Sterling, VA (October 16, 2016) – Kicker Alex Nemar connected from 18-yards to cap Potomac Falls’ come-from-behind 17-14 overtime win over the Briar Woods Falcons on homecoming night, Friday, October 14th.
Viva Loudoun photographer Aaron Wyche was on hand to cover the action and posted this GALLERY with 287 images.
An interesting sub-plot to the match-up was how the Panthers were taking the field for the first time this season without their top general, Coach Paul Barnes, whose need for a new bionic hip has him sidelined. If his absence impacted the game, it showed in the first half as the Falcons’ defense not only stuffed the Panthers’ rushing attack, but also negated the passing game. Briar Woods defenders even caught more passes from the Potomac Falls’ quarterback than the home team’s own receivers in the first half.
Offensively, Marshall University commit Ben Maffe did all the scoring for Briar Woods, breaking free for long touchdown runs of 77 and 55 yards to put his Falcons up 14-0 at the half.
“Coach Barnes wasn’t there that game, so at halftime we got him on the phone,” shared Potomac Falls playmaker Kaevon Chase. “He told us personally we were fine, that we still have the second half, and that he believed in us so we did it for him. We were always taught to never give up and how it’s not over until there are triple zeros on the clock.”
Fullback Kash Jackson added, “Coach Barnes told us keep our heads up and that this is our game. Our other coaches also emphasized the need to wrap up better on tackles and finish the play, and eventually our conditioning will take over and from there on out it would be our game. We as a team never give up on a play. We love to play very physical and let people know we’re here to battle.”
Potomac Falls came out stronger on both sides of the ball in the second half. Jackson, who made several big plays on defense in his first action at linebacker this year, got the Panthers on the board midway through the third, running over a Briar Woods defender to score from 8-yards out.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Chase hauled in a 31-yard jump ball on third and long to tie the game. Both teams had chances to move the ball into scoring position in the game’s final minutes, but neither could break through.
In overtime, Briar Woods started with the ball, but Panther LB Grant Griffith jumped on a Falcon fumble on the second play to end the Falcons’ possession without a point. Potomac Falls ran the ball down to the 1-yard line on the first three plays of their OT possession, setting the stage for Nemer’s winning kick.
Leading up to the kick Nemar shared, “I tried my best to block everything out and focus on what I had to do to make that kick. I knew they were going to try and ice me with a timeout, but all it did was give me extra time to focus on everything I had to do to make that kick for the team and win the game.”
The win propelled the Panthers to 6-1 on the season and 2-1 in conference play. Potomac Falls has now beaten Briar Woods three years in a row, a streak that began with a shocking 8-7 upset win in Ashburn in 2014. The Falcons won eight of the first nine meetings since the two schools began playing each other in 2007, many by large margins.
Panthers 17, Falcons 14 (OT)
BWHS: Maffe 77 run (Moreno kick), 6:18
BWHS: Maffe 55 run (Moreno kick), 5:24
PFHS: Jackson 8 run (Nemer kick), 5:33
PFHS: Chase 31 pass from Lawall (Nemer kick), 7:26
PFHS: FG Nemer 18, 00:00
PFHS: Jackson 26 – 102, Mpanya 6 – 47, Raqi 4 – 19, Lawall 15 – 9, Ferguson 1 – 7, Nemer 1 – 4
BWHS: (Team totals) 40 – 291
PFHS: Lawall 5 – 13 – 1 – 89, 2 INT
BWHS: Thomas 3 – 8 – 0 – 6, INT
PFHS: Chase 4 – 86, Jackson 1 – 3