Tuscarora High School, Leesburg, Va. (November 7, 2014) — Before the first quarter was half-over, the Tuscarora Huskies had scored two touchdowns on three plays in one minute of possession, setting a tone that wouldn’t change all game long.
In a matchup billed as a season-ending showdown between the area’s most prolific state-championship team in recent years, and the team with the highest championship ceiling this year, the up-and-comer drubbed the established program in historic fashion.
Final score –
Briar Woods Falcons (7-3) 0 0 0 0 0
Tuscarora Huskies (10-0) 14 7 13 7 41
1 / 9:26 – Tuscarora TD (Noah Reimers 50-yd run; Finley Underhill kick)
1 / 6:36 – Tuscarora TD (Noah Reimers 49-yd run; Finley Underhill kick)
2 / 1:11 – Tuscarora TD (Daniel Smith 4-yd run; Finley Underhill kick)
3 / 10:05 – Tuscarora TD (Noah Reimers 47-yd run; Finley Underhill kick)
3 / 5:34 – Tuscarora TD (Daniel Smith 1-yd run; Finley Underhill kick missed)
4 / 5:55 – Tuscarora TD (Daniel Smith 6-yd pass to Jason Chubbuck; Finley Underhill kick)
With the blowout shutout, the senior-laden Huskies polished off the first undefeated regular season in the program’s meteoric five-year history, all under head coach Michael Burnett. Tuscarora also earned its first 10-win season ever and the school’s first football championship of any kind, clinching the Potomac District crown.
The decisive victory — the Huskies’ first ever at the Falcons’ expense — also delivered home-field advantage to Tuscarora until the state title game.
“It’s the product of what these kids have been building towards for four years. This group of kids has worked harder than any group I’ve ever had,” said Burnett, looking up at the throng of Husky supporters departing Fortune Field. “Another big factor tonight was our crowd. They’re amazing. They make it easier for us to play.”
On the coldest Friday night of the high school football season, Tuscarora’s rambunctious student section kept themselves warm by continuous frivolity and noisemaking. Their urging strains to keep alive the shutout were answered, and at game’s end the students were permitted to join their classmates on the unbeaten football team for jumping, chanting and celebrating en masse.
They had a lot to celebrate.
By the time the game was six minutes old, senior running back Noah Reimers had shot through gaping holes created by the Tuscarora offensive line to break off scoring runs of 50 and 49 yards. Meanwhile, the Huskies’ defense held Briar Woods to a three-and-out and a fourth-down stop on their first two tries.
“This was a game that was won up front,” Burnett assessed. “We were able to move the ball and do a lot of different stuff up front, and we were able to stop them defensively. I thought our front seven was great, and I thought our [pass] coverage was great. It was really a team effort.”
Running behind Tuscarora’s massive, athletic line manned by seniors Riley Hartman, David Chalmers, Jack Corso, Noah Klemm and junior Anson Brasselle, Reimers had 203 yards rushing by halftime, putting his season total over 2,000 and making him the first Husky back ever to hit the two-grand mark.
“Tonight, I felt like we controlled the line of scrimmage,” Burnett complimented. “And it’s just so tough for any one person to bring [Reimers] down.”
The Falcons, who suffered a shocking last-minute defeat at Potomac Falls the previous week, could muster no rebound performance and lost consecutive games for the first time since 2009.
“The better team won tonight. That’s the bottom line,” said Briar Woods head coach Charlie Pierce, the only man ever to hold that post in the Falcons’ 10-year football history.
Offensively, Briar Woods couldn’t stretch the field at all versus the Tuscarora defense. Two quarterbacks combined for a 4.8 yards-per-completion average, and outside of sophomore backup QB Ben Maffe — who showed some late-game energy with his legs after coming in for shaken-up brother Jake — the Falcons managed just one run of more than 10 yards.
“He’s a good athlete and he’s practiced hard, played hard all year,” said Pierce of the younger Maffe.
Speedy wideout Brandon Polk was unavailable to Briar Woods due to shoulder injury. His absence may not have figured much into the outcome, as the Falcons 10 possessions ended with six punt attempts (one botched), two turnovers on downs and two ends of halves.
The 41-0 result is the most lopsided shutout loss ever absorbed by Briar Woods, and is tied with a 48-7 loss to Park View in 2006 — the program’s inaugural varsity year — for the worst loss ever.
Both squads will enter the field of 16 for the 5A North region, with Tuscarora atop that field. Burnett, who led Broad Run to state titles in 2008 and 2009, knows what it’s like to go 10-0 only to fall in the first round of postseason (as occurred in 2007). He aims to avoid that same fate when taking another school to its first perfect regular season.
“These kids have played before in the playoffs. That’s the great part,” said Burnett, whose Huskies made it to last year’s region semifinals. “It’s been fun to watch this group of kids earn the rewards for their hard work. You’ve just got to be prepared for the long run…. I feel like these kids are ready to do that.”
Briar Woods stats –
Rushing: Ben Maffe 12-102; Jake Maffe 6-18; Josh Thomas 5-15; Dillon Blevins 7-0; Jordan Hinson 2-0; Anthony Martinez 1-(-4)
Passing: Jake Maffe 11 of 17 for 64; Ben Maffe 1 of 4 for (-6)
Receiving: Tristan Carter 3-22; Mark Birmingham 3-14; Riley Canan 2-9; Anthony Carino 2-(-5); Anthony Martinez 1-15; Dillon Blevins 1-3
Tuscarora stats –
Rushing: Noah Reimers 19-264, 3 TDs; Daniel Smith 6-13, 1 TD; Bryce Sorrell 5-23; Ishmael Williams 1-4; Nicolas Speroni 1-3
Passing: Daniel Smith 9 of 15 for 117, 1 TD, 1 INT
Receiving: Noah Reimers 3-69; Bryce Sorrell 1-23; Duron Norris 2-7; Nicolas Speroni 1-9; Jason Chubbuck 1-6, 1 TD; Jordan Fisher 1-3
Other scores –
Heritage 35, Loudoun County 32
Potomac Falls 27, Dominion 0
John Champe 43, Park View 7
Woodgrove 49, Loudoun Valley 7
Broad Run 63, Freedom 0
Stone Bridge 53, Thomas Jefferson 8
Off-week for: None
Written by Jason S Rufner