Photo by Abbigail Remkus for The McDuffie Progress

Briarwood Head Coach Bo Fleming, flanked by assistant coaches D.J. Shelnutt and Ryan Gerlach, congratulates his team following the Friday night playoff win in Savannah at St. Andrews.

Briarwood is headed to the GISA final four playoffs this Friday and will face Edmund Burke Academy for a second time this year. The winner will advance to the GISA AA state championship game in Macon.

Last Friday, the Buccaneers defeated St. Andrews 20-3 in Savannah to earn the right to advance.

Briarwood’s first score of the night came on a 22-yard run by quarterback Dax Reese. However, it had been set up by a 57-yard pass completion from Reese to Tucker Purvis.

“They were putting everybody in the box to stop the run and we threw a post over the middle to Tucker Purvis,” said Briarwood Head Coach Bo Fleming. “Dax made a good throw and Tucker made a good catch.”

The Bucs held a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Briarwood defense held St. Andrews and forced a punt that left the Bucs with good field position.

Briarwood opened the drive with a run by Reese, but then on second down shook things up a bit.

“We had been practicing a trick play and we saw what they gave us on first down, so on second down we ran a tackle-eligible pass to Thomas Wilkerson. Dax made another good throw and Thomas caught it for a 28-yard touchdown,” said Fleming.

“It was a perfect throw.”

Wilkerson has played on the line and at defensive end this season.

“We’ve been trying to get it to him at some point and finally it worked out. It was a big play for a playoff, it gave us a 14-0 lead,” added Fleming.

Before the half, St. Andrews did score a field goal — their only score of the night.

Briarwood added one more score to wrap up the win later in the game.  Reese scored his second rushing touchdown of the night on a 22-yard run.

Earlier this month, on Nov. 1, Briarwood hosted St. Andrews and earned a much more narrow 14-7 win. In this second meeting of the year, St. Andrews was short a key running back due to injury but also Briarwood had prepared for round two against them.

“We knew what they were going to give us and so we were able to be better prepared,” said Fleming.

“Defensively for us, Coach Barnett was able to see what they tried to do against us the first time and they really didn’t throw that many new wrinkles in and we were able to come out with the win,” added Fleming.

The head coach is quick to give his defense credit for the win at St. Andrews. The Bucs had three interceptions and one fumble recovery.

Tucker Purvis, Charles McMichael, and Lucas Freitas each had interceptions. Freitas also recovered a fumble.

Evan Moore led the defense with 17 total tackles, six solo. Barrett Johnson was a close second to Moore with 15 tackles and three solo. Daxton Kent and Scott Reynolds each had nine total tackles.

On offense, Reese led the rushing effort with 111 yards from 14 carries. Freitas carried 12 times for a total of 40 yards.

This Friday the Bucs travel to Waynesboro to take on Edmund Burke Academy. The two met in the final game of the regular season at Briarwood, and EBA won 24-21.

Fleming is working this week to get his team ready and they are motivated to get past EBA this Friday and advance to the state championship. If that happens, it will be the sixth state championship appearance for Briarwood in school history. For Fleming, it would be his second appearance in the title game as head coach.

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