The Bryan County Redskins are making a habit of taking their games down to the wire — and winning them.
Markus Johnson scored two touchdowns as Bryan County rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit and defeated Jeff Davis 14-7 in overtime Friday at Redskins Field.
The homecoming win came a week after BCHS stopped a late two-point conversion attempt and held on to edge McIntosh County Academy 20-19.
“The biggest thing that’s impressive to me about these kids is that they do find ways to win a close game,” Redskins head coach Allen Cartwright said. “In a region like ours where so many teams are similar and there’s a lot of parity, I think it boils down to kids that know how to win close games.”
The Redskins’ third-straight win raised their record to 4-4 overall and 4-1 in Region 2-AA. Bryan County remained in sole possession of second place in the region standings, one game behind Benedictine (8-0, 5-0) and one game ahead of Vidalia (5-3, 3-2) and McIntosh County (3-5, 3-2).
BCHS will conclude the regular season with games at Long County (3-5, 2-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and at home against Vidalia on Nov. 6. A win in either would clinch a state-playoff berth for the Redskins.
“We do control our own destiny,” Cartwright said. “I want the kids to understand we have a long-term goal, but we have to be shortsighted. Right now, we just have to keep our attention focused on Long County, and hopefully we can take care of business there. If that’s the case, it’ll set up a big showdown here (next week) with Vidalia.”
After playing to a 0-0 stalemate through three quarters, Bryan County and Jeff Davis (4-4, 1-4) each scored a touchdown in a span of 1 minute, 16 seconds in the fourth quarter. The Yellow Jackets broke the deadlock after recovering a fumble at the BCHS 33-yard line.
Five plays later, Deangelo Adams ran up the middle for an 8-yard touchdown. Moises Brinceno’s extra point put Jeff Davis up 7-0 with 9:03 remaining in regulation.
Helped by good field position, Bryan County answered quickly. The Yellow Jackets tried an onside kick after their touchdown, and BCHS lineman Conner Schaffer recovered the ball near midfield.
The Redskins then picked the perfect time for their lone pass completion of the night. On the first snap after the kickoff, Gage Hagan threw a 42-yard bomb to Traivaun Sanders to the Jeff Davis 11-yard line.
“It ended up being a big play for us because we were behind and the time was ticking, and we needed it,” Cartwright said. “One thing about being a ball-control, run-oriented team is you take your shots. We kept running inside, sucking (the defense) in, so we knew that play would be open.”
Markez Bostick ran for 7 yards and Johnson capped the three-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown. Christian Thomas’ extra point tied the score with 7:47 to play in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, each team had a possession starting 15 yards from the end zone. The Redskins got the ball first and scored in five plays, with Johnson plunging into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
The BCHS defense stuffed the Yellow Jackets on two running plays and broke up a third-down pass on their overtime possession. On fourth and 11 from the 16, T.C. Pippen intercepted Jordan Dubberly’s pass at the goal line to end the game.
“The older I get, my ticker might not take many more of these kind,” Cartwright joked.
Bryan County’s Quran George saved a touchdown earlier in the game. On fourth and 6 from the Redskins’ 25-yard line early in the second quarter, George broke up Dubberly’s pass to Gage Waters in the end zone.
The Redskins held Jeff Davis to 175 yards of offense. Dominique Mock led the BCHS defense with 11 tackles, and Johnson had eight tackles and a fumble recovery to go with his two touchdowns on offense.
The Bryan County offense operated its typical running-back-by-committee attack, as seven different players carried the ball in the game. Bostick topped the Redskins with 13 carries for 46 yards, Willie Lavant gained 40 yards on just five carries, and Johnson rushed for 39 yards on 11 carries.
With both teams running the ball on nearly every down and chewing up the clock, possessions were at a premium. The Redskins had the ball only seven times in four quarters of play, and three of those ended with lost fumbles.
BCHS had just one possession in the first quarter and one in the third quarter. The Redskins opened the second half with a 16-play drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the clock and ended with a missed field goal.