Bradwell Institute’s playoff drought continues for another year.
Greenbrier’s winless drought is over.
Keegan Moran drilled a 43-yard field goal as time expired, and the Wolfpack denied the homestanding Tigers a shot at the Class AAAAA playoffs with a 32-29 win Friday night at Olvey Field.
It also ended the Wolfpack’s 21-game losing streak that reached back to their eighth game of the season in 2021, a 56-0 win over Johnson-Gainesville.
“It means everything,” Wolfpack coach Tony Kramer said of the win. “Over the last couple of years, you keep telling the kids to keep fighting, keep doing what they’ve got to do and good things will happen. To win a ball game like that is unbelievable.”
Bradwell tied the game at 29-29 when Zay Thomas took a Christopher Garrett pass 27 yards for a touchdown with 3:11 to go. The Tigers, who finished the season 3-7 overall and 1-4 in Region 1-AAAAA, twice trailed by two touchdowns in the game yet rallied to take the lead or tie the game each time.
But the Wolfpack went 40 yards in eight plays, converting a third down and a fourth down along the way, to set up Moran’s winning kick.
“You play till the end of the game,” Kramer said. “If we can get down there and get close enough, he’s got a strong leg. He stepped up in a pressure moment and I can’t say enough about Keegan Moran.”
Greenbrier led 14-0 before Zay Thomas caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Garrett with 2:06 left in the first half, capping an 18-play drive that consumed 6:40 off the clock.
The Tigers grabbed their first and only lead as Garrett connected with Bryant Thomas on a 16-yard scoring strike to open the second half. Carlito Savea took the low snap and darted for the pylon, giving the Tigers a two-point conversion and the lead.
But Cole Trupp, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound tight end, ran for three touchdowns, and his 4-yard run with 11:32 left in the game put the Wolfpack in front 29-15. Trupp finished with 148 yards rushing.
The Tigers answered right back on Garrett’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Thomas, who made a leaping catch to end a drive that lasted 1:18.
“Bradwell’s got a really good team,” Kramer said. “You saw how they moved the ball up and down the field. We just had one more play than they did tonight. We’ve been on the other end of it. I know how it feels on their side. It was nice for us to have one more play than the other team.”
Bradwell turned the ball over twice, both times in the first half and both leading to Greenbrier scores, and the Tigers were assessed 22 accepted penalties.
A Tiger fumble at the Wolfpack 42 led to Trupp’s first touchdown, a 50-yard burst on third down. Greenbrier also got an interception after a Garrett pass deflected off a shoulder pad. That led to Jayden Hill’s 15-yard touchdown run with 1:52 left in the first half.
The Tigers ended a 30-game slide in the final game of the 2022 season, a win over the Wolfpack.
Kramer exhorted his team to start a new streak in the postgame huddle.
“These seniors that are going out, this is something that hasn’t happened in a while,” he said.
After a dramatic 28-25 win over longtime rival Statesboro, the Tigers were poised to claim a playoff spot, their first in five years. But a 41-33 loss to Jenkins, coupled with the season-ending defeat to Greenbrier, ended those hopes.
Statesboro beat Jenkins 35-0 in its regular season finale to claim the region’s No. 3 spot. Statesboro will play Tucker and Jenkins will play Arabia Mountain. Coffee, the region champ, will host Chamblee and Ware County will host Decatur in the first round.
Bradwell’s offense set records for passing in a season and in a game this year but the Tigers also allowed 382 points. They yielded more than 40 points in a game six times during the 2023 season.
Garrett, who set a single-game mark for passing yards earlier in the season, finished with 219 yards passing against Greenbrier, going 23-of-34 with one interception. Wade Cobb ran 17 times for 100 yards, and finished with 636 rushing yards on the season.
Junior receiver Tyon Jones had 943 yards and seven touchdowns, leading the team in both categories, on 44 receptions. Bryant Thomas tied Jones with seven touchdown catches and led the team in receptions with 45, ending up with 694 yards. Zay Thomas completed his final Bradwell season with 409 yards and four TDs on 32 receptions.
The Tigers also will graduate receivers Bryant Thomas and Zay Thomas, and also will lose center Elyjah Thurmon, the reigning Region 1-AAAAA basketball player of the year who is one of the state’s top uncommitted offensive line prospects. The offensive line also will lose Antonio Walthour and Noah Quarles.