As Briar Woods hung around in the third quarter, Broad Run went on a 21-point run to leave no doubt.
Final score –
Briar Woods Falcons (3-8) 10 0 7 0 17
Broad Run Spartans (8-3) 14 9 14 7 44
1 / 7:07 – Briar Woods TD (Bradley Block 2-yd run; Edgar Moreno kick)
1 / 6:45 – Broad Run TD (Kyle Brickerd 72-yd pass to Chris Moore; Will Sherman kick)
1 / 4:41 – Broad Run TD (Kyle Brickerd 4-yd pass to John Birchmeier; Will Sherman kick)
1 / 0:53 – Briar Woods FG (Edgar Moreno 30-yd kick)
2 / 5:55 – Broad Run TD (Kyle Brickerd 1-yd run; Will Sherman kick blocked)
2 / 0:55 – Broad Run FG (Will Sherman 43-yd kick)
3 / 11:43 – Briar Woods TD (Bradley Block 66-yd pass to Josh Thomas; Edgar Moreno kick)
3 / 6:29 – Broad Run TD (Meech Hembry 6-yd run; Will Sherman kick)
3 / 2:40 – Broad Run TD (Meech Hembry 57-yd run; Will Sherman kick)
4 / 9:37 – Broad Run TD (Meech Hembry 56-yd run; Will Sherman kick)
Broad Run High School, Ashburn, Va. (November 13, 2015) — As is typical when the Falcons of Briar Woods tangle with their crosstown foes in the Spartans of Broad Run, there was no small number of good plays and no small amount of high drama.
Most of those plays and that drama, it turned out, happened in the first half and the first minutes of the second half. Thereafter, much of the high drama was gone and most of the good plays were firmly on the home team’s side.
Let me start in the middle, with arguably the evening’s most exciting play. The Falcons came out of the halftime locker room with this play in their back pocket, and they knew they needed to hit this play on all cylinders to keep the score workable and the Spartans worried.
So hit it they did. To perfection.
First play from scrimmage in the second half, with the score 23-10 in favor of Broad Run, Briar Woods drew something up in the dirt. Quarterback Skyler Springs pitched it to featured back Bradley Block running right. Instead of diving toward the line, searching for yards, as everyone in the stadium expected him to do, the sophomore gave ground, drew back and hurled it deep down the sideline.
The only man in the vicinity was the megafast Josh Thomas, who caught it and strode into the zone for the creep-back score. The Briar Woods side of the festivities exploded with cheers into the chilly, clear air.
Neither they nor anyone else knew then that they’d seen the last of the Falcons’ offense for the night – and the fall.
“Our defense did a great job,” Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis said. “Our defensive line does a tremendous job, our linebackers do a tremendous job, our DBs did a great job of keeping everything in front. The heart and effort, just unreal.”
Right away, the Spartans got methodical. Broad Run QB Kyle Brickerd popped it into the gut of star back Meech Hembry, who’d found the going tough through his 28-yard first half. He’d equalled that by his fourth carry of the second half, part of a long Hembry-centered march down the gridiron for an important answering score.
Staked back to a 13-point, two-score advantage, the Spartans settled down and never let their neighborhood guests get back up again. After defending a Briar Woods fake punt at midfield, the Broad Run offense again turned to Hembry, and he again turned it upfield for a 57-yard dash to paydirt. The margin reached a new high of 20 with less than 15 game-minutes left to play.
“We’d been trying to go up the middle [earlier in the game], and they were stacking the box a little bit,” explained Hembry, who added a fourth-quarter interception on defense for good measure. “So we started going off tackle. Our fullback, Daniel Hall, he opened up some holes pretty well.”
The Spartans didn’t stop playing, and in fact ran the same play, to the same guy, for the same result, on their next series. Hembry’s 56-yard TD looked a whole lot like his 57-yarder, just one yard longer. Senior wideout Jaleel Robinson was noticeable with a strong downfield block to spring his teammate.
“Our wide receivers did a great job of blocking along the perimeter,” Griffis praised. “Everybody thinks wide receivers just want to catch balls, and my guys want to catch balls and they do a good job of it, but I was really proud of how they blocked tonight.”
Hembry’s workday was thus completed, and the Spartans wound down the clock against their intra-Ashburn rivals from Brambleton. The Falcons earned a small victory to end their campaign, when senior Kyle Robey broke free to block a Will Sherman 23-yard field goal.
