Briarwood comes up short in road playoff contest

By JOHN McEACHIN/For the Reporter

The Lions gave it everything they had, but the Florence Falcons were too strong for Briarwood Christian at home. Florence knocked Briarwood out of the AHSAA Class 6A playoffs 38-16 in the first round.

It was a defensive struggle throughout the first half, as the underdog Briarwood squad was able to keep the game scoreless until there was 0:56 left in the first quarter. Florence put the points on the board when quarterback Michael Hawkins hit Darius Smith for a 34-yard touchdown, which gave Florence a 7-0 lead.

Briarwood held until 1:02 left in the half when Hawkins hit William Barnett for another 34-yard TD to give Florence a 14-0 cushion going into halftime.

Walker Lott drove the Lions down the field to start the second half and cut the game to 14-8 with a 1-yard touchdown run (with a made two point conversion), but Florence took away the momentum on a fake punt around midfield on the following drive. Florence finished the drive with a 19-yard TD pass from Hawkins to Dillon Frederick (and a two point conversion) to give the Falcons a 22-8 lead.

Briarwood got a fumble return for a touchdown and two point safety late in the fourth quarter, but it was not nearly enough to keep their season alive as Florence capitalized on different opportunities. The Falcons converted on 3 times on 4th down, of which were all turned into points.

Briarwood quarterback Walker Lott completed 8-of-15 passes for 110 yards and an interception. He also rushed for the only offensive touchdown Briarwood scored on the night.

Hawkins went 13-of-23 for 159 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

Briarwood ended their season at 4-7, while Florence will host Shades Valley High School at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 at home.