Lions shut down Pinson Valley
By CLAYTON HURDLE/For the Reporter
NORTH SHELBY — The Briarwood Christian Lions closed out the 2013 regular season with a 23-13 senior night win over Pinson Valley Nov. 1.
Briarwood’s defense, led by senior Ethan Simmons, held Pinson’s talented running back Nick Gibson in check for the majority of the game to hold back the Indians.
Gibson finished the game with 119 yards and a score, but the Lions limited his big-play potential. The college prospect’s longest run of the night was 24 yards.
“Our coach preached we’re going to have to stop [Gibson],” Simmons said. “I think we did that very well tonight.”
Briarwood got on the board first with a 30-yard Jonathan McGehee field goal with three minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Indians took their only lead of the game a minute into the second quarter. After Keenan Toney intercepted a Walker Lott pass deep in Briarwood territory, Matthew Garrett connected with Spencer Underwood from 28 yards out to take a 7-3 lead.
Apart from Lott’s interception, the Lions controlled the first half decisively. Lott made up for the pick with 105 first-half rushing yards, including a 37-yard run to set up Briarwood’s go-ahead touchdown.
“It takes a lot of pressure off me knowing there’s someone else who can take the ball and run it too,” said senior running back Victor Jerald, who was the Lions’ second-leading rusher with 75 yards.
Lott finished with 133 yards on the ground to lead all rushers in the game.
With 8:06 until halftime, the Lions took the lead for good. Simmons took a direct snap two yards into the end zone. The Briarwood lead was 9-7 after a failed two-point conversion.
Simmons scored from a yard out with 54 seconds until the half; a successful two-point try gave the Lions their 17-7 halftime lead.
The Lions held the ball for nearly seven minutes in the third quarter, but did not score again until a four-yard strike from Lott to senior Andrew Schaper made the score 23-7 a minute and a half into the fourth quarter.
Gibson’s only touchdown of the game was a six-yard rush with 2:49 left. A failed two-point conversion left Pinson Valley in a two-score hole, and the Briarwood defense held tight to prevent the Indians from scoring again.
The Lions will return home to host Eufaula in the first round of the playoffs next week.
“Last year was a little rough, but this year we knew we were going to pick it up,” Simmons said. “We came out here with a little more of the intensity we’ll need for the playoffs.”
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