Briarwood bounces back

Left bruised and battered by a week two loss at Shelby County, Briarwood hit the road to John Carroll on Friday without starting quarterback Paul Barber. However, a week of work was enough for defensive back Ben Bracewell to be able to lead the tenth-ranked Lions to victory, 28-7.

“For a guy to learn quarterback at Briarwood in a week is pretty amazing,” Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey said.

With Barber sidelined with an ankle injury, Bracewell started his first game under center since starting once for the junior varsity two seasons ago.

His first result as a varsity quarterback was 93 yards passing, 27 yards rushing and a touchdown both ways.

“It started off kind of rough. It’s been so long since I’ve seen action there,” Bracewell said. “We found some plays that were working out for us, and we kept running them all night.”

One of those plays was getting the ball to halfback Caleb Castille, who racked up 62 yards on the ground and 50 yards in the air, also scoring touchdowns both ways.

“He played a real good game, and being able to move the ball on the ground with him was big,” Bracewell said.

Castille helped set the town for Briarwood out of the gate with a short touchdown run midway through the first quarter.

Less than a minute later, Trevor Hightower scooped up a fumble and took it in from 23 yards out to put the Lions up 14-0 and allow Yancey to shift his game plan.

“Since we jumped out early, it made it imperative that we not lose the game at that point,” said Yancey, who became more conservative with his team, not taking risks on offense.

The conservative play eliminated the Lions’ turnover problems from which they suffered the previous two weeks.

“We just didn’t make any mistakes. We felt like we just had to keep it real simple and hope that our defense would carry us,” Yancey said. “We don’t think we’ve arrived. That was a fun win, but there’s a lot of room for getting better.”

This week, Briarwood (2-1, 1-1) will throw its white uniforms in the laundry basket and don its navy tops for the first time since Nov. 16, 2007: the second round of last year’s playoffs.

“Our kids are real excited about being home,” Yancey said.

The Lions will host region opponent Moody, which knocked off Chelsea, 29-22, Friday.

That outcome should keep the Lions on their toes another week.

“It’ means we’re in for another real tough battle, because we know Chelsea has a real good team despite their record,” Yancey said.

Bracewell said he expects Barber to be back under center against Moody, but would jump back under center in a heartbeat if needed.