School Spotlight: Briarwood Christian Lions (Birmingham, AL)

Briarwood Christian School is a private school in Birmingham, Alabama, founded by the Briarwood Presbyterian Church in 1965. Briarwood’s mascot is the Lions and their school colors are blue and gold. The school participates in the 6A classification of the Alabama High School Athletics Association. Some notable alumni are NFL cornerbacks Simeon Castille and Kalan Reed, and current Troy Offensive Coordinator Joe Craddock. Briarwood’s last Head Coach Fred Yancey is second on the list for the all-time winningest Alabama High School Head Coaches. He has won 3 state titles in 1998, 1999, and 2003. The Briarwood Football Team is led by current head coach Matthew Forester. 

Coach Forester is a graduate of Briarwood Christian. Coach Forester worked closely with retired head coach Fred Yancey in his 29 years of coaching and 6 state title appearances. Coach Forester played for Yancey, became an assistant under him, became defensive coordinator under him, and eventually became head coach when he decided to leave. Forester was on Coach Yancey’s first championship team as a player. He was an assistant for Yancey in 2010 and 2017, both times making it to the state championship game. Coach Forester took over the program in 2019, going 12-2. The very next year Briarwood moved up to 6A and went 8-3, then 10-2 in 2021. Last year Briarwood took a step back and went 3-7, missing out on the playoffs. 

Last year was a very unlucky year for Briarwood, considering the key injuries that they had to endure during the season. When you are playing at such a high level (a 5A team playing at the 6A level) key injuries are costly and could hurt you like this past year. The core standards of the program do not have to change, considering Coach Yancey built a dynasty and this is not a project to build from the ground up. However, Coach Forester must make the culture his own without completely altering it. There will be changes on both sides of the ball this upcoming year after a great offseason in the weight room. The kids are excited for spring training and ready to compete for next year’s season after a disappointing one. Briarwood is looking to be back on top of the 6A hierarchy this upcoming year. Coach Forester shared some guys that he believes will lead the team and be relied upon heavily next year.

#71 Luke Schultz is a 6’7” 285 lb class of 2024 Offensive Tackle. Luke is a strong and powerful 2-year starter with really good footwork and a really hard worker. Luke is a next level player. 

#13 Cooper Higgins is a 5’10” 145 lb class of 2024 Running Back. Cooper is an athlete who simply makes plays with the ball in his hands. 

#60 Lude Solomon is a 6’2” 270 lb class of 2024 Interior Offensive Lineman who mainly plays Center. Lude is a late bloomer who will be relied upon heavily next year with big expectations.