Ashburn, Va (November 23, 2014) – Trailing 17-9 with nine minutes remaining in the game, the Briar Woods Falcons prepared to receive a Spartan punt to be delivered from the Broad Run 30-yard line. Josh Thomas picked it up
the punt at the 18 yard line and ran it back 31 yards. The Falcons were in business with a first-and-10, 51 yards and a two-point conversion away from tying the game. There was 8:23 showing on the clock. It took 15 plays and eight minutes and four seconds but the Falcon offense got the job done. Three plays after QB Jake Maffe hit WR Tristan Carter on a fourth-and-15 from the 29-yard line, he found TE Mark Birmingham in the end zone for a four yard touchdown pass. With only 19 seconds remaining, the Falcons were a two-point conversion from sending the game into overtime.
Then Maffe found RB Dillon Blevins free in the end zone. Blevins caught Maffe’s soft toss and the game was tied. But, no! A yellow flag on the green grass contained the inscription “Illegal Procedure.” The Falcons had to do it again, this time from the eight- yard line. Birmingham and two Broad Run defenders went into the air as Maffe lofted the ball into the right corner of the end zone. Bodies bumped and arms flailed as the ball fell harmlessly to earth. The game was over and the home team Spartan celebration began.
Just about a month ago, in game #7 of the 2014 season the Falcons walked off the same field with a 28-21 victory, as S Jacob Rosen and CB Anthony Page denied Spartan WR Chuck Davis the ball in the end zone on the Spartans’ final offensive play of the game. This evening belonged to Broad Run as they move on to round #3 of the playoffs while the Falcon season comes to a conclusion.
The season began on a positive note with a 36-13 pasting of Brooke Point in the opening game played at home a week before the first day of class. The Falcons travelled to
Stafford County for game #2, a 27-20 loss to perennial 6A playoff contender Colonial Forge. Six consecutive victories followed culminating with a 63-0 domination of Park View. Injuries and off-the-field-problems however, were beginning to take its toll on a football program that finished its last four seasons in the state championship game, coming out victorious in the first three. The Falcons went into a two-game slump losing an 8-7 thriller to Potomac Falls followed by an uncharacteristic 41-0 waxing at the hands of undefeated Tuscarora. The offense was sputtering and the defense had been exploited by the Huskies.
The rest of the story remained to be written by the 2014 Falcons. And while the story ended on an unhappy note, the Falcons bounced back and finished strong. A revived offense led the team to a decisive 50-13 victory over Mountain View in the first round of the playoffs. Then, the final game at Broad Run in which two of Virginia’s best 5A teams would have to battle to the last moments of the game in order to determine a winner.
The game began on a positive note when on third-and-one on the game’s third offensive play, OLB Dominic Moore recovered the errant Spartan snap on the 30-yard line. Maffe immediately hit Carter for a 30-yard touchdown pass followed by a blocked extra point. Despite taking the lead, two aspects of that sequence proved damaging to the Falcons. Moore got up from the fumble recovery with a stiff neck and would not return to action. A second year starter, his loss was a major blow to the defense. And the missed extra point proved to be the margin of defeat in a game in which both teams scored two touchdowns and a field goal.
The Falcons forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Spartan possession before starting their next drive at the 41 after the Spartan punt. The drive lasted 14 plays and ended with a 32-yard Jackson Funke field goal. That would be the last points the Falcons would score until late in the fourth quarter.
Broad Run scored all 17 of its points in the second quarter. RB Clyde Bryson hit pay dirt on a 17 yard run at the 10:40 mark. With 38 seconds remaining QB Brady Reitzel and WR Marcel Mingo combined on a 35 yard touchdown pass and the Spartans had a 14-9 which by all counts promised to be the score at halftime. But CB Chuck Davis intercepted a pass on the Falcons’ first play of the drive at the Falcon 40-yard line. Reitzel hit WR Andre Chinnery on a 38-yard pass setting up a 39 yard field goal by Sam Sergei as time expired in the first half. There was to be no more scoring before the Falcon comeback attempt in the fourth period fell short.
2014 will go down as a season in which the Falcons were bruised and battered before finding themselves and finishing strong. In the last weeks of the season Head Coach Charlie Pierce made
frequent reference to his players about playing “the Falcon Way.” The players got the message and even in defeat, they went out fighting. In the dejected post-game huddle, Pierce found himself at a loss for words. In the end, he decided there was only one thing to say. He had the seniors line up in the front of the huddle and thanked each one of them individually for their contribution to Falcon football. In the three season these young men played on the varsity team, Briar Woods compiled a 50-7 record including winning 15 of 17 playoff games making them Virginia’s top high school football program.
By George Khalsa