Briarwood’s Forester picks up first win as head coach

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – It was a special night at Briarwood Christian School, as the Lions’ football team put back-to-back losses by 12 points or less to start the season behind them to pick up Matthew Forester’s first win as a head coach thanks to a 38-20 victory on Friday, Sept. 13, over the Woodlawn Colonels.

It marked a memorable night that the first-year head coach won’t soon forget after spending time at Briarwood as one of the best defensive players in school history and the defensive coordinator under legendary head coach Fred Yancey.

Early in the game, Briarwood looked like an inspired team that was out to prove a point and tired of losing.

Woodlawn fumbled the ball on its first drive of the game on its own 14-yard line and Tyler Waugh wasted no time scooping it up and taking it to the house for the game’s first score and a 7-0 lead with 10:10 left in the opening quarter.

On the Colonels next drive, another miscue became costly as Briarwood was able to get in the backfield and block the punt. After recovering, the Lions took over at the Woodlawn 38-yard line looking to add to the lead.

Shortly after, freshman quarterback Christopher Vizzina hit running back Luke Prewett for a touchdown pass to put the Lions on top 14-0 with 7:10 remaining in the quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Woodlawn ended up being forced to punt, but the Colonels went on to play some trickery and caught Briarwood off guard with a fake punt that ended with a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-6 after a failed 2-point conversion.

The scoring cooled down for both teams after that, but late in the second quarter, Briarwood was able to find some success again just before the half.

Vizzina found Blake McKenna for a deep pass that set up first and goal, which meant it was Prewett time. Prewett took the snap in the wildcat and capped off the drive with his second touchdown of the night to put the Lions on top 21-6.

Briarwood got another break when McKenna blocked Woodlawn’s punt late in the second quarter to give the Lions another shot at points before the half. They capitalized shortly after when Noah Nall knocked through a 36-yard field goal for a 24-6 lead at the break.

In the second half, the Lions’ special teams came out and made another big play, more specifically McKenna made another big play when he blocked his second punt of the night. This time, Bailey Salmon was able to pick it up and run it in for the touchdown to put Briarwood on top 31-6 early in the second half.

The Lions had opened up the scoring at that point and were pulling away, and it got even more out of hand when Waugh added another touchdown carry to put Briarwood on top 38-6 with 5:09 left in the third quarter.

Woodlawn went on to score 14 unanswered points over the next few minutes of game time to cut the deficit to 38-20 early in the fourth quarter, but the Lions played sound the rest of the final period to close out the victory.

Briarwood is now 1-2 overall and 1-1 in region play, and will now hit the road for a matchup with Wenonah on Friday, Sept. 20.