By Dan Sousa
Viva Loudoun Editor
Ashburn (Oct. 19, 2013) – The Briar Woods High School defense blitzed Broad Run Friday night, turning five interceptions and five sacks into a 34-0 win before a packed house in Brambleton in the annual Battle for a Better Cause football game.
Briar Woods (6-1) came into the crucial 5A North contest on two weeks rest after a bye week, while Broad Run (5-2) had just three days to prepare after an emotional come-from-behind win Monday over Tuscarora.
“We had a really good two weeks of practice,” said Briar Woods senior quarterback Trace McSorley. “On defense we changed up our blitzes and coverages.”
McSorley, a Vanderbilt recruit, had another standout night on both sides of the ball as he threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns to senior Melvin Holland, JR., on 13 of 18 passing. He also led the Falcons in rushing with 73 yards on eight carries, including a score, and he had the first of the Falcons four first-half interceptions.
“He’s one of a kind,” said Briar Woods coach Charlie Pierce about McSorly who has now passed for more than 8,000 yards in his high school career with 87 touchdowns. As a starter McSorley has led Briar Woods to three consecutive state titles at the 4A level and is 48-4 overall.
Broad Run came in averaging 37.7 points per game but the Spartans were blindsided early by a a fired up Falcons defense and were shut out for the first time since Sept. 15, 2006 when the Spartans lost to Jefferson, W.V., 20-0.
“You always learn lessons from something like this,” said Broad Run coach Matt Griffis, who said he would have loved to have had a full week to prepare against the Falcons but wasn’t going to use it as an excuse for the loss.
The parking lot at Briar Woods was full well before kickoff time and a satellite parking lot was set up as fans flocked to the game between two bitter rivals that also serves as an annual fundraiser for a good cause. This year’s contest was played in the memory of Gavin Rupp, a 13-year-old Ashburn youth who lost a 3-year battle with brain cancer in July. The iPromise15 foundation, dedicated to the memory of Rupp and with the aim to raise awareness and funding for researching childhood cancers, was the main big winner Friday.
It wasn’t long after the Rupp family participated in the ceremonial coin toss that Briar Woods took control of the evening.
The tone for the defensive pressure on Spartan junior quarterback Brady Reitzel (15 of 38 passing for 234 yards) was set on the first series as Briar Woods sophomore defense end Mark Birmingham sacked Reitzel to force a punt.
“We knew he was a good quarterback out of the pocket so we wanted to try to contain him while putting pressure on him,” said Briar Woods senior linebacker Chris Larco, who led the Falcons with seven tackles Friday including a sack. “We got to him … everybody was flying to the ball.”
Briar Woods and McSorley, taking over at the Falcons own 22, showed on its first three plays that they were going to be able to mix both the passing and running game up as McSorley connected with senior Tristan Miller on a 3o-yard gain on the Falcons first snap and on the next play McSorley rambled for 18 more yards. On a 3rd-and-9 from the Broad Run 29, McSorley found Birmingham for 14 yards. McSorley then carried it down to the 1 where Larco did the honors for the first touchdown with 7:41 to go in the first quarter.
On Broad Run’s very next play, a pass was deflected up in the air and McSorley, who had five tackles in the game, hauled in the interception at the Spartan 36. McSorley threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Holland three plays later and it was 14-0 after senior Nick LaFrankie’s point after kick.
The Spartans were able to move the ball during the game but three times the Falcons were able intercept passes inside their own 10 yard line. Senior B.J. Hinson’s pick at the 6 halted a 9-play Spartan march and Briar Woods moved 77 yards in eight plays to make it 21-0 at the end of the first quarter with junior Brandon Polk taking an inside handoff and motoring around the let side untouched for a 6-yard score.
By the time Briar Woods junior Chris McMillian intercepted the first of his two passes on the night on Broad Run’s next possession, again halting a promising drive deep in Falcon territory, the Briar Woods student section began chanting “We Want Stone Bridge” … a reference to a possible 5A North playoff match-up with the Bulldogs, which would be a first-ever meeting between the two Ashburn schools.
“I did hear it,” said McSorley of the fans chant. While McSorley said he didn’t want to discuss a possible Falcons vs. Bulldogs match-up … he then added: “It would be a great game.”
While Broad Run rallied from a 16-7 deficit in the final quarter against Tuscarora Monday, there would be no comeback Friday as the Falcons added another touchdown in the second quarter on a shifty McSorley 13-yard TD run and the half closed out with senior Mitch Krisfalusi intercepting the ball at the Falcons 5 with 35 seconds left and Briar Woods up 27-0.
Krisfalusi had his hands full all night with Broad Run senior wide receiver Travis Fulgham. The 6-foot-3 Fulgham finished with 101 yards on four catches.
The Briar Woods defense not only put pressure on Reitzel, but the Falcons shut down the Spartans running game, holding Broad Run to 58 yards rushing — thanks in part to the lost yardage on sacks — and Spartan senior Da’Wwan Earl, who came in averaging nearly seven yards a touch, was bottled up to just 26 yards on 11 carries.
The Falcons running game, meanwhile, was moving the chains all night, picking up 242 total yards.
In the second half, Briar Woods threatened to add to the 27-0 lead but three fumbles, including one into the end zone kept the scoreboard idle. The Falcons tacked on a late touchdown with McSorley finding Holland again, this time from the 2 on a fourth down and goal call with 3:24 left. By that time, many fans were already heading to the exits to beat the traffic out of the parking lot.
Briar Woods 34, Broad Run 0
BR 0 0 0 0 – 0
BW 21 6 0 7 – 34
1 BW Larco 1 run (LaFrankie kick) 7:41
1 BW Holland, Jr., 24 from McSorley (LaFrankie kick) 7:00
1 BW Polk 6 run (LaFrankie kick) 0:07
2 BW McSorley 13 run (kick blocked) 5:00
4 BW Holland Jr. 2 from McSorley (LaFrankie kick) 3:24
BR: Hilberath 9-49, Earl 11-26, Reitzel 9-(-17). Totals 29-58.
BW: McSorley 8-73, Hinson 6-48, Larco 8-45, Ford 5-32, Martinez 2-29, Polk 2-9, Miller 1-6. Totals 32-242.
BR: Reitzel 15-38-5, 234 yards
BW: McSorley 13-18-0, 176 yards
BR: Fulgham 4-101, Hilberath 3-17, King 2-49, Kryzwicki 2-31, Davis 2-11, Robinson 1-17, Earl 1-8.
BW: Miller 3-47, Holland, Jr., 3-29, Polk 3-27, Martinez 2-24, Canan 1-35, Birmingham 1-14.