A special teams error less than two minutes into the game set the tone for an Oct. 6 matchup between Briggs and Independence in which both hoped to be closer considering the stakes.
Both teams entered the City League-South Division matchup a game up and likely needed at least one win or more to secure a playoff spot in Division II, Region 7, but the host 76ers pulled off a win. 54-14.
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Marion-Franklin beat Independence 28-6 on September 24 and leads City-South 4-0, but their game against Africentric on October 6 was called off late in the second quarter and is expected to end on October 8. according to Red Devils coach Dave Lakso.
The 76ers are 5-2 overall and 4-1 in City-South, while the Bruins fell to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the league.
“After that Marion-Franklin game a couple of weeks ago, we’re not the same team that we were,” 76ers quarterback Antonio Harris said. “This team is renewed and we are ready to come back for more. The offense has been moving smoothly. This game, we picked up the pace and hit it all the way.”
Briggs was unable to get a punt late on his opening possession after a poor snap, which gave Independence the ball at the Bruins 13-yard line.
Four plays later, Harris ran from 2 yards for the first of his four touchdowns. He finished with 14 rushes for 99 yards and also threw for 103 yards.
Independence added two interceptions in the first half and led 0-32 at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter and with Briggs at the Independence 42, the ball went airborne and landed in the hands of senior lineman Abdoul Bah, who ran down the field for a 58-yard touchdown.
“I’ve wanted that since my freshman year and today was finally the day I got it, so that was really exciting,” Bah said. “We’ve done an amazing job (defensively) and we just have to continue and build on that.”
Davaughn Bufford rushed 17 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns for the 76ers, who limited Briggs to 51 yards rushing and 104 yards of offense.
“Overall, the moment was just too big,” Briggs’ trainer Harold Bates said. “It was a great game, but we’re in a big game next week (against Columbus South). Our playoff chances were hit hard, but we have a chance to get back to normal next week and maybe we can sneak in there.”
Briggs at Independence
I: Harris 2 race (Bufford race)
I—Bufford 4 runs (Bufford pass from Harris)
I—Bufford 7 run (Richards pass from Harris)
I: Harris Execution 5 (Richards Execution)
I: Harris Execution 2 (Richards Execution)
I—Bah 58 Fumble Return (Harris Toles Pass)
B—Wemmer 45 Kickoff Return (Failed Run)
I—Execution of Harris 5 (execution failed)
B: Johnson 2 run (Johnson run)