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Briarwood Academy quarterback Branson Beggs looks for an open receiver while under heavy pressure by EBA on a Bucs’ 2-point attempt late in the fourth quarter.

Football season ended last Friday at Briarwood Academy when the Bucs fell to Edmund Burke Academy 21-20 in the first round of GISA Class AA state playoffs.

“It’s not the way we wanted to end the season. It just wasn’t’ meant to be,” said Briarwood Head Coach Bo Fleming. “Our kids played hard Friday, but we didn’t make the plays when we had to make them. It was a disappointing end to our season but I am proud of our guys. They worked hard all year.”

The Bucs opened with a 6-0 lead at the midpoint in the first quarter after Dax Reese scored a 4-yard run at the end of a nine-play drive. However, the extra-point kick was blocked.

“Getting the first extra point blocked really set us back and we were trying to play catch up all night with that,” said Fleming.

Near the end of the opening quarter the Spartans countered with a short four-play scoring drive and converted the kick to take a 7-0 lead. After both rivals swapped punts, Briarwood again surged on offense. After starting on their 35, the Bucs covered 65 yards in 12 plays and ended the drive on a Branson Beggs 4-yard touchdown carry. A 2-point attempt failed, but the Bucs now had established a 12-7 advantage with seconds remaining until half time.

As the second half began, the Bucs held EBA’s offense and forced a punt. Then Briarwood appeared to be moving the ball again steadily. But, an interception halted the drive and gave EBA the ball again. The Spartans capitalized on the turnover by driving 42 yards to the end zone in eight plays. The Spartans’ kick was good, giving EBA a 14-12 lead with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter. Briarwood’s next two possessions were not successful and ended in punts.

After the second punt to EBA, the Spartans’ offense again strung together a scoring drive. With a third touchdown on the night and another kick conversion for the extra point and 4:28 left to play, EBA led 21-12. The Bucs did not give up. Instead, they came out throwing on five of six plays as they moved the ball quickly and ended up scoring on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Beggs to Tucker Lord.

“We had been practicing that no huddle and it worked well. Branson made some good throws and Gavin (Taylor) made one really good catch. That was our one chance to stay in the game,” Fleming said.

With 2:48 remaining, Briarwood opted for a 2-point conversion that brought Briarwood within a point, 21-20. EBA then simply had to field the kick off and keep the clock running. The Spartans did just that and time expired.

Briarwood ended the season with a 7-5 record. EBA, 4-7, will now advance to round- two action against 10-1 Terrell Academy. The Bucs squad will lose eight seniors to graduation — Cameron Perkins, Branson Beggs, Dax Reese, Crawford Thigpen, Tucker Lord, Gunner Stewart, Josh Addyman, and Colby McCord.

“I’m going to really miss these guys. We’re going to have a lot to replace on offense,” said Fleming. “A lot of our young guys are going to have to really step up and have a big year next year.”