Lions short in upset bid at Carver

Published 3:39 am Saturday, November 15, 2008

One week after moving Walker May to offense to catch a touchdown pass with less than a minute to play, Briarwood looked to May again at key times in Friday’s loss to Carver-Montgomery, 21-13, at the Cramton Bowl.

May, who was challenged at defensive end by Carver tackle Brandon Moore, got the call on offense from head coach Fred Yancey in the second quarter.

“Let’s go Freak,” called one player from the sideline using the nickname given to May by his teammates.

May entered the game two plays later, but was unable to reel in a long catch in double-coverage on what looked to be the same play from the previous week.

While that play didn’t work for May, another big one did. Just after falling down by eight, 21-13, with under six minutes to play in the game, Ben Bracewell faked a punt and completed a 17-yard pass over the middle to May. A penalty flag was thrown for an ineligible man down field, but Yancey called time out to argue his case that Brad Botus was not lined up on the line when the play began. The flag was waved off.

“I’ll give the referee credit. That’s the first time in my life I’ve ever had a referee hear me talk and then listen to me and then change his position based on me telling him that I wasn’t lying,” Yancey said.

The play put the Lions first-and-10 at midfield with plenty of time on the clock to score, but London Pitts picked off Briarwood quarterback Paul Barber at the Carver 21 two plays later. It was Barber’s only interception of the game. He finished with 192 yards on 12-of-35 passing.

Carver running back Andrew Pitts was held to six yards on three carries, as the Brairwood defensive front held Carver three-and-out.

However, the only positive offense Briarwood had in the final 2:37 was a 5-yard pass to Ramsey White. Barber was sacked on second and third down with a false start penalty between plays to back Briarwood up, fourth-and-25 at their own 35.

Offensive coordinator Geoff Walters called for a go-route for May again, who had the ball in his reach, but was unable to hook it in double coverage. May immediately called for a flag, but took the blame for the missed opportunity after the game.

“I’m not going to complain. It just didn’t happen,” May said. “It went right through my hands.”

Carver quarterback Reginald Aaron took two knees and the game was over.

The game began with a field goal battle, as Briarwood’s Wilson Whorton put the Lions up, 3-0, with a 22-yard field goal with 7:31 to play in the first quarter. Carver answered with :06 to play in the quarter on a 21-yard field goal by Stanley Robinson.

Whorton regained the lead, 6-3, with a 30-yard field goal early in the second half.

Carver struck twice in the final three minutes before the half to swing momentum their way. Andrew Pitts ate up the Briarwood defense in the first half, finishing with 218 yards rushing and threw a pass for 35 yards. He slipped a couple of tackles on his way to a 44-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes in the half. Carver followed on its next possession with a 12-yard TD pass from Aaron to Jamel Johnson. The point-after attempt was missed on the first score and Pitts was kept out of the end zone after the second touchdown.

Carver led at the half, 15-6.

“We knew that we wanted to get Carver to a close game to where we were in reach at halftime. They haven’t played anybody that’s played them like we did in the first half,” Briarwood receiver Chandler Packard said. “We were confident that we could come out and put some points on the board in the second half.”

Packard did just that, scoring on the second play of the third quarter on a 70-yard pass. Whorton’s kick pulled the Lions within two, 15-13.

Briarwood had a shot at taking the lead with just under 11 minutes to play in the game, but a 47-yard field goal attempt by Bracewell was partially blocked.

“I had a little bit of a hesitation, because the snap may have been a little high, but that’s on me. The kick was low,” Bracewell said.

Packard thought that might have been the changing moment.

“That blocked field goal was huge. I think that was one drive we really needed to score on,” he said.

Aaron found Mason Tillman on a 21-yard screen pass down the left side with 5:56 to play to extend the lead to eight, 21-13.

Despite the loss, May was positive of the way his team played.

“We just came out and played our hearts out really. It was a fun game to play,” he said.

Fellow senior leader Bracewell agreed.

“That was our focus the whole year. We knew coming into spring training that nobody thought we be anything this year, and our whole goal was to prove them wrong. Our senior class showed up like I never expected them to. They did an unbelievable job, all 25 of them. We just played our guts out

Briarwood closes its season 9-3. Carver (12-0) will host Demopolis in the third round next week.