Lions come up short against Rebels
By MICKEL PONTHIEUX / For the Reporter
VESTAVIA HILLS – In their final dress rehearsal of the 2012 preseason, the Briarwood Christian Lions came up just short in a 10-6 jamboree loss to the Vestavia Hills Rebels on Friday, Aug. 24.
“Jamborees are meant to teach us lessons,” said Lions’ head coach Fred Yancey. “This one will help teach us a lot of good lessons. I was pleased to see that we matched up quite often during the night.
“We have not arrived, but we have a chance to be there.”
The Rebels took a 3-0 lead after their first possession, but the Lions gave Vestavia excellent field position when the ball was jarred loose from the grasp of Daniel Robert on the ensuing kickoff return.
“(Robert) was on a great run on the first time he ever returned a kick,” Yancey said. “He learned that he has to be able to finish the play by tucking it away.”
The turnover led to a Rebel touchdown by Jordan Johnson four plays later to give Vestavia a 10-0 lead.
The turnover bug bit again on Briarwood’s second play from scrimmage when a Will Edwards’ pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage to allow the Rebels’ Austin Dixon to claim the interception.
The Lions’ defense stood tall despite being backed up on their own end of the field. Vestiava took control of the ball at the Briarwood 22-yard line, but Briarwood forced the Rebels into a field goal situation. William Patrick blocked the attempt for the Lions to keep the score 10-0 at the half.
Briarwood found their rhythm on offense on their second possession of the second half. Robert caught a 12-yard pass from Edwards for the second Lion first down of the game. That reception began a string of four consecutive first downs for Briarwood as they drove deep into Rebel territory.
Chandler Wilkins completed two straight passes to lead the Lions inside the Vestiavia 10-yard line, then found Robert on fourth-down on a corner fade to put Briarwood on the board, 10-6 with 4:40 left in the second half.
“Chandler came in and threw some great passes and did a good job of leading us,” said Yancey. “D. Rob made a big time catch (on the touchdown).”
The Lions appeared to had taken the lead in the junior varsity period of the jamboree when Joseph Cash recovered a free ball on a punt and returned it 62 yards for a score. However, Cash was ruled down where he recovered the punt to extend the drive for Briarwood.
Briarwood wasn’t able to leave the field with a healthy roster as starting quarterback Will Edwards suffered a broken collarbone on the Lions’ lone scoring drive of the game.
“That’s not good news for us,” Yancey said on the Edwards’ injury. “We are going to have to find a way to regroup and get better anyway.”
Edwards finished 4-for-10 for 49 yards with an interception before his injury.
Wilkins threw for 34 yards on 6-of-10 passing with a touchdown. Robert led the Lion receivers with 27 yards on three receptions with a touchdown.
Vestavia’s Robert Estes led all rushers with 35 yards on four carries for the Rebels.
Briarwood will open the season next Friday against Eagles Landing (Ga.) at home.