Briarwood boys win 1-0 against Eagles

By DREW GRANTHUM/For the Reporter

It took 77 minutes, but the Briarwood and Athens High boys’ soccer matchup finally turned into the shootout it was expected to be, as the Lions held off a furious charge to take a 1-0 win, and a berth in the AHSAA Class 5A Championship Game.

Briarwood stunned the undefeated Golden Eagles with an early goal by Conner Lee to take the lead, and proceeded to play outstanding defense the rest of the game. The Golden Eagles struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half, and missed several chances to even the score throughout the game.

In the second half, Briarwood controlled the ball until Athens mounted a strong offensive charge, taking three shots in the goalkeeper’s box in a scramble to even the score. Briarwood’s Jordan Box held strong, making six total saves in the game.

Athens High got one last chance to score, as a shot hit the crossbar but didn’t go in, leading to the Lions clearing the ball out and holding on for the win.

“That was a nail biter,” said coach Mark Wallace. “I think we tried to sit on the lead a little bit too long. We faced a team that had absolutely no quit in them. That last three minutes was nuts. They proved they were worthy of being an undefeated team. That was an awesome performance. I’m happy for the guys, [we have] 13 seniors. I’m glad these guys have been given a chance to experience a state final.”

Conner Lee and Kyle Kimel led the team with 2 shots a piece. Briarwood will face St. Paul’s in the final.