Since I began in the middle, let’s go back to this one’s beginning and scope out the exciting plays that made it so close in the second half’s early stages.
Just as the second half began with a bang for Briar Woods, the Falcons appeared ready for takeoff at the opening bell, too. With Springs behind center for injured regular D’Andre Thomas, the give went to Block, and the ball went rumbling 43 yards to the doorstep of Broad Run’s goal-line. Block and his blockers finished the job on the next play, stuffing it in from a couple yards out.
The Spartans equalized immediately. Brickerd connected with speedy Chris Moore on a bomb, and the future University of Virginia cornerback nabbed it in stride at the 40 and used his long, loping pace to outrun a man to the promised land.
Another two minutes, and Broad Run was on the run again. Senior linebacker Matt Meier secured a bounding fumble before it escaped out of bounds, and Brickerd engineered a quick drive which culminated in a pass to the back of the end zone where tight end John Birchmeier got his two big paws on it.
(Moore provided the highlight-reel fodder for that series, catching a nearly intercepted pass on the deflection to set the Spartans up inside the Briar Woods 5. Good hands for a d-back.)
The Falcons then drove inside the Broad Run 15, but settled for an Edgar Moreno field goal. Briar Woods’ defense gave its offense another crack at it when Riley Garcia pounced on a fumble, but the resulting possession proved fruitless.
Up merely four in the last half of the second quarter, the Spartans faced a 4th-&-short that was made too easy when the Falcons’ defensive line jumped. Broad Run took advantage, engineering a running drive ending in Brickerd’s short scamper behind a cavalcade of blocks.
Briar Woods was held to three plays and a punt on its ensuing possession, giving the ball back to the home team with a 10-point lead and three minutes to work with. The drive stalling around the 30, Sherman brought out that soccer-striker right leg of his and bombed one, helped unnecessarily by the wind, deep into the Ashburn night and cutting through the uprights.
It was enough momentum – and, more germanely, enough points – to carry the Spartans through halftime and into the second half, holding a game bunch of Falcons at bay for the duration.
“If you asked people back in January what our record was going to be, not one person would have told you 7-3 in the regular season. Not one,” Griffis declared. “Our kids knew we were going to play eight away games, that people were going to doubt us. But we had the right attitude day in and day out, and dag gonnit if they don’t come out and work hard every day and want to get better. They’re a real fun group to be around.”
Immediately upon the contest’s conclusion, the thoughts of the guys in maroon and gold turned to their nearer Ashburn neighbors, the Stone Bridge Bulldogs. A playoff edition of the Battle Of The ‘Burn is set for the same stage this Friday.
Earlier this campaign, the Bulldogs upended the Spartans, dealing their rivals a 27-13 loss to destroy any notions of a perfect season for the Spartans. It is a fresh and painful memory for the Spartans, one they’d like to replace.
“Who do we want?” Griffis, yelling, asked his team.
Everybody already knew the answer, but delighted in giving it anyway.
“Stone Bridge!” came the emphatic, deep-throated, multi-voiced reply.
They’re gonna get their playoff wish.
Broad Run stats –
Rushing: Meech Hembry 19-218, 3 TDs; Kyle Brickerd 18-76, 1 TD; Clyde Bryson 4-24; Clinton Kumi 3-7
Passing: Kyle Brickerd 7 of 17 for 152, 2 TDs
Passing: Chris Moore 3-109, 1 TD; Nick Federovitch 1-15; Clyde Bryson 1-12; Jaleel Robinson 1-12; John Birchmeier 1-4, 1 TD
Briar Woods stats –
Rushing: Bradley Block 19-135, 1 TD; Skyler Springs 8-23; Josh Thomas 1-(-2)
Passing: Skyler Springs 13 of 20 for 80, 1 INT; Bradley Block 1 of 1 for 66, 1 TD
Receiving: Josh Thomas 9-127, 1 TD; Mark Birmingham 2-10; Ryan Rutkowski 2-5; Jonathan Villatoro 1-4
Other scores –
Woodgrove 40, Heritage 13
Potomac Falls 21, Wakefield 6
Tuscarora 42, Patrick Henry 7
Stone Bridge 49, Orange County 13
Next round –
Stone Bridge at Broad Run
Atlee at Tuscarora
Potomac Falls at Massaponax
George Washington-Danville at John Champe
Woodgrove at Sherando
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for Viva Loudoun Media Communications