Ashburn, Va (October 17, 2014) – Both home and visiting stands were full, the temperature at game time in Ashburn was a pleasant 67 degrees and the breeze was soft. A perfect evening for a matchup between two of Virginia’s top high school football programs which went to the 6-1 Briar Woods Falcons as they edged the 4-3 Broad Run Spartans 28-21. A cursory look at the game stats suggest the two teams suggests a dead-even game. The Falcons gained 298 yards on 46 plays with 17 first downs while the home team gained 323 yards on 57 plays and 18 first downs. But in the end a Falcon defense that bent but did not break and a versatile offense that threw three distinct looks at Spartans translated into victory.
“You have a group of intelligent young men who work hard and are dedicated, good things can happen on the field,” said head coach Charlie Pierce after the game. Offensive coordinator Jared Develli “took advantage of the bye week and worked in some new packages.” It was those new offensive formations that, in the end were the margin of victory.
The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead after QB Jake Maffe connected with WR Tristan Carter and TE Mark Birmingham for touchdowns of 28 and 36 yards. Maffe completed 10 of his 13 passes for 116 yards in the game for two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Later in the second quarter the Spartans responded with two touchdowns that made the score 14-14 at halftime. A 46 yard pass completion from Spartan QB Brady Reitzel (16/28, 242 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT) to WR Chuck Davis for 46 yards set up Reitzel’s nine yard touchdown pass to WR Jaleel Robinson. On their next possession Reitzel’s 32 yard completion to Davis set up his one yard touchdown run.
Broad Run received the second half kick-off, presenting the Falcons with the challenge of interrupting the momentum the Spartans had gained in the second half of the second quarter. The Spartans made two first downs and got the ball into Falcon territory at the 36 yard line but could get no further before having to punt. The Falcons’ defensive front line of Bryan Capozzoli (nine tackles), Mark Birmingham, Alex Ronk and Brandon Barksdale held the Spartans to 2.8 yards per carry. Linebacker Dominic Moore’s was there to stop runners who penetrated the front line and finished with eight tackles.
There was no scoring in the third quarter setting up the exciting finish in which the Falcons scored two touchdowns to one for the Spartans. Briar Woods got the ball at the Broad Run 44 as the fourth quarter commenced. In came the single wing with Ben Maffe at QB. Ben Maffe started things off with a 10 yard gain and two plays later an 11yard rush. WR Brandon Polk’s 23 yard sweep put the ball on the four yard line. Ben Maffe’s two rushes of two yards each put the ball into the end zone. Briar Woods led 21-14 with 11:08 on the clock.
The Spartans responded with an 18 play drive covering 68 yards punctuated by six penalties, three by each team. Two pass interference calls in a row on the Falcons preceded Reitzel’s 19 yard touchdown throw to Davis.
Riley Canan returned the short kickoff 11 yards to the Falcon 40 with five minutes left in the game and the score knotted at 21. The single wing came back on the field but the Falcons’ first play resulted in a six yard loss. Now was the time for offensive formation #3 which featured Brandon Polk as quarterback in the wildcat formation and Josh Thomas in the slot. Thomas immediately ran 18 yards for the first down and eight yards on the ensuing first and ten. Having established Thomas as a threat, Polk kept the ball on the option and ran 25 yards to the 14. Thomas completed the drive with a 14 yard touchdown run. If anything, the wildcat worked too well as the Spartans got the ball back with 3:10remaining in the game. Starting at their 30 yards line they had the opportunity to send the game into overtime.
Briar Woods penalties on the first two plays of the drive moved the ball 25 yards closer to the end zone. Then Reitzel hit WR Alex Galloway on a 16 yard pass completion. Three plays later the Spartans found themselves with a fourth and nine from the Falcon 11 with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Reitzel let fly and the pass was broken up by CB Anthony Page with help from S Jacob Rosen. When no flag was spotted the Falcons took possession, took a knee and the victory was secured.
Next week the Briar Woods Falcons travel to Sterling to meet the Park View Patriots.
Broad Run travels to play Potomac Falls
Article submitted by George Khalsa