coach Kent helped the Buccaneers to two region championships.

Coach Kent confessed that he wasn't as good a running back as his brother, Michael, a junior, who already has amassed 1,178 yards on 165 carries this season. In addition, he also has scored 15 touchdowns.

"Michael is a very good running back," said coach Kent.

Coach Kent said the game against Briarwood Academy was "a very emotional one" for him.

When all was said and done, the family gathered together on the football field at Garden City Stadium and posed for photographs.

"We still love each other," said Michael.

Web posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

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