Time to make room for another title
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Although there is one more game left to be played, I would recommend that room in the Brantley High trophy case be made for a nice big BLUE trophy that signifies the Bulldogs as kings of Class 1A again.
Just to survive the treacherous southern bracket of the 1A playoffs, Brantley deserves a big pat on the back.
There is no doubt that the south bracket was loaded with great teams and the Bulldogs had to battle their way through in order to reach their final destination the upcoming Friday in Birmingham's Legion Field.
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The road to Birmingham began with relative ease against an up and coming J.U. Blacksher team in the opening round. But that's where the so-called easy games ran out for David Lowery and his team.
Up next came one of the top offenses in the state and defending Class 1A champion to Bulldog Stadium.
Sweet Water had knocked Brantley out of the playoffs last year and was coming into that game averaging just shy of 52 points a game.
Sweet Water came in with two backs that had eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark and another was just a few yards short of joining the 1,000-yard club.
By the night's end those three backs couldn't reach 100 yards collectively, and Brantley was headed for a quarterfinal matchup with an athletic Loachapoka team.
This marked the first time that the Bulldogs had hit the road in the playoffs so far, so there were some concerns that maybe Brantley would not do as well on the road.
The Bulldogs' offense did sputter, but the defense more than made up for the offense's lack of production to send another formidable foe packing. Brantley won the game, 27-0.
Then came the game of all games. Coaches from across the state made plans to be in Brantley this past Friday night because it was going to be the battle of Chris Smelley and his offense against coach David Lowery's stingy Bulldog defense.
Smelley nor Brantley's defense disappointed anyone. Despite Smelley completing 30-of-58 pass attempts for 574 yards and three touchdowns, the Bulldogs came away with another victory.
Another Goliath gone.
Four down, one more to go.
While Lowery mentioned a few weeks ago that the win over Luverne was a springboard for his team into the playoffs, there was one game that set the tone for the season.
It was an 18-16 season-opening loss to Class 2A Elba that got the ball rolling for Brantley.
The Bulldogs had a chance to win that game, they missed a field goal late. A 25-game regular-season game winning streak had ended, and the giants of Class 1A weren't looking to big and mighty.
“That game woke us up,” Booker said after Friday's 43-31 semifinal victory over American Christian. “It took that loss to wake us up and work even harder to become a better football team. There is no doubt now, that our team is something special.”
So special that Brantley should be adding another state championship trophy to the 1993 and 1998 titles that rest inside its trophy case now.
Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. Call him at (334) 382-3111 ext. 122 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.