MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- For a while, it looked like the wily veteran coaches might pull the upset over the upstart young first-year guy. Problem: the first year guy, Al Pogue, had more players, and the players made plays. Result: Carver-Montgomery 21, Briarwood Christian 13.
Wolverines slays the Lions.
Briarwood, which is led by veteran head coach Fred Yancey and grizzled defensive coordinator Mike Forrester, nearly out-schemed Pogue and his young staff. The Wolverines will take their 12-0 mark into round three of the 5A playoffs, while the Lions ended their season at 9-3.
After the teams swapped field goals, Briarwood took a brief 6-3 lead, but couldn¢t hold it. Carver got a 44-yard TD run from Andrew Pitts and a 12-yard scoring pass from Reggie Aaron to Jamel Johnson, the latter coming just 37 seconds before intermission.
Carver took a 15-6 lead to the dressing room under historic Cramton Bowl, and never looked back, other than briefly when Chandler Packard of Briarwood hauled in a 78-yard TD catch to get his team back in it.
The Wolverines will take on upstart Demopolis, upset winners over Shelby County, next week.
To the categories:
TOP PROSPECT: Big Brandon Moore of Carver has successfully made the switch from stud defensive lineman to overpowering left tackle on offense. He¢s a reason the Wolverines are unbeaten, and Pogue knows it too well.
"Oh man. He's made the transition to offensive tackle very well," Pogue said. "He's created some massive holes. He gives our quarterback time to throw. He's a great asset to have on offense."
Yancey is impressed with Moore, too.
"He¢s a college prospect like I¢ve not seen in a long time," he said. "He¢s got those big long arms, and when he locks on, kids don¢t get away from him. I'd play him on offense at the next level, because he's got all the tools to be a pro tackle, some day."
SENIORS WHO SHINED: Moore is good. There is no doubt. But Vandy commitment Walker May battled him tooth-and-nail all night, and showed why the Commodores found him SEC-worthy.
On one play, Carver ran a "Wild Wolverine" formation with a direct snap to a running back. May was not fooled, and threw his opponent for a loss, after beating Moore¡s block. These two will likely meet again down the road on a Saturday afternoon, perhaps during a Bama/Vandy game. May seems to be in on about half his team¡s tackles.
Carver receiver Johnson, in addition to his TD, made a one-handed grab to set up Pitts¢ score. He also picked up several first downs on possession catches.
JUNIORS TO WATCH: He'll need to get a bit more consistent, as a drop on a sure 4-yard TD showed, but the youngest of the Castille brothers has a future. Caleb is a wide receiver and kick returner for Briarwood.
"Extremely talented. Fast kid. Very disciplined," Pogue said. "He plays hard every play."
"We¢ve been real proud of Caleb," said Yancey. "He's learned how to catch the ball a little better. He¢s getting a little bit better each week."
Chances are on the Briarwood defense that if May does not make the tackle, linebacker Justin Shade will. He had a dozen stops unofficially, twice blew up screens, and got a big sack on a blitz.
"He's getting stronger, and more experienced, and he can play football with about anybody," said Yancey.
Shade (5-10, 214) is built a lot like Prince Hall. Despite his height, Yancey says Shade, like Hall, will play linebacker on the next level.
Carver kick return man Jeremy Banks is one of those guys who brings the crowd to its feet each time he touches the ball. He also plays in the secondary, and made a huge pick late in the game to quell a Briarwood march.
SUPER SOPHS: Carver has three, and they are the starting linebacker corps.
"You have Jamie Barlow, Terry Curry and Robbie Mangum," Pogue said. "Jamie and Robbie both flow well, and pursue the ball well, and Terry is just a hard-nosed hard worker."
Briarwood quarterback Paul Barber will vouch for that, and he won't soon forget the lick Curry (5-11, 210) laid on him on a draw for a yard loss. Mangum is 6-1, 220, while Barlow is 6-0, 225.
CRIMSON CONNECTIONS: Their uniforms may look just like Notre Dame, but make no mistake about one thing: the Briarwood football program is crimson-laden. Two assistant coaches played for the Tide, line coach David Hannah and secondary mentor Chris Donnelly, and both have championship rings from different decades.
No less than five players have dads who wore the Crimson: Castille (Jeremiah), Shade (Sam), receiver Ramsey White (Darryl), Josh Fields (Paul) and Carson Meadows.
HOW ABOUT THEM DOGS: They don't serve burgers at Cramton Bowl, which is too bad, because the chili dog is just OK. Not bad, mind you, but the look on the young volunteer server's face when she got a tip was more well worth it than the dog itself. Much more.
NEXT: FNL's third round game will be in Prattville, where the top-ranked Lions play host to Auburn High School at historic (see a theme?) Stanley Jensen Stadium.
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