Broad Run High School, Ashburn, Va. (November 21, 2014) — They say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
Final score –
Briar Woods (8-4) 9 0 0 6 | 15
Broad Run (9-3) 0 17 0 0 | 17
In both halves of the 5A North region quarterfinal pitting the Broad Run Spartans against their neighborhood rival Briar Woods Falcons, it was the final minutes — even the final moments — which mattered most.
The homestanding Spartans crammed 10 crucial points into the last 40 seconds of the first half, benefitting from Chuck Davis’ interception to set up Sam Sergi’s long field goal which boosted Broad Run’s momentum into halftime.
Then, in the waning seconds of the second half, Davis rose up again. The senior star knocked aside a two-point conversion pass intended for Briar Woods’ big tight end Mark Birmingham in the deep corner of the end zone, keeping Broad Run ahead by two with 20 seconds left, effectively sealing the deal in the Spartans’ favor.
“That was our sixth ballgame that came down to the last drive,” Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis said. “It’s nice when you’re blowing everybody out, but what do you learn about yourself as a team? Our players keep fightin’, keep diggin’.”
In between, it was a lot of big pass plays by Brady Reitzel as the strong-armed senior hit four different receivers for gains of 20 yards or more.
Marcel Mingo’s wizardry with the ball in his hands, juking and dashing most of 35 yards to paydirt after taking a Reitzel swing pass, converted a 4th-and-4 test into the go-ahead touchdown for the Spartans.
It was a lead, taken in the final minute of the first half, that would be unchallenged until the final minute of the second half.
“I was just trying to get open and make a big-time play,” Mingo said.
Mingo and Davis were joined by Andre Chinnery and Clyde Bryson in turning in big-play receptions.
“They wanted to double me, to take me out of the game,” Davis said. “We have athletes all over the field, and they all came up big tonight.”
Griffis commended the play of his defense, which kept the Falcons’ own arsenal of weapons largely silent throughout the frigid evening. Outside of two Carter catches and a Ben Maffe run, Briar Woods did not run a play from scrimmage for longer than 18 yards.
Twice in their offensive zone, the Falcons fumbled it away to the Spartans. Meech Hembry and Matt Meier were credited with the recoveries.
“We didn’t capitalize on some big plays, but our defense stepped up and made plays when they had to,” Griffis said.
Broad Run won the turnover statistic, taking it away three times while giving it away twice. The Spartans committed the game’s first giveaway on their opening possession, when a poor snap got past Reitzel for Briar Woods to recover at the 30.
The Falcons went for the jugular immediately. Jake Maffe lofted it up for Tristan Carter, who shed his defender and nabbed the ball for the quarterfinal’s initial score.
Broad Run’s Chris Moore blocked the ensuing extra-point try, but the Falcons were back at it late in the first when Ben Maffe — a run-first quarterback brought in to spell his throw-first older brother — ran for a fourth-down conversion, eventually leading to a Jackson Funke field goal.
Late in the first, Zach May intercepted a Reitzel pass into the end zone to thwart the Spartans’ first opportunity to score.
“What I saw was two good teams playing their butts off,” said Falcons head coach Charlie Pierce, highlighting his team’s defensive effort in keeping Broad Run scoreless throughout the second half.
The Spartans got off the schneid on their first drive of the second quarter. Reitzel engineered a drive of 72 yards, topped off by Bryson’s 17-yard zigzag to the zone.
Then came Davis’ and Sergi’s pre-halftime heroics, setting the stage for a defensive-minded second half climaxed by Davis swatting the ball away from Birmingham’s waiting hands.
“I just wanted this so bad for these kids,” Griffis said. “They’re a hard-working group of young men, they’ve really persevered and they did what it took to win.”
After the Falcons outlasted the Spartans in overtime of last year’s 5A North final, it was a touch of revenge for the boys from Ashburn’s most tenured varsity football program to upend the boys from Ashburn’s newest.
“Considering all the distractions, I’m very proud of this team and how they kept their focus to be able to do what we did,” Pierce said.
The Falcons’ tumultuous season concludes in down fashion, losing three of their last four and ending any chance of a fourth state title in five years. The Spartans move on to another playoff tilt against a local team when they travel to Leesburg to face Tuscarora.
1 / 10:12 – Briar Woods TD (Jake Maffe 30-yd pass to Tristan Carter; Jackson Funke kick blocked)
1 / 1:33 – Briar Woods FG (Jackson Funke 33-yd kick)
2 / 10:40 – Broad Run TD (Clyde Bryson 17-yd run; Sam Sergi kick)
2 / 0:39 – Broad Run TD (Brady Reitzel 35-yd pass to Marcel Mingo; Sam Sergi kick)
2 / 0:06 – Broad Run FG (Sam Sergi 40-yd kick)
4 / 0:20 – Briar Woods TD (Jake Maffe 4-yd pass to Mark Birmingham; 2-pt pass failed)
Broad Run stats –
Rushing: Brady Reitzel 10-24; Clyde Bryson 4-40, 1 TD; Meech Hembry 3-7; Marcel Mingo 2-9; Willie Smallwood 2-4; Chuck Davis 1-(-2)
Passing: Brady Reitzel 9 of 17 for 205, 1 TD, 1 INT
Receiving: Chuck Davis 2-24; Jaleel Robinson 2-19; Tyriek King 2-13; Clyde Bryson 1-76; Andre Chinnery 1-38; Marcel Mingo 1-35, 1 TD
Briar Woods stats –
Rushing: Dillon Blevins 17-53; Ben Maffe 16-81; Jake Maffe 3-1; Jordan Hinson 2-1; Anthony Martinez 2-(-2); Anthony Carino 1-2; Brady Scott 1-1
Passing: Jake Maffe 8 of 12 for 104, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Receiving: Tristan Carter 5-90, 1 TD; Mark Birmingham 2-4, 1 TD; Brady Scott 1-10
Other scores –
Stone Bridge 44, North Stafford 29
Loudoun Valley 37, York 14
Tuscarora 42, Wakefield 14
Salem 38, Woodgrove 28
James Monroe 23, John Champe 7
Region semifinals –
No. 4 Broad Run (9-3) @ No. 1 Tuscarora (12-0), Friday 1 p.m.
No. 3 Stone Bridge (10-2) @ No. 2 Massaponax (12-0), Friday 7 p.m.
No. 3 James Monroe (10-2) @ No. 2 Loudoun Valley (9-3), Saturday 2 p.m.