NOKESVILLE — Brentsville returned the opening kickoff for a score against Warren County on Friday night, setting in motion a dominant 49-0 win that ended the Wildcats’ season in the first round of the Region 3B playoffs.

Tigers senior running back Bryce Jackson gashed Warren County for five touchdowns, and a stout Brentsville defense that had already shut out the Wildcats once this season did so again on Friday night while allowing just 61 yards to Warren County’s offense.

It was the seventh straight win for Brentsville (9-2), which has allowed just 13 points over its last six games and has posted four shutouts in that span. The Tigers will host James Monroe, a winner over Skyline, in the regional semifinals next week.

“They’re good. They’re a darn good team,” said Wildcats second-year head coach Jerry Sarchet. “It is what it is. We’ve got a lot of young kids, they’ve got their kids, so this is something for us to learn from and grow.”

Brentsville set the tone from the start, as junior Maddox Turley scooped up a squib kick to open the game and raced 64 yards down the sideline and into the end zone to put Warren County (3-8) in a quick hole. By halftime, the Tigers led 42-0.

One of the few things that fell the Wildcats’ way in the first half came via a Brentsville muffed punt that Warren County’s Elijah Frame recovered at his team’s 37-yard line in the first quarter. Warren County lost a fumble on the next play, though, setting up Jackson’s 22-yard touchdown run that put Brentsville up 14-0.

Jackson, who rushed for 134 yards and finished a yard shy of 200 yards of total offense, would score three more times in the first half on a 13-yard run, a 65-yard reception on a screen pass and a 4-yard run with eight seconds left in the second quarter. He scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the night on the second play of the fourth quarter, a 35-yard run that put the Tigers up 49-0 with 11:44 left.

The senior repeatedly dodged and shed would-be tacklers as the Wildcats struggled to bring Jackson down.

“He’s a tough kid,” Sarchet said. “It just goes back to our underclassmen, learn from this and get in the weight room and get strong and get better.”

Brentsville finished with 361 yards of offense, with sophomore quarterback Caleb Alexander completing 4 of 10 passes for 173 yards and a TD and rushing for another score.

Warren County’s single-wing offense couldn’t keep pace with the Tigers, and the Wildcats finished with minus-5 yards rushing on 35 carries, allowed four sacks and lost two first-half fumbles that set up Brentsville touchdowns.

Fourteen of the Wildcats’ 35 rush attempts went for negative yardage as the Tigers — who averaged 7.7 yards per rush on offense — repeatedly won the line scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

“That offensive line is top rate,” Sarchet said. “The (Tyler) Nix kid is the (Northwestern District) Player of the Year for a reason. They just run hard. They play hard. Their defense flies around. They blitz. The (Nicholas) Griffin kid, No. 30, fantastic linebacker. We just didn’t have answers for their size, speed and strength.”

Warren County’s best drive came on its final possession of the game, which began from the Wildcats’ own 20 and reached the Brentsville 1 when quarterback Nick Foltz (59 yards passing) completed a 34-yard pass to senior Aadon Atwood.

The Wildcats did their best to try to get Atwood a touchdown, twice running him on direct snaps and throwing a screen to him on fourth-and-goal, but Brentsville’s defense held and forced a turnover on downs with just over a minute to play.

“He’s a senior. He caught the pass to get down there, we wanted to get him (a touchdown),” Sarchet said of Atwood, who had four receptions for 48 yards. “We just couldn’t get the push. He played his heart out on both sides of the ball tonight and we just tried to get him a going-away present, but we couldn’t get it done.”

Sarchet expressed displeasure after the loss with the conduct of the Tigers, who he said put their defensive starters back into the game to preserve the shutout late in the fourth quarter, and who faked a field goal up 35-0 late in the first half to set up Jackson’s TD just before halftime.

Brentsville was penalized 11 times for 99 yards and was flagged for three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, including one for taunting that took a 60-yard touchdown pass off the board on the same possession in which the Tigers faked the field goal.

“They didn’t show a lot of class tonight,” Sarchet said.

For Warren County, Friday’s loss kicks off an offseason in which the Wildcats will aim to build off their first postseason appearance since 2017.

“I told the seniors that’s something that you built, and I know the record may not look good and they have this outlook, but when they come back in the future and we’re hosting a playoff game, they can say they started that legacy,” Sarchet said. “And guys like Atwood, and Gunner Chaffin and David Fox-Wyrick and Will Baldwin, Chris Silivius — the seniors are just great kids and I wish we had a different score for their final game, but it’s a good life lesson.

“Our kids will be back,” he added, “and they’ll work hard and our coaching staff, we’ll get better and we’ll build this as a program and build it up.”

– Contact Brad Fauber at bfauber@nvdaily.com