Berkmar at Brookwood preview

Brookwood’s Joe Kelly

Brookwood’s Joe Kelly

Berkmar Patriots (8-AAAAAA)

Coach: Jonathan Sanks

Record: 3-4, 1-4 region

Last week: Lost to Archer 37-7

Brookwood Broncos (8-AAAAAA)

Coach: Mark Crews

Record: 3-4, 3-2 region

Last week: Beat Central Gwinnett 23-14

Mark Crews had never been 0-3 before and the Brookwood head coach admits he wasn’t sure how to approach his team’s early-season struggles.

“It’s a heck of a lot easier to coach kids that are 3-0, 4-0 than it is to keep people focused when you start out 0-3,” Crews said. “It’s a credit to them that they have pride in their program and pride in their team. These kids continued to work hard and fight hard and continued to get a chance to claw their way back.”

At 3-2 in wild Region 8-AAAAAA, Brookwood is not only back in the playoff chase, the Broncos still hold hopes for a home playoff game and a No. 2 seed.

“Hopefully they are gelling and coming together at the right time,” Crews said. “Four weeks ago I don’t think anyone was talking about playoffs.”

Winning the final three games starts with Berkmar. The scrappy Patriots team may only have one region win, but the defense proves a challenge every week.

“They’ve really got good looking people,” Crews said of Berkmar’s defense. “They are not as efficient as they want to be on offense, but their defense keeps them in the game.”

For Brookwood that means running back Jesse Brown running behind an improving offensive line. Senior Joe Kelly is finally completely healthy and his return has helped mesh an offensive line that struggled in the Broncos’ rough start.

Last meeting: Brookwood won 41-27 last year.

Directions to Brookwood High School: From I-85, go east on Pleasant Hill Road and merge onto Ronald Reagan Parkway. Use the Five Forks-Trickum Road exit. Turn right and the next left on Dogwood Road. School is on the right.