Fred Yancey earns 250th win at Briarwood

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Briarwood Lions earned a big milestone for their head coach on Friday night, Oct. 14, defeating the Shelby County Wildcats by a score of 43-21.

The win marked number 250 for Fred Yancey at Briarwood, who has been at the helm of the Lions for the past 26 years.

“I’m proud of all the teams I’ve coached and the fun I’ve had throughout the years,” Yancey said. “I’m so thankful for all that led up to this and really appreciate the guys playing so well tonight.”

Shelby County couldn’t have started the game out any better, going on a 10-play drive in five minutes to open the scoring with a 7-0 lead.

Chadwyn Russ led the way with a 30-yard run on the drive ,and Keyvonte Mayfield had some tough running around the goal line to eventually punch it in on third and goal from the one.

Briarwood came right back and scored in 1:14 on four plays capped off by a William Gray 9-yard touchdown run. They would tack on a 2-point conversion to show Shelby County they would have to keep the Lion’s offense off the field in order to win this one.

That objective seemed to be working well for Wildcat’s head coach Heath Childers when his team came out and went on a 15-play drive, which ate up 9:41 of the clock.

The drive was propelled by some tough running and big third down conversions, but after a false start penalty on the Briarwood 8-yard line set them up with a fourth and eight, they would ruin the successful drive by turning the ball over on downs.

The Lions would come back and score seven plays later in another short drive that only lasted 1:44.

This drive saw several big plays including a 20-yard pass from Gray to sophomore J.R. Tran-Reno, a 12-yard run for Tran-Reno, a 17-yard run for Gray and another 20-yard pass from Gray to Ashton Domingue for a drive ending touchdown.

Like clockwork, the Wildcats would come back and grind out another long nine play 6-minute drive that would stall on their own 47-yard line.

Briarwood got the ball back with 1:13 left before the half at their own 26, and in two plays they were already to the Shelby County 27-yard line.

The Lions would score two plays later with 27 seconds left in the half, making it their quickest drive of the night only lasting 46 seconds.

This summed up the first half perfectly. The Wildcats completely controlled time of possession holding the ball for close to 21 minutes to Briarwood’s thre, but it was the Lions who took the 22-7 halftime lead.

“That’s kind of what we were expecting,” Yancey said. “I knew they would come right at us and knock us in the teeth, and they would eat up a lot of time, so we had to come out playing great offense because that game could’ve gone crazy on us if we hadn’t moved the ball.”

Briarwood would get the ball first in the second half and go on one of their longest drives of the night, a nine play 4:17 drive, which would end in a touchdown from senior running back Berrett Tindall.

With the score now 29-7, things already looked bad for the Wildcats, but on the very first play of the ensuing possession they would fumble the ball and give it right back to the Lions.

Gray would throw an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Kolby Kwarcinski the very next play to put Briarwood up 36-7.

Shelby County would tack on a couple of late touchdowns, including another long 17-play drive at one point to make the final score 43-21.

“We are improving and that’s been our goal,” Yancey said. “We want to become more balanced to be able to throw and run and we were able to do that tonight.”

The loss dropped the Wildcats to (3-5, 1-5) after starting the season out 3-0.

Briarwood on the other hand locked up the number one spot in Class 5A Region 5 and improved to (7-1, 6-0) on the season. They now have the chance to finish region play undefeated if they can take down Pleasant Grove at home on Friday, Oct. 21.

“Our kids care every week, so they’ll care next week, but trying to go undefeated in region play will definitely be an incentive for that game,” Yancey said.