Briarwood scores three in first eight minutes in dominant first-round win over Bessemer City

Published 11:12 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Briarwood Christian Lions got off to a flying start and never looked back as they claimed a 10-0 victory over the Bessemer City Purple Tigers in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs on Friday, April 26 at Lions Pride Stadium to advance to the second round.

Three minutes into the game, the Lions sent a pass across the ground to Thomas Lanier, and he calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net to score the opening goal.

Later, in the seventh minute, Carson Tucker made a driving run towards the box, and after making a move on the ball, he teed off from outside the box and scored from long range to double up the lead.

Briarwood quickly made it three goals in eight minutes after Lanier sent a pass back to Jake VanDixhorn who scored his own goal from deep.

With a 3-0 lead, the Lions settled into the match and the scoring pace slowed down over the rest of the match.

Briarwood still got attacking chances in the first half, but Bessemer City goalkeeper Ismael Gonzalez racked up a string of phenomenal saves to stop the Lions in their tracks and keep the Purple Tigers in the match.

After a 25-minute gap between goals, Fynn Eighmy resumed the scoring in the 33rd minute with a goal from close range to make the lead 4-0.

Briarwood added one more before the halftime whistle after Lanier dished a pass into the box for Tucker, and he put the ball in the back of the net for the 5-0 halftime lead.

The Lions wasted little time getting back on the scoreboard in the start of the second half, and they did so in a big way in the 44th minute. Ian Robertson sent a shot straight towards the top of the goal, and the ball banged down off the crossbar and into the goal for Briarwood’s sixth.

Briarwood then gave some of its depth pieces and young players some playoff experience which led to great moments down the stretch.

In the 51st minute, Jake Parisher scored from close up and dropped to his knees in celebration with his teammates as the lead grew to 7-0.

Bessemer City got a solid chance at a goal in the 64th minute, but Emerson Maughan made a diving save in goal to preserve the clean sheet.

On the other end of the field, the Lions took a shot at goal in the 68th minute, but Gonzalez made the close-range save by deflecting the ball up. However, Quinn Corcoran collected the deflected ball, and he passed the ball back to Parisher for his second goal in 20 minutes.

Four minutes later, Sawyer Felton put a skill on the ball and crossed up the Purple Tigers keeper before he scored to put Briarwood a goal shy of ending the game.

The Lions finished the job in the 76th minute with their 10th unanswered goal to win by the mercy rule and advance to the second round.

Briarwood will play Pelham in the second round in a rematch of the area championship game. The Lions will look to win the rubber match against the Panthers this season when they square off on Monday, April 29 at 7 p.m. at Lions Pride Stadium.