In the closest game yet this week, St. Paul’s was able to pull off an amazing final drive to take down the Briarwood Lions again in a Super 7 match-up 17-14.
From the beginning, St. Paul’s tried to control the tempo of the game after a drive of over six minutes that led to a field goal for the Saints. Defense controlled the game, which ended up having the quickest first half of any game so far at the Super 7.
At the half, Briarwood held a 7-3 lead on Michael Hiers’ 6-yard touchdown pass to Hudson Hartsfield.
However, after going up 14-3 late in the third quarter, momentum swung hard in St. Paul’s direction after a 57-yard touchdown pass only 16 seconds later immediately answered Briarwood’s second touchdown. The Lions were able to drain time off the clock until the final few minutes when St. Paul’s had to go for it all.
The Saints had a 2nd and 10 at their own 36 that they turned into a 3rd and 5, or so they thought. A holding penalty in the backfield lost the Saints 22 yards and forced a 2nd and 32. The best they could do before fourth down was get it to a 4th and 14. With a last ditch effort, MVP Swift Lyle found the state’s #2 player, Jalyn Armour-Davis wide open for a 56 yard gain.
The Alabama commit got them inside the red zone, where they soon faced another fourth down from the six. Then Lyle found Oliver Willman for the go-ahead touchdown and the Saints went on to win their fourth ever state title and third in three years.
Their success comes with somewhat of a price though, as the Saints will move up to Class 6A next year due to the new private school competition rules. They will face teams like Spanish Fort, Saraland, Blount, Daphne and more for the next two years due to their multiple state title runs.
Briarwood looks to rebound before starting next season in region 4, which means that even if St. Paul’s did stay in 5A in football, they would meet before the state championship. The Lions pick up John Carroll, Parker and Ramsay from their old 6A region, Region 5.
The Lions had a dominant run and picked up another region title before falling Thursday night. The Saints did not win their region but did get the blue map. Next season should be an interesting one, but we always know that when these teams meet in the Super 7, we’re guaranteed a great show.
Final Stat Leaders
Michael Hiers (Briarwood) – 8/18, 113 yards, 2 TD
Swift Lyle (St. Paul’s) – 14/22, 236 yards, 2 TD
Luke Prewett (Briarwood) – 9 carries, 52 yards
JR Tran-Reno (Briarwood) – 15 carries, 48 yards
Carson Eddy (Briarwood) – 4 carries, 5 yards
Michael Hiers (Briarwood) – 17 carries, 0 yards
Jordan Ingram (St. Paul’s) – 15 carries, 44 yards
Swift Lyle (St. Paul’s) – 4 carries, 33 yards
AJ Finley (St. Paul’s) – 8 carries, 18 yards
Zack Gray (St. Paul’s) – 1 carry, 8 yards
Hudson Hartsfield (Briarwood) – 5 catches, 78 yards, 2 TD
Carson Eddy (Briarwood) – 2 catches, 29 yards
JR Tran-Reno (Briarwood) – 1 catch, 6 yards
Jarrett Eaton (St. Paul’s) – 3 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD
Jalyn Armour-Davis (St. Paul’s) – 3 catches, 55 yards
Oliver Willman (St. Paul’s) – 3 catches, 29 yards, 1 TD
Jordan Ingram (St. Paul’s) – 2 catches, 49 yards