Briarwood’s offense can’t get going in region loss to Ramsay

Published 12:20 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – With both defenses giving up less than eight points per game and a region championship on the line, Briarwood at Ramsay looked like a traditional football matchup you wouldn’t want to miss.

Instead, when the two teams met on Friday, Oct. 19, it was a game of missed opportunities and a one-sided show for the most part with Ramsay eventually claiming a 21-7 victory and the Class 5A, Region 4 crown.

It was a game that Ramsay could have easily won 45-0, but also a game the Lions could have won at the same time.

The Rams made mistakes throughout the night, while Briarwood was able to convert two onside kicks, force several turnovers and draw penalties on Ramsay, but the Lions never could take advantage.

The first three drives of the game, two from Briarwood and one from Ramsay, went about how the defensive battle was expected to go with neither team able to get more than one combined first down.

That changed on Ramsay’s next drive, however, as the Rams started at their own 30-yard line and drove 70 yards. The big play of the drive came on fourth-and-12 from the Lions’ 21-yard line when the Rams were able to connect on a 21-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead.

Briarwood looked like it would respond on the next drive, but instead, after getting to the Rams’ 31-yard line, the Lions’ drive stalled before eventually turning the ball over on downs.

Ramsay took advantage and scored its second touchdown in as many drives to start the second quarter. After several quarterback keepers on scrambles outside of the pocket or zone reads, the Rams got Briarwood to cheat up which allowed them to fire a deep 40-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-0 lead.

On the Lions’ ensuing drive, they eventually attempted a fake punt inside their own 30-yard line, which didn’t gain a yard, giving the rams great field position, but Briarwood’s defense stepped up with a big interception from Cal Reebals that kept the mistake from hurting the team.

Yet again, Briarwood started near midfield on the ensuing drive after a strong return from Reebals, and one play into the drive looked to be in business when Luke Prewett reeled off a 19-yard run into Rams’ territory.

However, what plagued the Lions for the majority of the night kept them from advancing any closer to scoring as the threat of the pass just wasn’t there. Instead, the Lions lost yards and were eventually forced to punt.

Ramsay yet again took advantage of Briarwood not being able to punch in a touchdown, and despite bad field position, was able to march right down the field to score thanks to a 50-yard pass followed by a 2-yard touchdown run for a 21-0 lead.

Briarwood was able to get another good chance to score just before the half, which would have been huge, thanks to Prewett reeling off a 41-yard run to put the Lions inside the 20-yard line, but instead of scoring, a Jonah Carroll pass was tipped and intercepted shortly after to take the game to the half with Ramsay leading 21-0.

Despite the deficit, Briarwood was about to get several opportunities early in the second half.

To start the half, the Lions recovered an onside kick after a penalty for a long halftime break due to homecoming led to them kicking the ball off at midfield, making the risk worth taking.

Briarwood, however, went three-and-out again as the offense still couldn’t get going.

On Ramsay’s next drive, the Lions got another break when they recovered a fumble at midfield.

The Lions again went three-and-out.

Finally, after one more three-and-out, Briarwood was eventually able to block a punt with 10:13 left in the game to take over at the Ramsay 9-yard line.

The Lions eventually faced fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line when J.R. Tran-Reno punched in a touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-7 with 9:14 left.

Things started to look even more positive after Briarwood recovered another onside kick on the ensuing kickoff.

Briarwood eventually got down to the Rams’ 22-yard line in great shape looking to get within a score with plenty of time left, but instead the Lions went backwards before eventually facing a fourth-and-17 that they were unable to convert.

That was the Lions’ last chance of the game to really pull within a score, as the offense didn’t get back into Ramsay territory.

Briarwood (6-2, 5-1) will now take on Fairfield at home to close out region play on Thursday, Oct. 25.

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