By Kevin Price
For GCS Athletics
The Brunswick High Pirates got back on the winning track Friday night with a 28-12 victory over Bradwell Institute at Olvey Field in Hinesville.
The Region 2-AAAAAA win kept the Pirates tied for first in the league standings with Richmond Hill and Glynn Academy going into the final week of the regular season.
Brunswick (6-3 overall, 4-1 region) will close out the season slate with a home game next Friday against Effingham. Richmond Hill finished its regular-season schedule Friday with a runway win over South Effingham. Glynn was off on Friday and goes to Statesboro next Friday for its final regular-season game.
If both Brunswick and Glynn win next week, they would share the league title with Richmond Hill, but the Red Terrors would be the top seed from the region for the state playoffs through the next tiebreaker that will be used since all three teams defeated each other during region play.
That tiebreaker is points allowed in the games involving the teams in the tie, and Glynn allowed the fewest points in their games against BHS and Richmond Hill than the other two did against Glynn and the other one.
If the Pirates were to win next week and the Terrors were to lose, Richmond Hill would win the region title outright and claim the top seed. Brunswick and Glynn would tie for second with two losses each, but the Pirates defeated the Terrors head-to-head so they would be the No. 2 seed for the playoffs.
Statesboro qualified for the region’s fourth playoff spot with its win Friday over Effingham.
Friday’s loss to the Pirates means Bradwell remains without a victory in 2020. The Tigers, who started late due to Covid-19 concerns within their school system, fell to 0-6-1 overall and 0-5 in the region. They are set to face South Effingham next Friday at home. The Mustangs (0-9), who fell 55-7 Friday at Richmond Hill, are also winless on the season.
Brunswick never trailed in Friday’s game, but the Pirates didn’t exactly blow out the Tigers who were behind only 7-6 after the first quarter and 14-6 at halftime.
The Pirates scored on the game’s opening possession when senior quarterback KJ Lee hit senior wideout Tyrease Jones for a 60-yard scoring bomb on third-and-21 as the Pirates found themselves behind the chains after their first two plays. Kyle Rehberg added the extra-point kick for a quick 7-0 lead.
Bradwell answered immediately with an 80-yard scoring drive after getting a 50-yard gain on a running play on its first offensive snap. The Tigers went for two points after their touchdown, but the conversion attempt failed.
The score remained 7-6 until the final moments of the second quarter when the Pirates put the ball in the end zone on a 4-yard pass from Lee to Jones who had just hooked up on a long pass to get the ball deep into Bradwell territory. The touchdown pass was the sixth play of the possession. Rehberg again added the PAT to make for the 14-6 score at intermission.
The second half opened with Brunswick forcing the Tigers to punt on the first possession of the third period. With good field position, the Pirates needed just five plays to find Bradwell’s end zone with Ree Simmons powering through the defensive front for a 2-yard scoring run to finish off the quick TD march.
The Pirates kept the drive alive by converting on fourth-and-6 from the Bradwell 37-yard line. Lee found senior receiver Xavier Been for a 35-yard pass completion to the Bradwell 2 to set up the Pirates first-and-goal. Following the play, both teams were called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties which were offsetting and thus the ball remained 2 yards away from the goal stripe.
Rehberg connected again on the point-after to make it 21-6 less than three minutes into the third quarter.
Brunswick scored its fourth touchdown of the night early in the final quarter on a 27-yard pass from Lee to sophomore receiver Kevin Thomas. to cap a six-play, 74-yard scoring drive. The TD grab was the first for Thomas in what could be a promising high-school career for the young receiver. Rehberg added his fourth PAT to move the score to 28-6.
The Tigers would add a late touchdown that made for the final tally on the scoreboard.
With his three touchdown passes, Lee now has 16 for the season. Jones now has 11 touchdown grabs for the season after catching two in Friday’s victory.
The rushing touchdown by Simmons after halftime was his ninth of the season.
The Pirates defeated Bradwell 21-13 last fall in Brunswick. They lost to the Tigers the last two times they played them at Olvey Field in 2016 and 2018.
Brunswick evened the all-time series with the Tigers at 11-11 with Friday’s win.
Also on Friday morning, Bradwell learned of the passing of its longtime former football coach Clifford Johnson.