Briarwood boys get redemption in area win over Pelham

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, March 18, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – With the pressure of redemption weighing heavily, the Briarwood Lions lined up a free kick from 23 yards out in a 0-0 game against area foe Pelham.

After a 1-0 loss to Pelham a thrilling but heartbreaking 1-0 loss in PKs (4-1) on March 3, the Lions knew how important a victory would be in keeping their chances of an area championship alive.

And they knew that one goal with 15:30 to play would likely be enough in a low-scoring matchup.

A low kick skirted by the Pelham line a few yards in front only to be saved by an outstretched leap from the Panthers’ goalie, but, waiting for the rebound was a group of Briarwood players.

The ball ricocheted off the hands of the Pelham keeper and to the foot of sophomore Reece Frost, who buried it into the net for a 1-0 lead with 15:24 to play.

From there, Briarwood did everything it could to close out the 1-0 shutout, continuing a physical battle to the end to improve to 2-1 in area play with the regulation victory, which puts the Lions in a tie with the Panthers at 2-1 in the area.

The victory not only got the Lions to the top of the area standings alongside Pelham, but it avenged their only loss of the season, which was the penalty-kick loss just two weeks earlier.

Briarwood has now won four matches in a row and six of the last seven, while the Lions improved to 11-1-2 overall this season.

They have also been clutch in tight games, with almost every game this season decided by two goals or less. Briarwood has won five one-goal games this season, tied twice and lost just once.

The two ties came 1-1 to Northridge and 3-3 against Mountain Brook.

As for the Panthers, they fell to 9-4-2 overall on the season and had a four-game winning streak snapped. Three of their four losses have come by one goal to Mountain Brook, Fort Payne and Briarwood, while the other was a 5-0 loss to Class 7A Hoover.

Pelham’s defense has remained a constant this season, giving up two goals or less in 12 of the 15 games played so far.

The two teams will now look to finish off area play with games against No. 8 Indian Springs and Helena still left, leaving the area title and two playoff spots from the area still very much up for grabs.