times. “We’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts, and it really depends on what formation we’re in. If we can get those guys to gel, then Dylan (Reese) should be able to find a hole to run through,” said Fleming. The Bucs will have good size at one tackle this year with Travis Pate, 6’3” and 225 pounds. “If I had to give a hardest worker award for the off season, it would go to Travis Pate,” said Fleming. “He’s improved tremendously in the weight room and it’s starting to show outside.” Braxton Taylor will line up at tight end for the Bucs this year, and the offense will bring a new look to the table some this season. “We’re looking to go to more of a four receiver set to try to get people spread out, and Braxton’s going to be a big target outside for us,” the coach explained. Fleming said his receivers will include Will Johnson, Porter Brooks, Jesse Cushman and Connor Corbitt.
THURSDAY • August 18, 2016
Tyler Johnson returns at quarterback and will split time with Zach Stadler. Fleming anticipates Jesse Cushman will also see some action at quarterback. “We did seven-on-sevens, I think 10 of them this summer, to improve our passing game,” Fleming said. The Bucs took on a variety of schools, including some much larger public schools including Grovetown and Lakeside. “I was impressed with how we did this summer. Hopefully that will translate into this season,” Fleming said. “We also are going to incorporate our receivers into the running game, which we have not done in the past.” Fleming said his offense will force the opponent’s defense to spread out, and receivers may even be used as the pitch man when the Bucs run the option. In the backfield, Dylan Reese, Jesse Cushman and Ches McMichael will be called on to carry the ball this year. “I feel like Dylan can tote it 20 times a game and have no issues and fill right
in his brother’s footsteps,” said Fleming. Chase Darley will kick for the Bucs this year. The defense returns nine starters from last year, after graduating Mason Kent from the line and Jeb Blount from the secondary. Fleming expects Connor Corbitt to fill the void of Blount’s graduation and this year sees Will Johnson returning to the secondary but moving to strong safety. “Defensively we’ve got two very good ends —Braxton Taylor and Hunter Callaway,” said Fleming. Zach Stadler and Dylan Reese return to start at linebackers this year. “Our defense I know will hit and will get after it,” the coach said. Fleming said if his squad stays healthy, then the Bucs will have just as much depth as they had last year when they finished the year 9-3 and advanced into the state playoffs. Briarwood opens the regular season with two road games, beginning Aug.
19 with a trip to Westminster of Augusta. “We expect to go down and take care of business,” Fleming said. Next will be the trip to Waynesboro to face Edmond Burke Academy to see which team takes home the Backyard Battle Trophy, which is sponsored by Jefferson Energy Co-Op and Planters EMC. The home opener is Sept. 2 as the Bucs host Piedmont, a team that defeated Briarwood 53-18 last year. Fleming and the Bucs are eager to avenge that loss. But a non-region opponent is expected to be one of the big challenges of the season. “We feel like our toughest regular season game probably will be John Milledge. They are a very good AAA school,” said Fleming. “As far as our region, TJ (Thomas Jefferson Academy) and Brentwood are the two to beat.” Fleming said his Bucs should be the favorite to win Region 2AA.