Gardendale led most of the game, but a late comeback effort by host Briarwood Christian to tie the game looked like a sure thing — until Khaleb Burdette intervened.
Burdette blocked an extra point by Lions kicker Jordan Box with just 88 seconds remaining, after Briarwood took advantage of a Rockets fumble, and Gardendale escaped with a 31-30 victory Friday night.
Jordan Howard gained 202 yards on 34 carries for his best game of the season so far. He scored two touchdowns: the game’s first on a 3-yard run midway through the first quarter, and again just seconds into the second quarter from the 1.
Jesse Blackburn had a big game on both sides of the ball, with two interceptions of Wilkins passes at linebacker, then caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Juan Jackson with 34 seconds left in the first half. That score put the Rockets up 24-10 at halftime.
The Lions (1-4) came back in the third quarter with a 12-yard scoring run by Wilkins, but Gardendale quarterback Hunter Crook countered early in the fourth with a 1-yard touchdown sneak.
Daniel Robert caught a pair of touchdown passes from Wilkins, the second of which went for 38 yards and cut the Briarwood deficit to seven points midway through the fourth.
Blackburn had eight receptions for 121 yards, plus six tackles to go with the two picks.
Jackson pulled down two interceptions as well.
Sam Peacock was 4-for-4 on extra-point kicks, and also had a 29-yard field goal for the Rockets (2-3).
Crook was 16-for-21 passing for 177 yards.
Gardendale returns to region play next Friday as they host Huffman.