Lions remember classmate, earn 29-0 homecoming win

Published 12:43 am Saturday, September 21, 2013

By CLAYTON HURDLE/For the Reporter          

They won it for Joseph Honea.

Honea, a senior trombone player in the marching band and a leader within the Briarwood Christian School community, lost his life Saturday, Sept. 7.

The Lions honored his memory in their first home game since his death before defeating region foe Shelby County, 29-0 in Friday’s homecoming contest.

“All of the kids have been praying for his family,” Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey said. “Our kids love Joseph and were honored to play for him.”

It was a game that featured a quarterback change for Briarwood midway through the second quarter. Leading 6-0 with 5:06 to play until halftime, senior Will Edwards threw an interception to sophomore Wildcat defensive back John Slaughter.

Edwards never returned to the game, having suffered a torn ligament in his throwing thumb.

Sophomore Walker Lott took over, and led the Lions to a 23-point third quarter and the eventual Class 5A, Region 4 win.

“I’m glad I got the opportunity to step in and show what I’ve got,” Lott said. “I’ve been training for most of my life, and it’s great to lead the team. I love these guys.”

The Lions’ third quarter consisted of nine-, four- and one-play touchdown drives and a Jonathan McGehee field goal that resulted from a Collier Smith sack-fumble at the Shelby County eight-yard-line.

Lott went 5-of-8 passing in the third quarter for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

Lott’s first touchdown throw was a 36-yard toss and run to senior Andrew Schaper with 6:24 left in the third. He then capped a one-play, 10-second drive with a 31-yard strike to Brayden Housel.

“Give our kids credit for understanding that if we keep on them, we’ll keep getting better,” Yancey said. “And we did. We got better as the night went on. We did things better in the third quarter than we did in quarters one and two.”

Senior Victor Jerald carried the Lions on the ground, rushing five times in the quarter for an average of 13 yards per carry and a 14-yard touchdown to begin Briarwood’s third-period scoring. He finished the game with 116 yards on 16 carries.

The win gets Briarwood (2-2, 2-1 5A-4) back to a .500 record, while head coach Brent Smith’s Shelby County squad drops to 0-4 and 0-3 in region play.

“We did really well in the first half, but let it get away from us in the third quarter,” Smith said. “We played hard the whole night, and I think we got better this week.”

Both teams will take a break from region play next week. The Lions will visit Gardendale, while the Wildcats return home to play Calera.

“I think this week’s going to be a great turning point for us,” Lott said. “I think we’re going to go on a big winning streak, hopefully to the playoffs and even further.”