The old adage “peaking at the right time” has certainly been true of this year’s Bryan County Redskins.
BCHS won its fourth game in a row last Friday, using a big first half to plow past Long County 42-25 in Ludowici. The win streak has put the Redskins (5-4 overall, 5-1 in Region 2-AA) in a prime spot to determine their playoff destination.
A victory over Vidalia on Friday at home means Bryan County will host a first-round playoff game. A loss, however, sends BCHS on the road for its postseason opener — likely at Screven County, according to Redskins head coach Allen Cartwright.
That BCHS is in this position probably wasn’t a scenario on many fans’ minds earlier this season, when the Redskins opened the 2015 campaign with three-straight losses. However, as the season progressed, the players got the grasp of the new schemes introduced by Cartwright, who is in his first year at the helm. Since those early season stumbles, BCHS has won four of five games.
“It’s getting better and better as we go along,” Cartwright said.
On Bryan County’s second possession against Long County, Devante Anderson scored on a 3-yard run, followed by a successful point-after conversion by Christian Thomas.
After the kickoff, Long County struck back with quarterback Brendon Scott hooking up with wide receiver Tariq Carpenter for a 65-yard touchdown. Tripp Stapleton’s kick was no good, making the score 7-6 Bryan County.
Over the remainder of the first half, the Redskins offense pounded the ball between the tackles dominating the half. Markus Johnson scored from 4 yards out, and Anderson punched it in from 8 yards. Thomas put both conversion attempts through the uprights, making the score 21-6.
It looked like the Blue Tide were going to be able to narrow the gap before the break, but Scott’s pass was picked off by T.C. Pippen. With the ball at his own 45-yard line and only four seconds until halftime, Redskin quarterback Gage Hagan threw the only pass his team would attempt for the entire game — a 65-yard touchdown to Pippen. After a successful conversion, Bryan County was up 28-6 at the break.
Cartwright said that play pumped up the players, who were already feeling good with a two-score lead.
“It was big for the mindset of the kids, for sure,” he said.
On Bryan County’s second possession of the second half, the Redskins’ offense once again was pounding down the field with a near-perfect running attack. They moved to the Long County 10 and were on the verge of scoring, but Bryan County lost a fumble.
Long County marched down the field, with Scott capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
On the ensuing kickoff, Anderson took it to the house for another touchdown, and with the point-after conversion, the Redskins were up 35-12.
Long County got a touchdown back on the next drive off a 19-yard run by Harrison. However, Anderson responded with his fourth touchdown of the night.
Harrison later scored his second touchdown of the game.
Anderson had 151 yards on 20 carries. Willie Lavant added 65 yards on eight carries, and Markez Bostick had 55 yards on nine carries. As a team, the Redskins rushed for 343 yards.
Defensively, Nathaniel Van Ryswyk had 13 tackles, including 1½ for loss, and two sacks. Johnson had 11 tackles, and Conner Schaffer had three sacks.
The Redskins’ late-season winning ways will be challenged by Vidalia, which comes in with a surge of its own. The Indians (6-3, 4-2) have won four of their last five, with two wins being shutouts. According to Cartwright, they also employ a strong running game.
“I expect it to be a hard-hitting, physical football game on Friday,” Cartwright said.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.