Trifecta: Garner records 3 safeties in rain-soaked Briarwood win

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – After a rain-soaked Thursday night at Lions’ Pride Stadium on Oct. 25, Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey was all smiles. In his 49 years of coaching football, he had never seen a defensive performance like he had just witnessed.

“That’s the first time in all my coaching life that I’ve ever seen that many,” Yancey said in reference to BCS middle linebacker Cole Garner’s three safeties in the Lions’ 26-0 win over the Fairfield Tigers to close out region play. “That’s a credit to our defensive coaches for having the boys excited about really doing some great stuff tonight.”

Coming off a sluggish offensive performance during a 21-7 loss to Ramsay the previous Friday, Briarwood utilized its strong run game and a suffocating defense to earn the victory as a chilly downpour for most of the game made passing difficult.

“Playing football is great fun, but it’s a whole lot more fun when you win, so the kids were excited to do better than we did last week,” Yancey said.

After forcing a three-and-out on the Tigers’ first possession, Briarwood capped off a six-play, 69-yard drive on a 2-yard touchdown run by Vanderbilt commit JR Tran-Reno. The wet field played a role in a Noah Nall’s missed PAT, as the Lions held a 6-0 lead until midway through the second quarter.

With seven minutes left in the second quarter, wet conditions struck again, as Nall couldn’t connect on a 27-yard field goal. Fairfield fielded the short field goal attempt, but he Briarwood defense downed the Tigers at their own 1-yard line.

Garner recorded his first safety of the night one play later when he took down Fairfield quarterback Omar Young in the end zone.

The Lions found the end zone again with 6:22 left in the third quarter when Luke Prewett broke free for a 32-yard touchdown run. Nall’s PAT put the home team up 15-0.

With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, Garner again sacked Young in his own end zone, as the Lions extended their lead to 17-0. Prewett scored on a 12-yard scamper in the first play of the fourth quarter, and Nall’s successful extra point extended Briarwood’s lead to 24-0.

Nall then pinned the Tigers at their 1-yard line, and Garner again took down Young in his own end zone one play later to bring the score to 26-0.

Briarwood (7-2, 6-1 in Class 5A Region 4) will host Class 6A Hueytown on Nov. 2 before hosting a playoff game on Nov. 9.