Saints halt Lions’ playoff run, 24-3
By GRAHAM CARR / Staff Writer
MOBILE – The St. Paul’s Episcopal School Saints ended the Briarwood Christian Lions’ season by a score of 24-3 in the Class 5A quarterfinals at E.E. Delaney Stadium on Nov. 23.
Although the Lions’ offense did not get a first down the entire first half, Briarwood’s defense kept the Lions’ within striking distance for most of the half. Despite St. Paul’s running 40 plays in the half, compared to the Lions’ 20, the Saints only led 7-0 with a minute to play in the second quarter.
Unfortunately for Briarwood, the Saints took advantage of the final minute. Saints’ senior quarterback Bradley Padgett found junior receiver Trayon Taylor for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds left, extending the lead to 14-0.
After forcing a Briarwood punt, the Saints were able to knock in a long field goal by kicker Jannick Wildraut as time expired on the half, putting the Lions in a 17-0 halftime deficit.
Briarwood coach Fred Yancey said his team was simply outplayed by the Saints.
“St. Paul’s controlled the game,” Yancey said. “We felt like we were going to be able to be in it and we were at halftime. That field goal at the end of the half was a tough one.”
Nevertheless, the Lions had their chances to get back into the game with three second-half drives deep into Saints’ territory. Lions’ junior quarterback Will Edwards was intercepted in the end zone on two of the three drives while the third drive ended in a 31-yard field goal by senior Jordan Box.
St. Paul’s freshman running back Ostin McPherson put the game out of reach with a 62-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter, extending the lead to 24-3. McPherson had 159 of his team’s 220 yards on the ground.
“Give that kid credit and give his line credit for blocking for him,” Yancey said.
Briarwood’s quarterbacks were constantly under duress as the Saints finished with four sacks and several quarterback hurries. Both Edwards and sophomore quarterback Chandler Wilkins were knocked out of the game due to injuries. Walker Lott played the Lions’ last series under center.
Edwards finished with 5-of-9 passing for 75 yards and two interceptions while Wilkins was 7-of-10 passing for 67 yards. Lott finished 1-of-2 for zero yards.
In his final game as a Lion, receiver Daniel Robert was a bright spot for the Lions’ offense, as he had five catches for 86 yards.
Robert finished the season with 64 receptions for 941 yards and 12 touchdowns which is no small feat, considering most teams used two defensive backs to cover him.
Yancey said despite the loss, he is proud of what his team accomplished this season.
“This is a team that could have been through several weeks ago and could have not accomplished the things that they did, but they did because they wanted to,” Yancey said. “They wanted to do something very special. They went deep into the playoffs and I am very proud of them.”