When the wake-up call comes there’s no hitting the snooze button. How you handle it tells you a lot about your character.
Bryan County (4-1) got a wake-up call last Friday night at Telfair County where it suffered its first loss of the season in dropping a 16-7 decision to unbeaten Telfair County (5-0).
Playing on the road for the fourth time in five outings the Redskins could not hold off the Trojans who got a touchdown and field goal in the fourth quarter to snap a 7-7 deadlock.
This week Bryan County, looking for back-to- back winning seasons for the first time in school history, gets a character test when it meets a winless Montgomery County (0-5) team at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Redskins Stadium. It will be Homecoming.
The loss at Telfair wasn’t a matter of getting blown out of the water but the non-region loss still stung. It was not only the Redskins’ first loss but it also knocked them out of the statewide rankings. They entered the game ranked No. 10 in the state in Class A-DI which was a school first.
Despite the disappointing loss Coach Cherard Freeman said he was pleased with his team’s overall play and he is expecting it to bounce back in a big way against the Eagles.
“We just got beat,” Freeman said. “Telfair played good football. We can’t take anything away from them.
“I thought we played good football, too,” Freeman said. “It was a really good high school football game. It was 7-7 going into the fourth quarter.
“Our defense played good, the offense played good. We just made some mistakes that hurt us and we got caught with some penalties that hurt us.”
Austin “Smush” Clemons continued his assault on the Bryan County record book as he had another big night running the football.
Clemons, who is continuing to attract the attention of recruiters with offers already from Middle Tennessee State and Stetson, gained 184 yards to push his season total to 845 on 109 carries. He leads all Class A-D1 running backs and ranked 13th in the state in all classes going into the game.
Not only did he enjoy another sterling offensive night but defensively Clemons had 10 tackles, one for a loss, and blocked a field goal attempt. Clemons now has 10 touchdowns.
Pre-season all-state defensive back Tanner Ennis continued his outstanding play on defense as he had 17 tackles, three for a loss, and one sack. Ennis now has a team leading 62 tackles, six more than Clemons. Luke Holcombe has 34 tackles, Chris Winfree 31 and Sean Kelly Hill 28. “Playing on the road four out of five games has affected us a little bit,” Freeman said, “but I feel like our team was up to the challenge. We’ve known since spring what it was going to be. We were ready for it.”
The Redskins open region play next week-and it’ll be another road game—against Metter in a game that will give the winner a big leg up in the region race.
The task this week for Freeman and his staff will be to keep his team focused on the Eagles who they beat 28-7 last year rather than looking ahead to the Tigers. Montgomery County has struggled this season having scored only 77 points while giving up 204.
Freeman said he does not think being mentally prepared will be as big of a problem as it could be what with the team having a heavy dose of veteran senior leadership.
The teams have two common opponents: Bryan County beat Treutlen County, 51-7, and lost to Telfair. The Eagles lost to Treutlen, 35-7, and to Telfair, 45-7.
“Coming home this week is going to be big for us,” Clemons said. “Playing in front of a home crowd on Homecoming is going to be nice.
“It’s a chance to be 5-1. It’s not a chance to be 6-0 but it’s still good,” Freeman said. “We’re going to refocus and work on fundamentals this week. We can’t take anyone for granted.”