By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (Nov. 28, 2014) – Just hours after finishing their Thanksgiving dinners the boys of fall at Tuscarora and Broad Run high schools met at Fortune Field in Leesburg for a VHSL 5A North region semifinal match up as the Huskies defeated the Spartans, 35-14, to advance to the VHSL 5A State semifinal next weekend.
Tuscarora dominated the ground game as senior running back Noah Reimers covered 243 yards on 37 carries including four scores while his junior teammate Daniel Smith scored once on a quarterback keeper.
“We were just going to pound the ball at them and that’s what we did. We would be really relentless grinding them down then hit them for a big play,” Reimers said. “The epitome of our whole team is to keep working hard and busting our butts on every play and things will happen. Our offensive line never gives up and never gives up, it makes my job easy.”
The Huskies offensive line is regarded as one of the best in the state and while Reimers gives his line credit for his success, senior lineman Noah Klemm noted Reimers’ dedication is the major reason for his prowess.
“He pushes just as much as we push him. He makes us do extra reps, just like we make him do it,” Klemm said. “It’s obviously a mutual effort, that’s why we work so well together. He gives us the credit, but he makes our job look easy.”
Klemm and the offensive line opened up a big hole for Reimers early in the first quarter as he broke free in the open field for a 54-yard touchdown run. Without wanting to outdo himself, Reimers decided to only run for 53 yards in route to his fourth touchdown four minutes into the final frame.
“In past years I have struggled with my breakaway speed so I just did some work in the offseason,” Reimers said. “Now I have that confidence, when I get in the open field I can pull away from people. It’s great to do it in front of these fans every day.”
With the win, the No. 1 Huskies have earned the right to host the VHSL 5A North region championship – which doubles as a VHSL 5A State semifinal – next weekend versus the winner of the VHSL 5A North region semifinal between No. 2 Massaponax and No. 3 Stone Bridge.
“We’ve been looking to make a deep run like this and go to the state finals for a full year. To finally see all the work you put in payoff is a beautiful thing. We get another game at home, that’s gorgeous,” Reimers said.
Klemm acknowledged playing at home is great, but that the Huskies have to go into every game with a clean slate.
“You have to go into it with a 0-0 record and work hard, and it will all work out,” Klemm said.
It has worked out so far this season for the undefeated Huskies (13-0), and Tuscarora head coach Michael Burnett noted the reason for their success against their rematch with Broad Run on Nov. 28 was stopping Spartan senior quarterback Brady Reitzel from using his feet.
“We did a better job containing Reitzel so our DBs could focus on the passing game,” Burnett said. “He hurt us last game getting on the edge. When that happens, it’s hard to cover people because our defensive backs start worrying about him.”
Tuscarora’s defensive line held Reitzel to just 31 yards rushing – and the whole Spartans team to just 57 yards on the ground.
“We just wanted to keep pressure on him and keep him from getting a nice crisp pass,” senior defensive lineman William Larson. “Coach Burnett does a great job of coaching up the defensive line which helps us get a lot of pressure on the QB.”
Reitzel was able to connect with senior receiver Tyriek King for a 8-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter and then on a momentous drive late when he drilled King with a 20-yard pass to get inside the red zone on a 4th-and-9 situation. Just three plays later Reitzel found senior receiver Chuck Davis in the end zone for a late Spartans score.
“I’m proud of the way our kids played all year long. We keep talking about perseverance and riding it and pushing through, and our kids fought all season long,” Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis said. “We played a lot of tight ball games, and they never quit. They always believed in themselves and believed in their teammates. That’s all I can ask of them.”
On the other side, Burnett acknowledged he has had to ask a lot out of his quarterback, but that throughout the season junior Daniel Smith has risen to the occasion including when he connected with senior receiver Jordan Fisher for a 43-yard pass in the third quarter which eventually led to another Reimers’ touchdown run.
“It’s hard being a quarterback in our system where you’re going to hand the ball off a lot. It’s great having a kid like Daniel where he can run and pass,” Burnett said. “He had some really nice, tough runs and passes today. He’s such a good player, he’s always in the game.”
While Burnett, Smith and the rest of the Huskies will get another chance to lengthen their season next weekend, Griffis wanted his players to understand the outstanding achievement of making it to the elite eight.
“Not a lot of people get to this game. Take it all in: enjoy the cold air, enjoy playing a day game, enjoy playing against a good opponent,” Griffis said. “Take it all in and make some great memories because no matter the outcome you’ll remember this game for a really long time.”
Daniel Smith 6-for-8, 70 yards
Brady Reitzel 13-for-24, 154 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Noah Reimers 37 carries, 243 yards, 4 TD
Daniel Smith 6 carries, 18 yards, 1 TD
Ishmael Williams 6 carries, 17 yards
Bryce Sorrell 2 carries, 1 yard
Mateo Taylor 1 carry, 1 yard
Brady Reitzel 14 carries, 31 yards
Clyde Bryson 4 carries, 17 yards
Willie Smallwood 2 carries, 5 yards
Kyle Brickerd 1 carry, 3 yards
Meech Hembry 1 carry, 1 yard
Chuck Davis 1 carry
Jordan Fisher 2 receptions, 49 yards
Bryce Sorrell 2 receptions, 13 yards
Jason Chubbuck 1 reception, 10 yards
Noah Reimers 1 reception
Chuck Davis 4 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
Tyriek King 3 receptions, 48 yards, 1 TD
Jaleel Robinson 2 receptions, 21 yards
Marcel Mingo 2 receptions, 13 yards
Andre Chinnery 1 reception, 10 yards
Willie Smallwood 1 reception, 9 yards
1Q 9:33 T Noah Reimers 54-yard TD run (Underhill PAT)
1Q 0:18 T Noah Reimers 13-yard TD run (Underhill PAT)
2Q 7:27 BR Brady Reitzel to Tyriek King 8-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
2Q 0:23 T Daniel Smith 1-yard TD run (Underhill PAT)
3Q 1:04 T Noah Reimers 1-yard TD run (Underhill PAT)
4Q 8:12 T Noah Reimers 53-yard TD run (Underhill PAT)
4Q 4:26 BR Brady Reitzel to Chuck Davis 21-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently in his senior year at Syracuse University. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.