Briarwood advances to third round of playoffs

Published 10:19 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Briarwood Christian School Lions will travel to Kimberly to play the Mortimer Jordan Blue Devils in the third round of the playoffs on Nov. 18 after taking down the Russellville Golden Tigers 33-13 on Nov. 11.

It will mark the second meeting this season between the Lions and the Blue Devils, as Briarwood defeated Mortimer Jordan 23-14 in the regular season on Sept. 23.

“We’re thankful to be able to get on the road and play, because that means we’re in the third round,” said Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey.

Briarwood used a ground-and-pound rushing attack spearheaded by running back JR Tran-Reno.

“We blocked pretty well up front, and our backs ran great. JR and (quarterback) William (Gray) both ran the ball with authority,” Yancey added. “I felt like they had a good team and we would have to play pretty well to beat them. I felt like tonight we played a pretty doggone good game.”

Briarwood jumped out to a 16-0 lead early in the second quarter thanks to 7-yard touchdown pass from Gray to Luke Miskelley in the first quarter, followed by a Gray-to-Barrett Tindall 20-yeard touchdown strike a few seconds into the second quarter.

Gray connected with Kolby Kwarcinski for a 2-point conversion after the first touchdown, and added the second 2-point conversion himself.

Tran-Reno added another touchdown in the second quarter when he broke free for a 36-yard run. Noah Nall’s PAT put the Lions up 23-0 midway through the second quarter.

Russellville attempted to mount a comeback after cutting the Briarwood lead to 23-7 on a Payton Nichols 3-yard rushing touchdown.

The Golden Tigers blocked two Briarwood field goal attempts to close the first half.

After a scoreless third quarter, Russellville cut the Lions’ lead to 23-13 when Xavier Boyd broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run to start the third quarter.

Briarwood answered on a 23-yard Nall field goal with 4:57 left in the game, forced a turnover on downs and then scored again on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Gray to Caleb Daniels.