Shocking, Stunning, Surprising. Major upset.
That’s what people outside the greater environs of Pembroke were probably saying Saturday morning when they heard the score of Friday night’s Bryan County at Lincoln County game.
The Redskins pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season’s opening night when they posted a dominating 28-16 win at unsuspecting Lincoln County which was No 4 in the Class A-DII pre-season rankings.
Other than Tanner Ennis being named a pre-season first team all-state defensive back nary a peep had been uttered about Bryan County which entered the game as a 21-point underdog per the Maxwell ratings system.
“We played great football,” Coach Cherard Freeman said of his team’s win over one of the top Class A programs in state history. The Red Devils have won 11 state championships and were a Final Four team last year.
“Their two touchdowns came when we snapped the ball over the kicker’s head and then they hit a long pass,” Freeman said. “Other than that, we controlled the game. We never trailed.”
Austin “Smush” Clemons, Sean Kelly Hill and Trevor Lanier all scored rushing touchdowns and Hill threw a touchdown pass to tight end Kris Martin to account for Bryan County’s scoring.
Bryan County controlled the game from the outset in handing the Red Devils a rare home defeat and by double figures no less.
The Redskins rolled up 178 yards rushing and Hill completed all three of his pass attempts for 47 yards. Bryan County lost one of two fumbles and most importantly in controlling the football it had only one penalty for five yards.
“We played old school football,” Freeman said. “We beat them down. Other than the two scores they didn’t get anything. Our offensive line controlled the game.
“We went with a two tight end look and the kids just dominated.”
Lanier and Martin were the tight ends while John Good at left tackle, Nathan Long at left guard, Jet Lewis at center, Zane Renteria at right guard and Allen Williams at right tackle provided the heft up front.
The win was Bryan County’s first win over Lincoln County in three tries and its first win against a Lee Chomskis coached team in 11 games. Chomskis was 8-0 against the Redskins while at Vidalia.
Defensively Bryan County stymied the high-powered Lincoln County offense all night. The Red Devils were limited to 75 yards rushing and while they had 153 yards passing the Redskins also had two interceptions.
“We’ve gotten better and we’re not the team people expected to see,” said Freeman who is in his fourth season. “We’re not a laughing stock anymore. We may not win them all, but this was a good win for these kids. They earned it.”
Freeman also said Clemons, who was lost for the season last year to a knee injury in the fourth game, was outstanding on both sides of the ball in his return to action.
“Clemons played like a beast,” Freeman said. “Winning this game against a quality opponent like Lincoln County sets the tone for everything: how we practice, how we prepare and everything else.”
The Redskins will be on the road again this week as they play at Treutlen County.