Lions rout Collinsville in first game back

Published 4:11 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Logan Frost of Briarwood brings a ball down inside the Collinsville box during the Lions’ 7-0 win on April 5. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

Logan Frost of Briarwood brings a ball down inside the Collinsville box during the Lions’ 7-0 win on April 5. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – After two weeks away from the pitch, the Briarwood Lions were back in action on April 5 at 5 p.m. as they welcomed in visiting Collinsville. After 15 minutes of scoreless soccer, Briarwood broke the stalemate, taking an early 1-0 lead before the floodgates opened, as the Lions poured in six additional goals and kept a clean sheet in the process, beating the hapless Panthers by a 7-0 final.

“I think coming off of spring break we had a slow start,” first year Briarwood head coach Shawn Brower said of his team’s performance. “Their style of play of really clogging up the middle with three tight in the middle and three across the top put us under some pressure initially. We missed some shots we should have (hit), which allowed them to hang in for a while. But once we started scoring it was hard for them not to get discouraged.”

From the jump, Briarwood controlled possession. The Lions are a skilled passing team, and the attacking front of Logan Frost, Bryant Wood and Josh Brower, head coach Shawn Brower’s son, kept the pressure on Collinsville early. Frost and Jacob Hawk in particular had optimistic looks at goal in the early going, but couldn’t finish early. The unnaturally long two-week break in between games meant Briarwood had to shake off some rust, which it did after the first 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes of scoreless action, the Lions broke into the scoring column. On a throw-in from deep in the Collinsville defensive third, Frost lofted a throw into the Panther box, and Brower took care of the rest, putting his head on the ball in the air and pushing it into the back of the Collinsville net for the first goal of the game. Griffin Felton added a second goal off a one-touch shot just four minutes later, and Wood pumped in the third goal of the game two minutes after that to take full control of the game.

In the 32nd minute of the game, Jacob Badalato played a beautiful ball into Brower, whose shot bounced harmlessly off the top crossbar, but less than a minute later, Frost played a second ball into Brower, who wasn’t about to misfire twice from close range, and scored his second goal of the game, pushing the score to 4-0. In the 38th minute, Brower took a strike from an impossible angle on the far side of the field that appeared to be a cross, but somehow the ball found the back of the net, giving Brower a hat trick in the first half and Briarwood a 5-0 halftime lead.

“I thought we did okay, again coming off of spring break I thought we were a little bit flat,” Shawn Brower added. “And with a five o’clock start, I don’t know why that changes things but it does.”

The second half was relatively uneventful with the exception of the 55th minute, when Sam Candler and Brower both scored within 30 seconds of each other, giving the Lions the 7-0 lead and win. Since starting the year, Brower has seen significant improvement in how his team has played.

“There’s no doubt,” Brower said. “This is a young team. We started out 1-1-1, but we’ve really started to find our groove. Both offensively and defensively I feel like we’re starting to hit our stride. I think we have areas of need and improvement, but all in all they’ve surpassed my expectations at this point.”

The Lions are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games and moved to 10-2-2 with the win. Briarwood will now turn its attention to an April 8 matchup with Hewitt-Trussville before traveling to Pelham on April 9 for a crucial area game.