Briarwood cruises in first round of playoffs

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Briarwood Christian School Lions will face Russellville at home in the second round of the 5A playoffs after they cruised to a 42-17 victory over the Corner Yellow Jackets on Nov. 4.

The Lions (10-1), overcame three turnovers to down Corner to set up the second-round matchup with the Russellville Golden Tigers (8-3).

“I feel good about an awful lot of things, but we’ve got to clean up a few things,” said Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey. “We’re not used to having that many turnovers in a game, not this year.

“But I’m not going to let that take away from the good effort and the way they played,” Yancey added. “We’re excited to be making round 2. I love playing at home.”

After forcing a three-and-out in the Yellow Jackets’ first possession of the game, Briarwood’s JR Tran-Reno capped off a 41-yard scoring drive when he broke free for a 33-yard touchdown run. Tran-Reno then found Luke Miskelley for the 2-point conversion to put the Lions up 8-0.

Briarwood extended its lead after Jordan Harmon recovered a Corner fumble, setting up a 39-yard touchdown run by quarterback William Gray. A missed PAT put the Lions up 14-0.

Gray added another touchdown on a 1-yard run into the end zone on the Lions’ next possession, and Briarwood’s Mark Hand added another touchdown on a 24-yard run. Noah Nall’s successful PATs on both touchdowns put the Lions up 28-0 midway through the first half.

After Corner scored a touchdown on a 12-yard run by Devne Daniel, the Lions answered when Gray connected with Carson Eddy on a 31-yard touchdown pass. Nall’s PAT gave Briarwood a 35-7 lead at halftime.

Corner closed the Briarwood lead to 35-17 in the third quarter after Daniel scored a touchdown, followed by a field goal by Chase Jones.

Briarwood put an end to the Yellow Jackets’ comeback bid in the fourth quarter when Gray found Kolby Kwarcinski in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown strike with 9:10 remaining in the game.