The 2010 football season came to an end for the Briarwood Academy Buccaneers when they were defeated 54-13 by Westwood in the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A Final Four state playoffs last Friday night.
"We simply went up against a much better football team," lamented Briarwood Academy head coach John Osborne. "I'm still proud of how far we went as a football team this year. Our players gave us everything they had and that's all you can ask."
The Westwood Wildcats will travel to Garden City near Savannah to play Memorial Day School's Blue Thunder for the GISA Class A state title this Friday night. Memorial Day defeated Briarwood Academy in the last regular season game to win the Region 1-A championship. Memorial Day advances to the state championship game following a 37-22 win over Terrell Academy last week.
Briarwood Academy ends their season with an overall record of 7-5.
Coach Osborne, who along with his coaching staff has led the Buccaneers to the Final Four the last two seasons, explained that Westwood came out fired up and ready to take it to his team.
"It was rough, because they are a very good team," said coach Osborne. "We had our hands full playing them."
The Westwood Wildcats managed to claw their way into the end zone on several occasions during the first half.
They completely dominated the game and established a 41-0 halftime lead they never came close to relinquishing.
The Wildcats, still perfect on the season with a 12-0 record, rolled up 437 yards of total offense -- 335 of which came in the first half. Westwood was led by Jake Edore, who rushed for 108 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns -- again in the first two quarters of the game.
"We've said all season we wanted to get a little better each week and peak at the right time," said Westwood head coach Ross Worsham. "I think, so far, we've done that."
"I would be very surprised if Memorial Day beats Westwood," said coach Osborne.
The Buccaneers started the game on a positive note and drove the ball to nearly 50 yard line before a fumble ended the scoring drive.
Briarwood Academy even had senior quarterback Blake Sowell back on the field. It was short-lived, however. For Sowell twisted his badly sprained ankle on the seventh play of the game and was forced to come out. He never returned.
Sowell had missed the last several games. He had hoped for a full-recovery, but it never came. He now will miss his senior basketball season, as well.
Taking his place was Taylor Coxwell, who helped rally the Buccaneers to a last-minute come-from-behind victory over Randolph Southern in the first-round of the state playoffs.
"Once we fumbled the ball and they recovered in the first quarter, it just all went downhill for us," remarked coach Osborne. "From that point forward, we just couldn't get anything going."
At halftime, coach Osborne asked his players to do one thing for him: Score.
Like they have so often during the season, his players responded.
In fact, the Buccaneers came out in the third quarter and scored a pair of touchdowns against Westwood's first string players.
"That made me feel as good as anything that night, even though I was disappointed with losing the game," said coach Osborne. "They came out and did what I asked them to do. I can't find fault with that."
Scoring those touchdowns for the Buccaneers was Michael Kent and Russell Burdette. Steven Gunn kicked an extra point.
The leading rusher for Briarwood was junior running back Ryan Pritchett, who gained 77 yards against the Wildcats. Kent rushed for 60 yards.