Bryan County came out focused and took care of business Friday night as it rolled to a 41-0 win over Savannah High to earn a much-coveted spot in the GHSA state Class A-D1 football playoffs.
The Homecoming win over a large, enthusiastic crowd put the Redskins in the playoffs for the first time since 2015 and moved them one win closer to their first winning season since 2013.
Bryan County (5-4, 1-2) will close out regular season play next Friday at Claxton (4-5, 1-2). A win will not only secure a winning season but it will give the Redskins a No. 3 seed going into the playoffs where they will face either Lamar (8-1) and Heard County (5-4) from Region 3. They play for that region championship this Friday. The loser will be a No. 2 seed.
“It feels good,” Bryan County senior defensive tackle Carter Tapley said. “We haven’t been there since 2015. We’ve put a lot of hard work and dedication into it.
“I’ve been here playing football for four years and this team really came together.”
The Redskins wasted no time in putting the winless Blue Jackets away and securing that coveted playoff berth as they scored on all six first half possessions and they did it in workmanlike fashion.
Sophomore Nicholas Marrero scored the first touchdown of the night as he bolted 30 yards to cap a five-play 63-yard drive that set the tone for the night. It ate up only 1:57 off the clock and that turned out to be the longest scoring drive of the night in both distance and time.
With six different players scoring the Redskins averaged 5.65 points per minute as they had the ball for only a fraction over seven minutes in the first half. The halftime score was 41-0 and Freeman played the reserves the second half.
“This was a great win for the school, great win for the program and a great win for the community,” Coach Cherard Freeman said. “Most of all I’m excited for our boys.
“This win got us a spot in the playoffs which is great. You’re never satisfied. It could have been a little bit better (season), but we’ll do what we can.”
Following the long drive off the opening kickoff Bryan County’s next five touchdowns required it to go 32, 46, 20, 20 and 20 yards against the winless Blue Jackets (0-10, 0-4) who were limited to 22 yards in the first half.
In addition to Marrero’s run off the right side the Redskins saw Konnor Leggett score on a 19-yard run, Naythan Lee and Jacari Carney followed with 5-yard scoring bursts while Erin Green added a 7-yard run and Sean Kelly Hill reached the end zone from 5 yards out.
The Redskins, perhaps remembering what it felt like to be on the losing side of a lopsided score, took the win in stride. They were listed as a 45-point favorite by Max Preps and could easily have met that had Freeman so inclined.
“The whole year the main part of it has been about getting better and having fun,” two-way lineman Tarrell Singleton said. “We’ve been staying after it in practice and this year we’ve gotten better in practice.
“This feels good,” Singleton said. “I definitely felt we could be a playoff team after the Portal game. The Treutlen County game, too.”