Friday, November 9, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
At 6-4, 320 pounds, Boyd Buchanan senior and Mr. Football 2A lineman nominee Malik Brewer is multi-talented, but real good at two things.
Devouring plates of spaghetti as well as opposing running backs.
“Spaghetti is my favorite food and I can put away more than one plate at a sitting,” said Brewer with a smile as he put the finishing touches on a Boyd-Buchanan playoff tradition of a steak and baked potato Thursday night dinner in the school cafeteria.
The 10-1 Bucs are on the road tonight for a second round playoff game at Oneida (9-1) and head coach Grant Reynolds will make sure Brewer is on the bus this afternoon with the rest of his teammates.
Last week, Boyd-Buchanan defeated Rockwood, 27-19, while Oneida, which has won nine straight since a season-opening loss to Greenback, received a first round bye. The Bucs are 2-0 with Oneida in playoff games, winning in 1998 and 1999.
“Malik is the anchor of our defensive front four and has been a key factor in our success this season,” said Reynolds whose teams are 9-4 in playoff games (three of the losses were to eventual state champions) since the Thursday night steak and baked potato tradition started four years ago.
“Our booster club does a great job for the team and we started this team playoff meal in 2008 and it has been pretty successful for us.”
Playoff Numbers: In the first seven seasons under coach Reynolds, the Bucs were 3-3 in playoff games, 2005-07 (pre-steak and baked potato dinner) and now 9-4 in the “steak and baked potato era” (2008-2011) ... Overall, the Bucs have made the playoffs 16 of the past 17 years with a 33-13 record, one state championship (2003) and three state runner-up finishes (2002-04-09).
Brewer – who also plays the drums in the school pep band and for his church (Olivet Baptist) – and company will have their hands full on defense as the Oneida offense has reached the 40-point mark five times this season, including 50 or more points, twice.
But the Bucs talented front four is battle-tested as the senior trio of Austin Bailey, Grant Mathis and Brewer and sophomore Calvin Conn have helped lead the Bucs to three shutouts and held six other opponents to under 20 points.
“I enjoy playing both ways (defensive tackle and offensive guard), but I prefer defense since I enjoy giving the hits,” said Brewer whose stats include 65 tackles, two quarterback sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and three fumble recoveries.
“I believe I have pretty good quickness for a big guy who wears a size 18 shoe and we all (the front four) rely on each other to stop the running game.”
Which team has the best running game tonight could be the key to victory as Boyd-Buchanan is led by senior Rance Harden (1,035 rushing yards) and junior quarterback Jim Cardwell (905 yards rushing and 881 yards passing), while Oneida is led by quarterback Cole West and running back Brandon Smith.
Coach Reynolds hopes that Brewer is able to beat the victory drums tonight on the three-hour bus ride back to Chattanooga while making plans to meet the Grace Christian-Silverdale Baptist winner in the third round next Friday.
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org