CHULA — When Brookwood needed it, the Warriors’ defense rose to the occasion Friday night against Tiftarea Academy.

After dropping its GISA Region 3-AA opener Oct. 27 against Valwood, the Warriors needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and the Brookwood defense led the charge past the Panthers 35-14.

“One of our goals, we call that quick change — any turnover,” Brookwood coach Shane Boggs said. “We want to capitalize on every quick change that our defense creates and then when we turn it over, our defenses’ job is to get them off the field.

“We did a pretty good job with that in both cases.”

During the first half, Brookwood’s defensive unit controlled play — limiting big plays and creating its own, all while stuffing the Panthers’ Wing-T as it searched for quick change opportunities.

One of those came after Andrew Kicklighter busted down the right side for a 52-yard gain. Three plays later, Brookwood’s Thad Legette pounced on a loose ball to give the Warriors the ball back. Also, after that long run, Tiftarea was only able to muster 27 yards on its final 24 snaps of the first half. The Panthers also turned it over again when Ashton Thomas intercepted a Matthew Souter pass that led to Brookwood’s second score.

“Especially in the first half, we really ran to the ball well on defense,” Boggs said. “Even when they break one, we kind of limit the big plays by pursuit.”

The Panthers were able to get their rushing attack started in the second half, grinding out two long touchdown drives. However, by that time Brookwood was protecting a 21-point lead.

“The times they just hammered us and ran it inside, that was them just whipping us,” Boggs said.”There was some things, scheme-wise, where we should’ve made some adjustments and maybe ran an extra guy up to pitch, if we weren’t protecting a bigger lead. We just didn’t want to give up the home run. Those eight-yard plays weren’t really our enemy at that point.”

n SURGING WARRIORS: In the other region contest, South Georgia Academy upended Valwood 29-25. That puts the SGA Warriors into the region lead at 2-0 heading into Brookwood on Friday. The Valiants and Brookwood both sit at 1-1, while Tiftarea is 0-2.

In case of a three-way tie — for either first or second behind SGA — the tiebreaker for the region is a round-robin tournament Nov. 11. The three teams would meet and play according to college overtime rules to determine the playoff teams.

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