After losing to Telfair County last week in a game in which several starters were sidelined Bryan County coach Cherard Freeman lamented the lack of leadership, especially in the secondary which was missing Tanner Ennis.
“Tanner’s our field general in the secondary,” Freeman said. “We need someone to step up.”
The Redskins had several other players on the injured list who missed the Telfair game and none were available for Wednesday night’s game at Montgomery County. The game was advanced two days due to Hurricane Ian.
With a shortened preparation time Freeman went into the game anxious to see how his team would respond coming off a loss and who would step up to fill the leadership vacuum.
He got his answer in the first quarter and it came from an unexpected source: freshman linebacker Anndreas McKinny had the game of a lifetime in helping lead Bryan County (4-2) to a solid 28-7 win over the Eagles.
Filling in at middle linebacker for Austin Clemens, who has been lost for the season with a knee injury, McKinny had 16, tackles, 10 of them solo, five tackles for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble and recovered an Eagles first quarter fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
“He took Smush’s (Clemens) place and he didn’t play that well against Telfair,” Freeman said. “He was nervous. He wasn’t nervous Wednesday, though. He scored our first touchdown of the game.”
McKinny’s early score spurred the Redskins to a 21-7 halftime lead and they put it on cruise control from there.
The win enabled Bryan County to close out non-region play on a positive note. Looking more and more like a playoff team the Redskins open Region 3A-DI play at 7:30 p.m. next Friday when it hosts Metter (3-3).
“Once we got the game under control, we were able to play a lot of young players in the second half,” Freeman said. “To come back from a loss with several players injured and then get a win in a game played on short notice tells me we’re growing.”
McKinny, who earlier this season blocked a punt for a scoop and score against Treutlen County, wasn’t the only player to show the leadership Freeman was seeking.
“Konnor Leggett and Sean Kelly Hill really stepped up,” Freeman said. “They both did a great job of getting the guys lined up.”
In addition to McKinny’s score Hill, Erin Greene and senior Jordan Flannel who is playing his first season of football all scored touchdowns. For Flannel, a standout on the basketball team, it was his first ever touchdown.
Hill, who plays cornerback on defense, was pressed into service as a running back when sophomore Gage Javis had to go out with an injury.
“He’s never played running back but we had to put him in,” Freeman said of Hill. “Jacari (Carney) was still out so we had to use him and he took it in for a touchdown. He played a really fine game.”
Leggett and Flannel led the ground attack which is now averaging 269.2 yards per game. Leggett has 452 yards and five touchdowns on the season and has surpassed the 100-yard mark twice.
Clemens finished the season with 289 yards and five touchdowns but helping pick up the slack have been Greene with 209 yards, Clemons with 162 and McKinny with 160. Carney, who has missed the last two games, has 105. /bre
McKinney now leads the team in tackles with 49 while Leggett has 45. Julian Gray has 39, Carter Tapley and Ger’brevion Collins shave 36 each, Ennis has 35, Luke Holcombe has 33 and Hill 32.
Hill, McKinny and Chris Winfree have two sacks each and Gray has two interceptions. McKinny has also four caused fumbles.