SNELLVILLE - Michael Tamburo is not your typical pocket passer. The North Gwinnett quarterback has the savvy ability to make defenders miss when he scrambles.
He used both his running and passing skills on Friday night in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.
Tamburo passed for 185 yards, rushed for 66 and even caught a pass in the fifth-ranked Bulldogs' 17-3 victory over No. 8 Brookwood.
The win puts North Gwinnett (11-1) in the quarterfinals of the playoffs for the second year, setting up a road trip to Newnan next week.
"He gives us so many options with what he can do," North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire said. "We probably ran three different offenses tonight throughout the game and we're able to do that because of him."
Tamburo completed passes to six different receivers and was 21 of 30 with two touchdowns passes to Jaison Yoshimura. Tyler Jarry was Tamburo's main target with nine receptions for 99 yards. The junior running back also had 63 yards rushing.
"I thought we passed the ball really well all night," Jarry said. "It was an exciting win. I give the credit to the offensive line and to Mikey."
Yoshimura added five catches for 52 yards and Cordero Dixon and Kenny Barnes had three receptions each.
"My receivers caught everything I threw at them," Tamburo said. "Jaison came up huge and he caught everything I threw at him."
While Tamburo led the offense, the defense did what it needed to do by stopping Kenny Miles and the Brookwood offense.
Miles, a South Carolina commitment, finished with a season-low 157 yards on 23 carries and was held out of the end zone for the first time all year. Miles' 157 yards ends an impressive senior season. The first-year starter rushed for 2,540 yards this year, which is good for third-best in county history.
"The defense played great," Tamburo said. "Shutting down Kenny Miles like they did is impressive."
It's the third time in two years that North Gwinnett has beaten Brookwood (9-3). The Broncos' three points are their fewest since North defeated them last year 10-3.
"Obviously they've got a good football team," Brookwood head coach Mark Crew said. "We made a lot of mistakes at critical times and when you do that, your team tends to lose confidence a little bit. Then (North's players) start playing harder and it kind of snowballs."
North took its opening drive and marched 74 yards to the Brookwood six. Tamburo completed five passes on the drive. The junior then ran to his right on third down and fumbled at the one. Clint Hannah recovered at the six and the Bulldogs had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Kyle Micek.
North went up 10-0 in the second quarter on a six-yard pass from Tamburo to Yoshimura. It was another long drive for the Bulldogs that totaled 81 yards on 12 plays. Tamburo also caught a four-yard pass on the drive from backup quarterback Patrick Thompson.
Miles and the Brookwood offense were finally able to get things going on the ensuing possession. Miles ripped of runs of 20, 18 and 23 to get Brookwood to the North 10. The drive stalled there and Zach Simmons kicked a 29-yard field goal to put the Broncos on the board at 10-3 with 5:23 left in the half.
The drive put some life into Brookwood as Jarrett Mackey's sack on third down forced a Kyle Micek punt. Josh Jackson returned the kick 25 yards to midfield. Quarterback Terence Davis kept the ball on a fake handoff and ran 23 yards, but Brookwood was called for holding.
Brookwood was able to get to the 34-yard line with less than a second in the half. Simmons attempted a 50-yard field, but Marquese Quiles came off the right side to block the kick. It was Quiles' fourth blocked kick against the Broncos after having three in the Week 2 meeting that North won 22-21.
"The bottom line is you can't win a game against a good football team and make that many mistakes," Crews said.
North took its first possession of the second half and put together another long scoring drive. Of the 10 plays on the drive, Tamburo accounted for all 61 of the Bulldogs' yards either running or passing. He finished off the series with a three-yard score to Yoshimura on fourth down to put North ahead 17-3 with 5:31 left in the third quarter.
"We really had a tough time stopping them and their quarterback," Crews said. "He's a really good player."
Brookwood never threatened to score again until early in the fourth quarter. The Broncos went 68 yards to the North 12. Robert Pritchard (five tackles) had two tackles for losses and then Davis was intercepted by Jim Moreland (seven tackles) to end the scoring threat. Eric Eberhardt added six tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss for North.
Chris Martin led the Brookwood defense with 14 tackles and Eric Tatum had 10 stops.
NORTH GWINNETT 17
Brookwood 0 3 0 0 - 3
North Gwinnett 3 7 7 0 - 17
-North Gwinnett: Kyle Micek 23 FG, 9:13
-North Gwinnett: Jaison Yoshimura 6 pass from Michael Tamburo (Micek kick) 9:34
-Brookwood: Zach Simmons 29 FG, 5:23
-North Gwinnett: Yoshimura 3 pass from Tamburo (Micek kick) 5:31
RUSHING -North Gwinnett: Michael Tamburo 12-66; Tyler Jarry 12-63; Xavier Pittman 6-23. Brookwood: Kenny Miles 23-157; Brice Smith 1-3; Terence Davis 7-0.
PASSING -North Gwinnett: Tamburo 21-30-0, 185; Patrick Thompson 2-3-0, 22. Brookwood: Davis 4-9-1, 36; Smith 0-1-0, 0.
RECEIVING -North Gwinnett: Jarry 9-99; Jaison Yoshimura 6-52; Cordero Dixon 3-25; Kenny Barnes 3-27; Tamburo 1-4; Pittman 1-0. Brookwood: Joshua Jackson 2-33; Travis Billings 1-6; Miles 1-(-3).