Darius Slay returned the Brunswick Pirates’ lineup, but it was two touchdowns from Richard Cash that made the difference as the Pirates locked up the final Region 3-AAAA berth with a 28-12 win over the Effingham County Rebels on Friday night.
Stephen Tarpley’s 1-yard run put the Rebels (5-5, 5-4) ahead 6-0 in the first quarter.
Slay, who finished with 152 yards on 22 carries, gave the Pirates (7-3, 6-3) a 9-6 lead with a 21-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
Jonathan Dixon put the Pirates ahead 15-6 with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Wesley Smith. Cash scored from 4 yards out to make it 21-6 before Raymond Hines ran the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.
Cash put the game out of reach with a 2-yard TD run in the third quarter, the only scoring of the second half.
ECHS needed a win over Brunswick and a Ware County win over Statesboro to make the Class AAAA playoffs. Ware beat Statesboro 10-0.
Chris Hamilton led the Rebels with 56 yards on seven carries and Tarpley ran 10 times for 43 yards. Dalton Couey was 1-of-2 passing, hitting Marquel Manior for a 61-yard gain. Effingham finished with 182 total yards, 121 on the ground.
Brunswick had 330 total yards, running for 237 while Dixon threw for 93 yards.