Chelsea defeats rival Briarwood

Hornets take on Southside next


Chelsea vs. Briarwood 2015 (Photo courtesy Cari Dean)

The Chelsea Hornets football team opened its season in victorious fashion Friday night, defeating host Briarwood 21-16 in exciting, last-minute fashion.

Chelsea led for most of the evening, but Briarwood took a 16-15 lead – its first advantage of the game – with 2:40 left on the fourth-quarter clock.

Chelsea (1-0) got the ball back and moved the ball into Briarwood (0-1) territory with about a minute left in the contest. At that point, junior quarterback Matthew Marquet found senior wide reciever Ben Praytor streaking behind the defense for a 45-yard touchdown pass to put the Hornets on top for good.

Briarwood’s final hopes were dashed on the ensuing possession when senior defensive back Kalen Russell picked off a Lion pass to seal the Hornet victory. It was Russell’s second interception of the game, and the fifth of the night by the Chelsea defense. Junior cornerback Bryson Hardy had two interceptions of his own, and senior linebacker David Hardenbergh also had a pick.

Chelsea took a 9-0 halftime lead thanks to a halfback pass from senior running back AJ Jones to junior wideout Jay Vickers. The Hornets also got a field goal from junior Tyler Thomas. In the second half, Marquet added a 30-yard touchdown run.

The victory over the rival Lions marked the second straight year Chelsea has knocked off Briarwood.

Chelsea will look to improve to 2-0 on Friday when it hits the road again, this time to take on Southside-Gadsden. Chelsea came out on top when the two teams met in Chelsea a year ago. Southside sports a 1-1 record on the season. The Panthers lost to Oxford in their opener, but posted a big win over Hokes Bluff last week. Southside features a strong defense and junior running back Alaric Williams, one of the top players in the country in the 2017 class and an Auburn commitment.