Broad Run goes up big early to stave off Briar Woods, but the Falcons never let the Spartans out of their sights.
Final score –
Briar Woods Falcons (1-4) 7 0 7 7 = 21
Broad Run Spartans (3-2) 19 3 6 7 = 36
1 / 10:56 – Broad Run TD (Meech Hembry 2-yd run; kick snap failed)
1 / 8:46 – Briar Woods TD (Julian Posas 5-yd run; Edgar Moreno kick)
1 / 3:11 – Broad Run TD (Meech Hembry 5-yd run; Atilla Buri kick)
1 / 0:00 – Broad Run TD (Ryan Braithwaite 57-yd run; Atilla Buri kick)
2 / 0:22 – Broad Run FG (Atilla Buri 29-yd kick)
3 / 10:03 – Briar Woods TD (Skyler Springs 35-yd pass to Ben Maffe; Edgar Moreno kick)
3 / 1:45 – Broad Run TD (Meech Hembry 6-yd run; Atilla Buri kick)
4 / 8:52 – Briar Woods TD (Ben Maffe 4-yd pass to Riley Garcia; Edgar Moreno kick)
4 / 3:05 – Broad Run TD (Meech Hembry 20-yd run; Atilla Buri kick)
Broad Run High School, Ashburn, Va. (September 23, 2016) — It was pretty much your standard-issue Broad Run-vs-Briar Woods football game, a hotly contested and highly skilled rivalry tilt showcasing big-time players making big-time plays.
It just so happened most of the plays went the Spartans’ way, as it was the home team who emerged ecstatic about their triumph over their foes from down the road in the Viva Loudoun TopTicket Of The Week between the Spartans of Broad Run High School and the Falcons of Briar Woods High School.
“The energy was crazy at school all week,” said the Spartans’ very happy senior lineman Erik Davenport. “It was all about beat Briar Woods.”
It was also one of those unusual outcomes where neither head coach was displeased about his team’s performance.
Broad Run’s Matt Griffis was especially not displeased. The boys in maroon and gold jumped for true joy when Griffis topped off his postgame speech by saying he’d see them on Monday, granting them the weekend off.
“Earlier in the season we lost to Potomac Falls because we weren’t clean with penalties and turnovers. Today we didn’t have that,” he said. He’d just seen his team play an entire victorious game committing one penalty and no turnovers.
“They’re a team that’s explosive offensively, so we wanted to keep the ball out of their hands.”
The Falcons, for their part, coughed the ball up on the opening kickoff but never again thereafter, and were flagged just three times. Briar Woods’ Charlie Pierce knows what his record is, but he also knows what his team is.
“We’re 1-4, but we’re not the same 1-4 team we were last year. No question about that,” said the man with three decades’ experience coaching this game. “We fought hard. I never ever questioned our heart, our work ethic, anything.”
But the first words out of the veteran coach’s mouth had to do with a fellow on the other team.
“They had a great running back, best one we’ve seen all year,” Pierce said. “You’ve got to be able to make plays on a great running back. If you don’t, they continue to be successful on drives and take away clock.”
The running back Pierce refers to was good – and plenty. Forty-seven times Meech Hembry took the prolate spheroid and ran with it, six times for more than 10 yards and four times for six points.
“It’s no secret what we’re gonna do, right?” Griffis said. “Give the ball to No. 2. He’s a heck of a runner and the guys up front have been doing some great blocking.”
Griffis had praise for his team writ large, particularly backup lineman Javier Varela who stepped into injured starting center Connor Gorey‘s role, issuing errorless snaps.
The Spartans stuffed the Falcons with a steady diet of Hembry, starting right away when Broad Run’s Donovan Hale tackled opening-kick returner Samari Springs, causing a fumble the home team grabbed. Three plays and one 23-yard Hembry run later, Hembry was in the end zone.
Briar Woods came back immediately. Senior quarterback Skyler Springs found 6-foot-5 receiver Nik Schuder, who zigzagged for post-catch gain on a 73-yard pass play. The offensive line escorted Julian Posas for the touchdown on the next play.
