Lions to rematch Homewood in semis

The Briarwood Lions set up a rematch with region-rival Homewood by claiming a narrow victory over B.C. Rain in the Class 5A quarterfinals last Friday night.

Briarwood (11-2) advances to the AHSAA, 5A semifinals with the 13-12 win.

A win this Friday night against the Patriots would send the Lions to Legion Field for the Super Six and a chance to win the state championship.

Homewood won the regular season battle between the two teams, 24-14.

Homewood running back Brandon Thornton rushed for 203 yards and two scores in the contest.

Stopping him will be key when Briarwood plays the Patriots on the road this week.

&uot;The discouraging thing about playing Thornton is that no one has slowed him down all year,&uot; Briarwood coach Fred Yancey said. &uot;To me he is just Carnell Williams playing high school ball.&uot;

Yancey said the Briarwood front seven will have to play physical football and not miss tackles on every play when they face the senior back.

&uot;He doesn’t take plays off,&uot; Yancey said. &uot;If one of our guys lets up he’ll exploit that. It’s all about effort, hustle and playing your guts out.&uot;

Despite the challenge Thornton brings to the table, Yancey said Briarwood will concentrate mostly on Briarwood this week in practice.

&uot;We’re going to focus a lot on us and not worry about Homewood or someone else,&uot; he said.

That philosophy proved beneficial for the Lions, who practice the kicking game daily, in their win over B.C. Rain.

Briarwood kicker Ben Bludsworth made two field goals and Joe Craddock punted five times for an average of 50.2 yards-per-punt.

Bludsworth’s kicks put the Lions on top while Craddock’s punting pinned the Raiders deep most of the night.

B.C. Rain’s average starting point on offense was inside their own 30 yard-line.

Senior Ryan Adams led the Briarwood defense.

&uot;Adams was just all over the field on defense,&uot; Yancey said. &uot;He really went out the right way making plays that were seemingly impossible.&uot;

Craddock led the Lions offense with 84 yards rushing and 65 yards passing.

Briarwood’s only touchdown came with 18 seconds remaining in the first half on a one-yard run by Andy Davis