SHELBY COUNTY, Alabama -- The #2 Mountain Brook Spartans used a stingy defense to get a 17-7 win over Briarwood Christian in a Class 6A, Region 5 game tonight. Mountain Brook only gave up a third quarter touchdown to Briarwood Christian but then the Spartans answered on a score of their own to put the game out of reach the way the Spartans defense was playing.
Mountain Brook (6-1, 4-0) forced three interceptions on the night which really helped the Spartans defense for most of the night. Blake Pugh had two interceptions and James Nichols had the other one for the Spartans. "The secondary has the best chemistry on the team, we all are best friends," said Spartans DB Pugh. "We love to play together. I saw the second in the air and was glad I got it, but I wanted to run in back but my teammates just told me to get down so I thought that was the right thing to do. It's a great feeling to see our defense get the turnovers for our team. I thought we played pretty well and stayed in our coverage. We had our one breakdown but didn't let that get us down. We just kept playing our game."
The Spartans scored first in the game when Paulson Wright scored on a 37-yard reverse run for the touchdown. With the score, Mountain Brook led 7-0 with 7:07 left in the first quarter. The Spartans touchdown came off a nine play, 71-yard drive to start the game. In the second quarter, Pugh picked off a Lions pass to keep Briarwood out of the end zone on one of their only two first half drives. Both teams kept the ball on the ground eating up the clock for the first half. Both teams only had two possessions in the half.
Right before the half, the Spartans used a two minute drill to get a Reed Harradine 36-yard field goal with only three seconds left in the half. With the score, Mountain Brook a 10-0 lead at the half.
Midway through the third quarter, Briarwood Christian scored on a Christopher Vizzina to Luke Reebels 49-yard touchdown pass play for the Lions. With the score, the Lions cut the Spartans lead to 10-7 with 4:53 left in the third quarter. Mountain Brook came right back after the Lions score to answer on a 65-yard drive and a few plays later Strother Gibbs scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Spartans up 17-7 with 1:00 left in the third quarter. "My only option was to score on that play. The line did a good job of blocking for me to get into the end zone," said Spartans QB Gibbs. "I saw a lot of fight in the team and I think it carried over from the second half of the Thompson game last week. Great to get this win over a great football team that is well coached. A lot of good talent on that team. A lot of good athletes. I was ready to get back on the field and just wanted to compete with the team."
After sitting out last week at Thompson, the senior quarterback had 125 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown along with 10-of-14 passing with 108 yards on the night. "Strother is such a great leader and gave this team a pep in their step being on the field tonight," said Spartans Head coach Chris Yeager. "I know what it is like to play without him and we don't want to do that again. They defense played well and very proud of the secondary. I thought we had a good pass rush during the game. We fought hard."
Michael Brogan had 84 yards on 19 carries for the Spartans.
Up next for both teams, Mountain Brook with host Homewood while Briarwood Christian is off next week.