By Josh Meyers
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Ashburn (November 15, 2015) — In one of the highest pressure first round playoff games in the whole state, the Broad Run High School Spartans (8-3) ended the season for the Briar Woods High School Falcons (3-8) in the VHSL 5A North region tournament. The 44-17 game was a crucial step in what the Spartans hope to be a state championship winning season and another painful loss to a Briar Woods program which struggled to put up wins against one of the toughest schedules of opponents in Virginia.
“Our mindset is completely different,” Broad Run quarterback Kyle Brickerd said. “After losing a couple of games we realized we are beatable and need to work harder. It humbled us. All of us focus on the little things and getting better each day at practice.”
With the stands filled on both sides, Briar Woods jumped out to an early lead with a long drive ending in running back Bradley Block going down the middle for six.
The lead would not last for long as on the next Broad Run possession receiver Chris Moore took advantage of a Briar Woods’ blown coverage going 72 yards for six.
“It’s the trust factor that I can throw to them, and they’ll make a play,” Brickerd said.
Broad Run looking to take the lead, tried repeating the play that led to their first touchdown. Brickerd – again looking for Moore – threw into double coverage and was rewarded when Moore made the catch off the defender’s shoulder pad to bring the ball to the 5-yard line. The junior quarterback then found tight end John Birchmeier in the end zone for the touchdown giving the Spartans their first lead of the game.
“We all saw [the momentum coming]when Chris made that great catch,” Brickerd said. “They definitely boost my confidence, and I know they have my back.”
After Briar Woods kicker Edgar Moreno hit a 26-yard field goal, Broad Run running back Meech Hembry — who has run for more than 2,000 yards this season — got started and would not stop the rest of the game.
A Hembry tackle-breaking run to the 4-yard line, paved the way for a Brickerd 1-yard keeper to extend the Spartans’ lead to 20-10.
Then on the following Spartan drive, Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis — looking to get a few more points before half time — opted to tell Broad Run kicker Will Sherman to try a 44-yard field goal, which was successful and extended the Spartan lead to 23-10.
“We didn’t really change anything except our play calls at the half,” Brickerd said. “The linemen did really well handling their confusing schemes, and Meech and I could find the holes. We knew we had to be patient.”
Briar Woods again started off the half well, this time with a little trickeration. A half back pass from Block to receiver Josh Thomas went 66 yards for a Falcon touchdown. This would be the last time the Briar Woods team scored, as the Broad Run defense held Briar Woods, through good defensive performances by linebacking core-starters Matt Meier and Brandon Steel.
“Having played them before and knowing what they liked to run, it was much easier to get a feel of what they were trying do and defend against them,” Meier said.
Along with the strong defensive second half, Hembry finally found the end zone midway through the third quarter and got fond of it running in three fast and powerful touchdowns which sealed the win for Broad Run.
With the first round of the VHSL 5A North region tournament in the bag, the Spartans saw a new rival on the horizon, as news spread that Stone Bridge High School had also won their first round playoff game.
“Anytime you play another Ashburn school the emotions run a little high,” Meier said. “There’s more at stake when you’ve been playing against the guys on the other side of the ball since youth league.”
1Q 7:07 BW Bradley Block 3-yard TD run (Moreno PAT)
1Q 6:38 BR Kyle Brickerd to Chris Moore 72-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
1Q 4:41 BR Kyle Brickerd to John Birchmeier 5-yard TD pass (Sherman PAT)
1Q 0:53 BW Edgar Moreno 26-yard FG
2Q 5:55 BR Kyle Brickerd 1-yard TD run (PAT failed)
2Q 0:55 BR Will Sherman 44-yard FG
3Q 11:43 BW Bradley Block to Josh Thomas 66-yard TD pass (Moreno PAT)
3Q 6:30 BR Meech Hembry 6-yard TD run (Sherman PAT)
3Q 2:40 BR Meech Hembry 58-yard TD run (Sherman PAT)
4Q 9:19 BR Meech Hembry 56-yard TD run (Sherman PAT)