Pats run over BCS

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Homewood senior Brandon Thornton ran wild as the Patriots remained unbeaten and

denied Briarwood Christian School its 12th straight region championship.

Thornton had 203 yards rushing on 22 carries against the Lions, who lost their first region game of the season Friday night, 24-14.

Briarwood went into the matchup ranked fifth in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A poll and tied with Homewood for first place in Region 4.

Homewood, the defending state champion, was ranked first in the ASWA poll.

&uot;I felt like we played real hard and had a great effort but their offensive and defensive lines were tough,&uot; Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey said.

The Homewood offensive line paved the way for Thornton who had touchdown runs of 17 and 35 yards. His first score came with 20 seconds left in the first half to give the Patriots a 17-7 lead.

&uot;(Thornton) is a great player who was having a hot night,&uot; Yancey said. &uot;He did enough damage to make us lose.&uot;

Briarwood, a team averaging nearly 27 points per game this season, was held to only one offensive touchdown in the game.

Homewood struck first with a 27-yard field goal but was answered four minutes later when BCS quarterback Joe Craddock connected with Brian Crumpler for a 33-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 10-play, 79-yard drive by the Lions.

The touchdown put Briarwood up 7-3, for its only lead of the game.

The Lions wouldn’t get another offensive score the rest of the night as Craddock finished 19-of-44 with 232 passing yards and 2 interceptions.

Homewood scored 3 unanswered touchdowns in the second and third quarters to take the lead.

Brad Nichols returned a Homewood fumble 95 yards for a touchdown in the final minutes of the game but it was too little, too late for Briarwood as Homewood held on for the victory.

The loss drops Briarwood to 7-2 on the season and 6-1 in region play, earning the Lions a second-place finish in Region 4.

The Lions host Athens this Friday night in the regular season finale and will play at home in the first round of the playoffs against Mobile’s Williamson High School.

&uot;We know what our challenge is,&uot; Yancey said. &uot;We’ve got to rebound in a hurry and that’s what will start to do this week.&uot;