By Kevin Price
For GCS Athletics
The Brunswick High Pirates closed out their regular season Friday night with a 21-13 victory over Bradwell Institute at Glynn County Stadium.
The Pirates celebrated the careers of their senior players prior to the game and sent them out with a memorable victory that gave the Pirates a 5-5 overall record and a 2-2 mark in Region 2-AAAAAA.
“I’m proud for the seniors. Getting this win means a lot to them,” said Brunswick coach Sean Pender.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played, but we made plays when we needed to make them and pulled it out.”
Brunswick led just 7-6 at halftime, but the Pirates went up two scores with back-to-back touchdown drives late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
The first TD drive was 79 yards in 12 plays with sophomore running back Ree Simmons crossing the goal line from 5 yards out on a direct snap.
The possession, which lasted a little more than four minutes and ended with just 46 seconds left in the third quarter, was also the only one for the Pirates in the period after Bradwell’s first series after halftime took up most of the quarter but stalled out without any points.
Brunswick’s second possession of the half started just moments into the fourth quarter following a punt by the Tigers. The Pirates got the ball at the Bradwell 48-yard line and needed only five plays to find the end zone again with Simmons again scoring from 4 yards on another direct snap.
On the previous play, senior quarterback Anthony Mountain hooked up with receiver Xavier Bean for a 23-yard pass play that gave the Pirates the ball first-and-goal inside the Bradwell 5.
The Tigers did answer this BHS score with a 10-play, 78-yard drive for a touchdown to pull within 21-13 following the extra point. The TD came on a 1-yard run by Kaimani Gordon with 6:34 left in the game.
Brunswick’s next drive would take the clock down to 2:25 before the Pirates had to punt from the Bradwell 47. The Tigers got the ball one last time from their own 13 with just over two minutes to go. They marched inside BHS territory, but time expired before the Tigers could really mount a serious scoring threat.
“Like the offense, the defense made plays when it needed to,” Pender said.
One of those plays was an interception in the BHS end zone by senior safety Devin Lafayettee in the closing seconds of the first half which preserved Brunswick’s 7-6 lead at halftime.
The Pirates scored on the game’s opening drive as they motored 80 yards in 10 plays and scored on a 15-yard shovel pass from Mountain to Chuckobe Hill. Kyle Rehberg’s extra-point kick made it 7-0 just over four minutes into the game.
Bradwell scored midway through the second quarter on a 2-yard run by quarterback Dariuse Cooper that finished off a 63-yard drive. Lafayette blocked the extra-point try to keep the score 7-6.
For the night, Bradwell actually outgained Brunswick 370-311.
Gordon, a physical runner, carried 23 times for 140 yards while Cooper ran for 89 yards on 19 attempts.
Cooper passed for 106 yards, going 6-for-13 through the air.
Brunswick had 168 yards rushing and 143 passing. Hill ran for 88 yards on 19 carries while Simmons added 64 yards on 13 carries.
Mountain was 11-of-16 passing on the night with a touchdown. Hill caught four passes for 50 yards including the shovel pass for the score.
“We were having pretty good success in the run game, so we stayed with it and used the pass when we needed to,” Pender said.
The Pirates are off next week as the regular season closes in the state. They will begin play in the Class AAAAAA state playoffs the following week.