Bo Fleming

Coach Bo Fleming talks with his assistant coaches Friday night as his Bucs head toward the win that made him the all-time winningest coach in the history of the school’s football program.

Briarwood Academy’s passing game may have struggled in week one, but last Friday it struck quickly. On the first snap of the night, the Bucs scored on a 58-yard touchdown pass to Crawford Thigpen in their 41-7 win over John Hancock Academy in Warrenton. “Branson (Beggs) made a check at the line and he made a good throw and Crawford made a good catch,” said Bo Fleming, Briarwood Academy head coach. “The ones that we didn’t catch the week before, we caught on Friday.” With Friday night’s win, Bo Fleming became the winningest head coach in Briarwood Academy football history. The season-opener win the prior week had tied Fleming with Rodney Collins at 56 wins apiece. Collins, who coached twice at Briarwood, accomplished the 56-win overall record in eight full seasons. Fleming has now surpassed his record in just two games of eight seasons. “It’s a very good feeling, but again a lot of credit goes back to the players. I’ve had a great group ever since I’ve been here, a very talented group,” said Fleming. “I also had a bunch of different guys who have helped me along the way coaching. Ryan Gerlach was with me for the majority of the time and then Coach (John) Barnett came on. You couldn’t do it by yourself.” Last Friday, after the Bucs took an early lead, the Rebels soon countered by driving for the end zone on the following possession to tie the game 7-7. Late in the opening quarter, Briarwood at first appeared to have scored again. But, a Dax Reese 35-yard run to the end zone was called back on a holding penalty. The Bucs still pushed forward, with the drive dying when a fourth-down pass into the end zone was dropped. Early in the second quarter, another would-be touchdown run by Reese was called back. He broke to the outside and covered 51 yards. However, when he hurdled over the final defensive back the flag came out and the referee ruled that was a personal foul. “They said it’s been in the rule book but, Dax did it last year in the playoffs and we weren’t flagged,” said Fleming. The Bucs did not relent and eight plays later Beggs plunged in to score from 2 yards out. The Bucs remained solid in the first half and a Cameron Perkins interception set up the next Briarwood score. Perkins snagged the ball and picked up yardage on the return. “I thought he was going to return it, he made a good play,” Fleming said. On the next offensive play, Beggs hit Thigpen on a 30-yard touchdown strike. Reese carried for the two-point conversion and the Bucs stretched their lead to 21-7. For the third time in the opening half, the Bucs appeared to score but had the play called back on a flag. This time a pass from Beggs to Tucker Lord was called back as the Bucs were charged with ineligible receiver down field. Like before, the Bucs still managed to put points on the board anyway. Ten plays into the drive, Beggs picked up a fumble and raced 20 yards down to the 6 yard line. From there, Reese only needed one carry to score. The point-after missed, but the Bucs took a 27-2 lead into the half. On Briarwood’s first possession of the second half, Reese broke free and nearly scored but was dragged down on the 1. From there, senior Josh Addyman got the call. Fleming often likes to give his seniors, even the linemen, the chance to score. Addyman took the hand off and powered straight again for a touchdown. With the point-after added, but Bucs were now up 34-7. With that score, Briarwood’s offensive starters for the most part got to take a break and the younger players took the field. Briarwood’s final score of the night came on a fourth-quarter 2-yard run by Mitchell Lyons. Reese led the Bucs in rushing with 111 yards from 11 attempts. Beggs carried four times for a total of 34 yards. Lyons provided 29 yards, Charlie Mosley 23, and Dallas Howard 20. Beggs completed five passes for a total of 135 years. Thigpen led in receiving with 95 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Braxton Blakey recorded 10 total tackles and 8 solo. Eli Bragg followed Blakey with 7 total tackles. “The kids played well and we took care of business,” Fleming said. “We could move the ball and do what we wanted to on Friday on offense. We’ve just got to cut out the mistakes to try to beat a really good team this week.” The Bucs will be home again this week and will host Brentwood. The Sandersville school is 0-1 after a 38-12 loss to John Milledge Academy last Friday. “Knowing those guys, they will be ready to play. They beat us four times in a row so they’ll be excited about coming over here Friday,” Fleming explained. “To beat a team like Brentwood we can’t turn the ball over and we can’t give up the big play. We’ve got to make them drive the field.”