Briarwood Academy’s Buccaneers are now 2-0 after last Friday’s 36-0 win over the visiting Bethlehem Christian Academy Knights.
“They were bigger, but I feel like we were more physical,” said Bo Fleming, Briarwood Academy head football coach. “The longer we ran and pounded and pushed on them – by the time it rolled around to the third quarter they had enough of that. We worked them enough to where we could do what we wanted to do.”
Briarwood won the toss and deferred until the second half, giving Bethlehem Christian’s offense the first chance of the night to advance the ball. But, the Bucs only gave up one first down and then forced the Knights to punt. Briarwood’s first possession of the night was cut short by a fumble just four plays into the drive.
However, Briarwood took the ball right back from the Knights as Tucker Purvis nabbed an interception on the 1-yard line. The Bucs were unable to advance the ball and soon punted, which was on par for both teams in a scoreless first quarter.
“It was a slow start, but ended up being a very productive night offensively,” Fleming said.
Late in the first quarter, the Bucs launched a scoring drive in which Lucas Freitas broke a 41-yard run down to the 2 yard line. He then carried on the following play for the short-yardage score. The Bucs put their first touchdown of the night on the board with 10:20 to play in the second quarter. The point after kick was blocked, but Briarwood had established a 6-0 lead.
Bethlehem’s next possession proved disastrous when a bad snap forced the punter to scramble around trying, unsuccessfully, to elude the Briarwood defense. The Bucs took possession on the Knights’’ 25 and scored four plays later on a fourth-and-six pass from Dax Reese to Jacob Petrie. A two-point conversion stretched the Briarwood lead to 14-0 with five minutes left in the half.
Briarwood’s next score came through the air as Reese connected several minutes later to Purvis on a 16-yard touchdown completion. The kick sailed true, and the Bucs were up 21-0 with less than a minute remaining until the half. Before the horn sounded, Bethlehem aired the ball out deep but Briarwood’s Petrie came down with the interception to wrap up the quarter.
Although they opened the night slowly in the first quarter and then picked the pace up in the second, the Bucs’ offense continued to roll as they took the field in the third quarter. Briarwood powered down the field with an eight-play scoring drive capped by Freitas on an 8-yard touchdown run. A two-point pass completion from Reese to Charles McMichael gave Briarwood a 29-0 lead with 9:49 left in the third quarter.
After once again shutting down the much larger Bethlehem team’s offensive attempts, Briarwood strung together yet another scoring drive. Starting from their 37-yard line, the Bucs drove down the field to the end zone in nine plays. Chapman Mohr scored on a 4-yard run and the point after kick again was effective. Briarwood had established a 36-0 lead, which would last the remainder of the night.
Briarwood put together a solid night on offense in which Lucas Freitas rushed for 188 yards and Dax Reese for 73. Reese also completed five passes for a total of 54 yards and three touchdowns.
Fleming again gives credit to the Briarwood offensive line for making those numbers possible.
“It doesn’t matter if we are in a spread or an I, those guys are blocking well and opening holes for our backs,” he said.
The Bucs’ defense was standing tough all night behind the leadership of John Barnett, defensive coordinator.
“I give a lot of credit to Coach Barnett. He’s done a great job getting those guys prepared and understanding what he is trying to run, and has really got those guys playing well,” said Fleming. “It has been a while since we have had a shutout. We should have had one the first game but we let them score late. He has done an excellent job with our defense.”
Defensive leaders were Tucker Lord, Barrett Johnson, Jacob Petrie, Lucas Freitas, and Braxton Blakey with four tackles each. Evan Moore and Barrett Johnson each had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Tucker Purvis and Jacob Petrie each had an interception.
This week the Bucs will travel to Sparta to play John Hancock Academy.
“They’re a scrappy team and are always going to play hard. I feel like we are more athletic and more physical,” Fleming said. “I expect to get a win Friday night.”