Football coaches will tell you there’s nothing they hate worse after a loss than an open date. They prefer to get right back on the field rather than let a wound fester for an extra week.
Don’t include Bryan County coach Cherard Freeman among that number. Not this week at least.
Coming off a 19-0 loss last Friday at unbeaten Screven County the Redskins will be idle this week. They will use the break to heal up and get well before hosting Savannah High School on Oct. 28 in what will now be their biggest game of the year.
A victory over the winless Blue Jackets in the Region 3A-D1 game would guarantee Bryan County a spot in the GHSA Class A state playoffs going into the season finale at Claxton. It would be the Redskins’ first playoff appearance since 2015.
“We need the week off,” Freeman said. “We’re a banged-up football team. We’re not going to practice Monday or Tuesday. We just need to rest and heal.”
Heading into its bye week the Redskins (4-4, 0-2) trail Metter (5-3, 2-0), Screven (6-0, 1-0) and Claxton (4-3, 1-0) in the standings and are tied with the Blue Jackets (0-8, 0-2) for the fourth and final playoff berth.
Savannah High, which dropped down from Class AAA this season, has lost 14 straight games dating back to last year and will play at Metter this Friday.
The month of October has been a cruel month for the Redskins which has seen them beset with injuries—the most prominent being the loss of running back/middle linebacker Austin Clemons for the season with a knee injury—and the flu bug.
“We were without two of our best offensive linemen at Screven,” Freeman said. “Jet Lewis was out and John Good played but he didn’t play much. He had the flu really bad.”
The loss of Lewis, who plays center, was especially telling as he is the quarterback of the offensive line and was coming off arguably his best game of the season the week before against Metter.
“Jet is a big part of what we do,” said Freeman of the run-heavy Redskins. “We really missed him. He’s the one that makes the calls for the line. He says what we’re going to do. He’s been playing really well for us.”
Carter Tapley, who has been having an excellent season at defensive tackle, moved to center and Freeman said for someone who had never played the position, or on the offensive line for that matter, he did a good job filling in.
“He had a lot to learn in a week,” Freeman said. “Carter did a good job for us
“We had some opportunities but we couldn’t take advantage of them.”
Going into the Screven County game stats posted on Max Preps showed the Redskins running the football 89 percent of the time and that didn’t change any.
Bryan County pierced the Gamecocks defense for 148 yards, 137 on the ground, and made four trips to the red zone but could not score.
That was not surprising as the Gamecocks have allowed only 35 points all season, an average of 5.8 per game which is second best in the state among Class A-D1 teams. Swainsboro is giving up only 2.71per game.
“We just couldn’t punch it in,” Freeman said. “I thought overall we played well, especially in the second half. They got all of their points in the first half and two of their touchdowns came on fourth-down plays.”
Jacari Carney had the Redskins’ biggest play of the night when he reeled off a 35-yard run and Anddreas McKinny had a 28-yard dash to the Gamecocks five-yard line where the drive stalled.
Junior wide receiver Ethan Trombley caught Trevor Lanier’s lone completion of the game for 11 yards. It was Trombley’s –he missed all of last year with a knee injury—third catch of the year which enabled him to tie Kris Martin for the team lead.
“We can’t take it for granted,” Freeman said of the game with Savannah. “We played hard all four quarters against Screven and we’re going to have to do the same thing against Savannah.”