steve.carter@gaflnews.com



SANDERSVILLE -- As the state Class AAA playoffs open tomorrow night, the Brentwood School War Eagles will be coming to Chula to take on the Tiftarea Academy Panthers as the number-three seed out of Region 4-AAA. However, two touchdowns is all that separates the War Eagles from hosting a first-round playoff game as the region champions.

The War Eagles lost to eventual region champion Pinewood Christian, 21-14, and last week lost on a last-second touchdown to John Milledge, 28-21. That second loss forced Brentwood to have to travel to Chula.

"We finished 7-3 overall and 2-2 in the region," Brentwood head coach Bert Brown said. "With a break or two, we could have won either of those region losses."

Besides being unlucky in those two games, the War Eagles have also been hit hard by the injury bug this season.

"We have had six or seven kids miss various amounts of time this season," Brown said. "We lost our two middle linebackers for the entire season in a game early this year. We have also lost our starting fullback."

Even with the injuries, halfback Jarad Hutchings has still had a big season. Playing in the Delaware wing-T, the senior (6-0, 170) has rushed for 1,284 yards this season.

"Jarad has tremendous speed. He has to be one of the fastest players in the state," Brown said. "He also sees the holes well and if he finds a crease he can make you pay."

"Our offense is designed to spread the wealth, as our fullbacks have also run for over 1,200 yards. But if Jarad were in an I-formation, he would have enough carries to have at least 1,700 or 1,800 yards."

One of the players joining in the Hutchings in the backfield got there in a roundabout way. After playing for his entire career along the offensive line, senior Rusty Haynes (6-2, 180) was moved to fullback due to the injuries Brentwood has suffered.

"He has done a tremendous job for us. He has been playing along the line since he was in middle school, but he is a very good athlete so that has helped him in his move," Brown said.

Giving the ball up to Hutchings and Haynes has been sophomore quarterback Jamie Dickey (5-10, 145).

"He didn't play football last season, but he has a come a long way since then," Brown said. "He has a difficult job and he has done it well."

Among the other leaders for Brentwood, according to the head coach are halfback A.J. Orr (5-10, 145) and nose guard Ben Avant (6-0, 200).

"A.J. played really well against John Milledge and Ben has played some outstanding ball in recent games. We really need both of them to continue that for us against Tiftarea," Brown said.

Game time will be 7:30 p.m. Friday in Chula.



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