Briarwood steamrolls top-ranked Tigers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Briarwood coach Fred Yancey will tell you, Joe Craddock is the driver of the bus.

Not the bus that took Briarwood Christian to Eufaula, where the Lions defeated the top-ranked, undefeated Tigers in Friday night’s second-round playoff game &045; but the bus that drove through the Eufaula defense, scoring 34 points and securing a spot in the third round of the Class-5A playoffs.

&uot;Joe is the guy that ignites the rest of the offense,&uot; Yancey said.

The senior quarterback was 8-of-15 with two touchdowns and two interceptions while passing for 93 yards. He also rushed for 59 yards on 12 attempts in the upset-win.

Craddock made sure there was plenty of passenger room for his teammates, the Lions rode to a 34-7 victory on touchdowns scored by five different Lions players.

&uot;Our offense played really well,&uot; Yancey said, well enough to lead Briarwood to a sixth consecutive season with 10 or more wins.

Simeon Castille scored first for Briarwood on a 10-yard run early in the first-quarter.

Then Craddock found Brian Crumpler on a 31-yard go-pattern with 5:40 remaining in the first half to give the Lions a 14-0 halftime lead.

&uot;Crumpler made a diving catch in the endzone that was just as pretty as you could draw up,&uot; Yancey said.

&uot;That play really took the mystery out of who was going to win the game.&uot;

Crumpler had 5 receptions for 43 yards in the game.

Charles Hoke also pulled in a a touchdown pass for the Lions while Andy Davis and Robbie Stephenson each scored on one-yard runs.

Briarwood finished the game with 262 yards of total offense.

But it was the defense that paved the way, Yancey said.

&uot;Our defense set the table all night and our offense responded by putting up a lot of points,&uot; he said.

The first-string Eufaula defense managed only four first downs against the Lions starters.

Briarwood held the Tigers to 180 yards of total offense and 8 first downs.

Yancey gave much of the credit to the defensive front-seven, who had to play &uot;assignment football&uot; to stop Eufaula’s option offense.

&uot;John Post and Jonathan Lawrence put a lot of pressure on the Eufaula backs,&uot; Yancey said.

&uot;J.D. Lott and Andrew McCain did a good job of hitting the mesh point. Those four guys set the tone.&uot;

Yancey said the efforts of the defensive line allowed linebackers Andy Davis, Ryan Adams and John Hall to &uot;gobble up&uot; Eufaula plays before they could gain yardage.

Even Crumpler’s diving catch in the second quarter was set up by a Castille interception, Yancey said.

&uot;That just made it clear they weren’t going to get us,&uot; Yancey said.

Briarwood will play in the quarterfinals for the fourth straight year this Friday night when the Lions host B.C. Rain.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m