Chelsea hosts arch-rival Briarwood


Photo by Cari Dean

After an impressive road victory over Class 7A Oak Mountain in last week’s season-opener, the Chelsea Hornets will come home tonight for their annual rivalry matchup with Briarwood.

The Hornets (1-0), who got impressive performances from senior tailback Zalon Reynolds and senior quarterback Matthew Marquet in the opener, will look to extend their winning streak over the Lions to three in a row. Reynolds rushed for 179 yards and Marquet picked up 121 on the ground in the win.

While Briarwood didn’t play in a real game last week, the Lions did struggle to stop the rush against Vestavia Hills in a tune-up jamboree. The Rebels rushed for 232 yards on Briarwood. Chelsea hopes to continue that trend after putting up 318 yards on the ground – for a 6.6 yards per carry average – last week.

In addition to the solid offensive performances from Marquet and Reynolds, who scored four touchdowns and was a nominee for’s Player of the Week, the Hornets also got nice work out of senior safety Bryson Hardy, who was in on 12 tackles. Junior linebacker Hunter Offord was in on 11 stops, while Jalyn Miller had a crucial game-clinching interception.

Briarwood went 5-7 last season and made the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. The Lions have dropped down to Class 5A for this year. Leading the way for Briarwood will be senior quarterback William Gray.

Although Chelsea has won the last two in the series, the wins came by a combined six points. Last year’s win came in dramatic fashion, with Marquet connecting on a 45-yard touchdown pass with Ben Prater in the final minute of the game. Briarwood leads the all-time series with Chelsea, 19-8-1.