If special teams determine the outcome of tonight’s first-round playoff game, Brunswick High’s football team will be at a disadvantage.
That’s because the Northside-Warner Robins Eagles (7-3) have a junior kicker, Cory Munson, who has booted 16 of 22 field goals through the uprights this season, including one 59 yards long and another longer than 50 yards.
Other that having a kicker that has one of the strongest legs in the state, the teams strengths are on opposing sides of the ball for tonight’s Class 6A playoff game, said Brunswick head football coach Sean Pender.
“It’s going to be two different philosophies,” he said. “They’re a run-first, ball-control type of a team.”
Both teams enter the first round ranked in the top 10 with Northside ranked tied for fourth while the Pirates are ranked seventh.
Brunswick (7-2) is coming off a three-game winning streak, scoring 49, 56 and 68 points in those wins. The Pirates will rely on an aerial attack led by quarterback Jamarius Stevens to test a strong Northside defense.
“The odds are not in our favor,” Pender said. “Our philosophy is to get into the end zone as fast as possible. We better be able to throw it because they are very good at stopping the run.”
Saturday’s 7 p.m. kickoff at Glynn County Stadium is a day later other teams that have competed in the Georgia football playoffs because the school shares the playing field with Glynn Academy, the No. 1 seed, who hosted a game Friday night.
Pender said the Saturday night game is not a disadvantage because his players have already played two Saturday games and a Thursday game this season.
The team practiced well this week, and Pender said his players are ready both mentally and physically for tonight’s matchup.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been lately,” he said. “They’re focused, relaxed and excited —all the good things.”
A good fan turnout could help give the Pirates a home-field advantage that could make a difference in the outcome. Pender said he hopes for a large, noisy crowd, but he also realizes many football fans reserve Friday night for high school football and Saturday for the college games.
“People are creatures of habit,” he said. “Saturday is reserved for college.”
Pender said fans should expect a competitive game where the strengths and weaknesses of both teams are tested.
“It’s definitely going to be a good matchup,” he said. “It’s going to be a tight ball game. It’s going to be a battle.”