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Miller County ends Bryan County's season
Residents lined the streets in support of the team as the bus headed to Miller County. - photo by Mindy Boyete

 COLQUITT - The Bryan County Redskins had a 5 hour road trip to get to their first round state playoff game against Miller County from Region 1-A. They came away with a bitter 48-22 defeat.

The Redskins entered the contest with a 5-5 record against the Pirates, who were 6-4. The supportive Redskins fans who made the trip braved the cold Friday night chill in hopes of watching their boys bring home another road victory as they had all season, but they unfortunately saw thePirates shipwreck hopes of a victory.Miller County won the toss and elected to receive the ball, so Bryan County tried an onside kick to start the game, but the Pirates recovered and had the ball almost at midfield at their own 49-yard line.

With injured star running back Shawndre Sheffield returning after missing several weeks, Sheffield quickly reintroduced himself with several carries that produced first downs and the Pirates soon found themselves at the Bryan County 16-yard line.A holding penalty moved them back to the 26, where they then completed a 26-yard touchdown pass on the next play that put them up 7-0 after a successful extra-point kick.

Bryan County started its first offensive series from its 16 and quickly had a first down, but the drive stalled and ended with Miller County back on offense after a punt.It didn't take long for fans to realize that this was not going to be an easy task for Bryan County, as they watched the Pirates move the ball down to the Redskins’ 25, where Sheffield darted in for another quick score.

Another extra-point kick made the score 14-0 with 4:36 still showing on the clock. The next Redskins possession saw signs of the running game getting warmed up on this chilly night as four consecutive runs gave them a first down and with only five plays later, had produced two more first downs and had the ball down to the Pirates 37 yard-line when the first quarter ended.

Bryan County continued to have some success on the ground as they ground out another first down at the Miller 21. But the speedy, quick and aggressive play of the Miller County defense stuffed the Redskins’ ground game, which managed only -1 yards on the next three attempts as the Pirates’ three big down men forced a 4th down play that gained 0 yards and gave Miller’s offense the ball back at its own 25 with 8:45 left in the second quarter.

 "Speed kills, and they were physical and attacked aggressively and we have been telling our guys that all week,” Bryan County coach Ron Lewis said. "Miller didn't do anything we hadn't seen on film or heard about, we just couldn't match up with them and their speed".

The Pirates took the ball for the first time in the second quarter at their own 25 and the fast and shifty Sheffield romped 75-yards for the third Miller touchdown of the night and the extra point added to it made the score 21-0 .Bryan County continued to gain first down yardage on their next possession, but a fumble put the Redskins defense back on the field to try and stop more scoring from Miller. Bryan County recovered a Pirate fumble two plays later and had the ball back, but again turned the ball over on downs. Miller attempted a pass from the Bryan County 38 on their first play, but the pass was intercepted by Ivey Mutcherson at the Redskins’ 20-yard line with 1:27 left in the half.  Bryan County hoped to go into the half only down 21 points, but a mix up in a signal call on third down found Bryan County having to punt to Miller with nine seconds until halftime. That was enough for the Pirates to toss a 50-yard touchdown pass on the very next play and go into halftime up with a commanding 27-0 lead after the extra point was blocked by a stretched out Joe Jenkins.  Bryan County picked up their first score of the game in the third quarter, when quarterback D.J. McElroy faked a handoff on a bootleg play and turned and found nothing but the goal line ahead and raced into the endzone untouched. McElroy then ran in the 2-point conversion to pull Bryan County within 27-8 with 5:55 on the clock. Bryan County tried another onside kick, but the Pirates recovered it once again and started with the ball on their own 45. Sheffield raced for 55 yards for a touchdown on the Pirate’s first play and they converted the 2-point try for a 38-8 lead.

The Pirates added another touchdown in the third quarter at the 1:55 mark and the extra point was good and pushed the score to 42-8 going into the fourth quarter.

Bryan County continued to make some first downs and was able to put up two more touchdowns. Justin Bostick ran one in from the 10 and Lucas Taylor ran in a 2-point conversion, then  a 14-yard pass from McElroy to Winston Johnson with 3:43 left in the game pulled the Redskins to 42-22 . The Pirates last score came on a quarterback keeper up the middle from 13 yards out for six points with 1:45 left in the contest.After the game a dejected Ivey Mutcherson summed up the Redskins' performance, "We just didn't come out ready to play,” he said. “The entire team came out not really knowing what was ahead of us. We just weren't prepared for what we faced.”Bryan County finished the season 5-6 after earning a state playoff berth for the second straight year. 

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