Bryan County put together one of its most complete games of the season last Friday night and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Redskins dominated on both sides of the ball as they rolled to a 40-19 Region 3A-D1 win over Claxton in posting one of their most important wins in several seasons.
The win was significant in that it insured Coach Cherard Freeman’s team its first winning season since 2013 and it gave it a No. 3 seeding heading into its first GHSA state playoff appearance since 2015.
Bryan County (6-4) will play at Heard County (5-5) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and it will be riding the momentum of two-game winning streak. Heard County is located in Franklin which is a 245-mile trip.
“We’re going to leave at 10 in the morning on Friday,” Freeman said. “We’ll stop at Hampton for lunch and do a walk through. We’re going to practice at Metter on Thursday morning to get a feel for the artificial turf.”
The Braves are no newcomer to the playoffs as this is their 18th consecutive appearance and they won the Class A state championship in 2018.
However, the Redskins will not be going into the playoff looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
They’ve got several players who have been on baseball, basketball and wrestling teams who have made state playoff appearances: baseball was 20-9 last season and reached the Sweet 16, basketball was 20-7 and won the regular season region race and the second-year wrestling program made it to the Sweet 16.
Others, such as wide receiver Ethan Trombley and running back Jacari Carney, have qualified for state events as individuals. Trombley made it the state track meet as a distance runner and Carney as a sprinter.
Freeman spent Sunday looking at film, none of it on Heard County, as part of getting prepared for the Braves.
“We did self-scouting,” Freeman said of the work he and his staff put in. “We looked at our last three games analyzing what we did and looking to see if there were any tendecies we need to be aware of and correct.”
Other than practicing at Metter it will otherwise be a normal week, Freeman said.
“We’ve got to focus on what we do and try and get better at what we do,” Freeman said. “We’ve got to play mistake free football and focus on the moment.”
Freeman said the game at Claxton, which marked the final game played at the Tigers’ iconic 76-year-old Pecan Grove stadium, should also help in preparation.
“It was an electrifying atmosphere,” Freeman said. “It was like a playoff game.
“We really played a good game. It should have been a shutout but we made some mistakes that let them score on big plays. That was kind of disappointing.”
Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lanier threw touchdown passes to Tanner Ennis and Carson Nunn and ran for another and Konnor Leggett ran for a score.
In addition to his touchdown catch the talented Ennis, who has playoff experience in both baseball and basketball, thrilled Redskins fans with a 78-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in addition to being in double digits in tackles.
Leggett leads the Redskins in rushing with 523 yards and is second to Ennis in tackles with 77. Ennis has 84 tackles, freshman Anndreas McKinny has 73 while Julian Gray has 65 and Sean Kelly Hill 57.
The Redskins rarely throw as evidenced by Lanier’s 14-41 for 234 yards. Trombley is the team’s top receiver with four catches for 63 yards.
Freeman has a stable of backs which he utilizes extensively. While Leggett shoulders most of the work load Erin Greene has gained 229 yards, McKinny 204, Carney 200, Jordan Flannell 199 and Nunn 144.