PEMBROKE, GA -- With a 14-12 win at Screven County the previous week the Bryan County Redskins (2-4, 1-2 Region 3A Public) had earned the right to feel good about themselves.
It was their first win against a region opponent since 2016 and hopes for back-to-back victories for the first team since 2015 were running high going into last Friday night’s Region 3A Public game with winless Claxton.
Unfortunately, what Coach Cherard Freeman had said was a must win game if the Redskins were to entertain any state playoff hopes were dashed as the Tigers coasted to a 27-0 win.
“Our defense played well,” Freeman said. “Our offense lost focus.”
Freeman’s assessment came after he watched his team manage only one first down, that coming on the first play of the second half when sophomore Austin Clemens reeled off a 12-yard run.
Four plays later, the drive fizzled when junior running back Konnor Leggett was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-three play.
Its next possession illustrated what kind of night it was for Bryan County when, following a missed Claxton field goal attempt, Naythan Lee ripped off a 16-yard run on first down only to see it nullified by a penalty.
Claxton drove 76 yards on its opening possession and it was 7-0 when what came one of the pivotal plays of the game.
Facing a fourth-and-one at the Claxton 47 near the end of the first quarter, Freeman elected to go for it only to see Clemens stuffed for a 3-yard loss.
The Tigers then scored on six plays and followed up with a touchdown on their next possession before adding a field goal for a 24-0 halftime lead.
“I’m not making any excuses,” Freeman said. “We’re a young team learning to put two good weeks together. It looked like we forgot what we were supposed to do. I can’t put my hand on it right now.”
The Redskins were coming off a stretch of four straight road games and will have this week off before playing Jenkins County (2-3, 2-1 Region 3A Public) in a homecoming game.
Bryan County’s offense was stymied throughout the game as it managed only 37 yards.
Clemens had 38 yards on eight rushes and Leggett added 17.
Starting quarterback Sean Kelly Hill and freshman backup, Trevor Lanier, were a minus 23 yards rushing combined.
Lanier completed one of five passes for five yards and was intercepted once.
“We’ve got to regroup and work on fundamentals” Freeman said of the bye week. “We’ve got to try and keep getting better.”