By Hanna Duenkel
LoCoSports Photo Editor
Ashburn (November 10, 2015) — Friday, November 6 brought in a few surprises as Broad Run High School (7-3) hosted Tuscarora High School (10-0), with the Spartans hoping to demolish Tuscarora’s undefeated streak. While Broad Run did hold the lead for all but 61 seconds of the game, the Huskies did score a last minute touchdown that sealed the win with a 43-42 score and completed their second straight undefeated regular season.
It was a whole different atmosphere as both teams stepped onto the newly minted turf in Ashburn for the final game of the regular season, away from the mud and torn up grass that they had come accustomed to when playing at Broad Run. From there, the Spartans and Huskies battled it out on the field, with Broad Run holding dominant and Tuscarora playing a constant game of catch-up.
“We came out and said that we’re just going to keep running our stuff and if they stop us and they beat us, then they outplayed us,” Tuscarora senior quarterback Daniel Smith said. “I think that we kept doing our stuff and started doing it better, executing it better, and like I said, our defense at the end got a huge stop and we got a little more energy, which really helped.”
The entire night, Broad Run junior quarterback Kyle Brickerd threw multiple 30- or more yard passes and snagged his senior receivers, Jaleel Robinson and Clyde Bryson, for four combined touchdowns, as well as running in one touchdown himself. In the little time where the Spartans had possession of the ball, they made every second count, using their time wisely for large gains and eventually, a few more touchdowns.
When halftime rolled around, the Spartans were leading 28-20, giving the Huskies the time that they needed to formulate a plan to make a comeback. At that point, the Spartans had held a lead for the majority of the first half, leaving Tuscarora with the question of if they were going to steal the lead from the home team.
Tuscarora remained under Broad Run’s heavy control of the ball until the last 1:16 in the game, when the Spartans turned it over. From there, the Huskies rushed the ball downfield, with significant progress made by seniors Nic Speroni, Taj Malave-Neely and James Douglas, and made their way to the end zone, tying up the score with the Spartans, 42-42. All Tuscarora needed for a win was a completed extra point kick, which junior kicker Yassine Elmellouki made seamlessly.
“I mean, we hadn’t even gotten the ball back yet and I looked at James [Douglas] and said ‘we’re going to get the ball back with a minute left in this game,’” Smith said. “I have total confidence in our team that we’re going to find a way to get a win. As you can see, this is three or four games where we’ve had to score in the last few minutes to win and we’ve gotten it done every time.”
This was not the first night where the Huskies were in a scramble to score before the clock ran out. Over the course of the regular season, Tuscarora was put in danger of a loss four times, in games against Briar Woods, Potomac Falls, Centreville and, now, Broad Run, where they were forced to score in the last few minutes to ensure the win.
“We’re just preparing week to week. This is not the most talented team, but they are really tough and so we know that we can’t just go out and expect to blow people out and win every game. We’re going to have to fight, that’s how we approached every week and these guys kept doing it,” Tuscarora head coach Mike Burnett said.
On November 13, both teams host their opponents for the first round of the VHSL 5A North region playoffs, with Broad Run hosting the Briar Woods Falcons (3-6) and Tuscarora hosting Patrick Henry High School (5-5) from Roanoke.
1Q 5:59 T Taj Malave-Neely 11-yard TD run (PAT failed)
1Q 5:42 BR Kyle Brickerd to Jaleel Robinson 60-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
2Q 11:28 BR Kyle Brickerd to Jaleel Robinson 10-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
2Q 7:36 T Daniel Smith to Nic Speroni 41-yard TD pass (2pt failed)
2Q 4:44 BR Kyle Brickerd 5-yard TD run (Sherman PAT)
2Q 2:38 BR Kyle Brickerd to Clyde Bryson 57-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
2Q 0:47 T Daniel Smith to Nic Speroni 26-yard TD pass (2pt good)
3Q 8:18 BR Kyle Brickerd to Clyde Bryson 20-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
3Q 1:59 T James Douglas 2-yard TD run (2pt good)
3Q 0:36 BR Meech Hembry 7-yard TD run (Sherman PAT)
4Q 5:59 T Daniel Smith 13-yard TD run (2pt good)
4Q 0:44 T Daniel Smith to Gunnar Biebighauser 8-yard TD pass (Elmellouki PAT)