So it was Broad Run’s turn again, meaning it was Hembry’s turn. He converted a pair of third downs on a methodical drive he finished himself, showing speed to the right edge in reaching paydirt.
One punt later, the Spartans were back in business, approaching midfield in the first quarter’s waning seconds. Senior quarterback Ryan Braithwaite, a wildcat specialist, took the shotgun snap and took off, showing bigness as he busted through tackling linebackers before showing fastness as he steamed toward the end zone.
The second quarter consisted mostly of a long Broad Run drive, which itself consisted mostly of Hembry carries. Atilla Buri hooked through a field goal for the final points of the first half.
Briar Woods made things interesting again as soon as the second half got underway. The Falcons forced a Spartan punt which never happened because the snap was bad and the Falcons took over at the 35. That’s where Springs dropped back and lobbed a perfectly placed downfield pass to a moving Ben Maffe for a quick TD strike.
Each team made the other pay for its lone turnover mistake.
Broad Run’s lead was eight but the strategy was unchanged. An exchange of punts later, Hembry propelled a drive that ended with his third TD, and the Spartans were again up 15.
The Falcons weren’t done. The fourth quarter dawned with the visitors having the ball, relying more on the power rushes of 220-pound Maffe. The future Marshall Thundering Herdsman ran off a couple lengthy carries around Springs’ scramble to convert a 4th-&-4.
Briar Woods faced another 4th-&-4 with goal to go, called timeout and set up a play. It worked to perfection, as Maffe took the handoff, faked a step toward the line and shotputted a jump-pass to tight end Riley Garcia in the end zone. The Falcons were again one score away with more than half a quarter left.
Enter Hembry. The stud senior ball-hogged, chewing yards and draining clock. A 4th-&-short conversion robbed Briar Woods of time, and an exclamation point of a Hembry TD scamper gave Broad Run the game.
“We don’t have any me-me-me kids,” said Griffis, who praised the teamwide blocking effort that helped Hembry collect all those yards. “We just have a bunch of kids who say, ‘What can I do to help the team win?'”
Battle For a Better Cause
The evening’s theme centered around the raising of money and awareness toward the prevention of cancer, an affliction that has struck throughout Loudoun including the Briar Woods and Broad Run communities.
Taylor Love is a two-time cancer survivor about to reach her 17th birthday. Her short life has been affected already by neuroblastoma and chemotherapy-induced leukemia, both challenges she continues to rise to. She and her family were recognized prior to the game.
A moment of silence was held in memory of Gavin Rupp, the Ashburn resident who passed away three years ago from gioblastoma brain cancer. He was 13.
Broad Run’s public address announcer informed the crowd that cancer, which claims 2,500 American kids’ lives every year, is the most deadly disease to children. The PA concluded the pre-game remarks with, “Remember, kids can’t fight alone.”
Broad Run stats –
Rushing: Meech Hembry 47-266, 4 TDs; Ryan Braithwaite 1-57, 1 TD; Mitch Griffis 5-9; Corey Phillips 1-1
Passing: Mitch Griffis 4 of 6 for 35
Receiving: Daniel Hall 2-26; Donovan Hale 1-6; Ibn Da’Wuh Earl 1-3
Briar Woods stats –
Rushing: Ben Maffe 11-66; Skyler Springs 8-23; Julian Posas 6-14, 1 TD
Passing: Skyler Springs 7 of 18 for 140, 1 TD; Ben Maffe 1 of 1 for 4, 1 TD
Receiving: Jake Kleifges 5-32; Nik Schuder 1-73; Ben Maffe 1-35, 1 TD; Riley Garcia 1-4, 1 TD
Other scores –
Dominion 30, Loudoun Valley 16
Loudoun County 21, Freedom 6
Heritage 28, Rock Ridge 7
Champe 46, Park View 20 (Thurs.)
Tuscarora 21, Centreville 14
Stone Bridge 34, Westfield 16
Potomac Falls 54, Marshall 20
Woodgrove 50, Millbrook 15
Brentsville 52, Riverside 7 (Sat.)
Off week for: None
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for Viva Loudoun Media Communications