Ashburn, Va. — With 11 seconds left in the first half, the Broad Run High School football team had a decision to make: attempt a 19-yard field goal attempt to draw within three points of Tuscarora or put the ball in their veteran gun slinger’s hands with an opportunity to take the lead. The Spartans chose the latter.
Broad Run senior quarterback Mitch Griffis took the snap, rolled to his right, and connected with senior receiver Lance Lacny on a 2-yard touchdown pass. Kicker Isaac Latimer drilled the extra point to the take the lead; a lead Broad Run would never relinquish, as the Spartans used mid-game momentum to defeat the Huskies, 28-26, in front of an opening-night crowd on August 29 in Ashburn.
“Executing that play on 4th-and-goal with no time left just shows you that we’re going to get it done,” Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis said. “Our kids refuse to lose, and they refuse to get stopped in those situations.”
Their late first-half momentum carried over into the second half as Griffis hit senior receiver Romy Miner with a 63-yard touchdown pass on the Spartans’ first play from scrimmage. Then on Tuscarora’s first offensive play of the second half, Broad Run senior linebacker Chaz Allison recovered a Huskies’ fumble to completely stun the Tuscarora faithful.
A couple drives later Griffis again connected with Lacny, this time on a 4-yard touchdown pass, to extend the Spartans’ lead to 28-13.
“That play, I kid you not, we played backyard football in eighth grade against our buddies, and Lance would roll out, he would block, and if he came open, he would pop right out,” Griffis said. “I looked at him and said ‘let’s do it.’ We never practiced that, but we practiced it in my cul-de-sac a thousand times.”
When you play guys like Noah Gick and Matei Fitz on the defensive line and you get sacked zero times, you got to give credit to the guys up front. Without them, this game is not even close.
Down two scores, the Huskies weren’t ready to give in. Tuscarora senior quarterback Ethan Gick responded by leading a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives, the second coming with less than a minute to play in regulation, bringing the Huskies within two, pending the conversion attempt.
On the two-point conversion attempt, Gick was patient and found his intended receiver standing alone in the middle of the end zone. As he released the pass, Broad Run senior defensive back Cam Chambers broke to his right and knocked the pass to the ground, ending Tuscarora’s comeback attempt.
“Broad Run is clearly one of the best teams in the state. I challenged our kids in the third quarter to see what kind of team we were going to be in the hole we were in. I’m blown away by the fight our kids showed,” Tuscarora head coach Brandon Wheelbarger said. “Obviously a loss still hurts, but the lessons we learned and the adversity we faced will help us in the long run.”
Despite the loss, Tuscarora showed a lot of fight throughout the game and actually got the scoring started early in the first quarter when Gick hit senior receiver Jevonn Gilyard with a 37-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-10. On the Spartans’ ensuing drive, senior defensive back Mikey Marquez picked off Griffis on a deep ball to grab the early steam.
“We faced adversity right away, and we rebounded really well. We showed a lot of grit tonight,” said Griffis, who is committed to Wake Forest. “We respect Tuscarora a great deal. We know they’re going to come out every week and practice hard and play hard. We know they’re going to fight until the end.”
In the end, however, it was Broad Run who opened its season with a win, and a big one at that. Following the huge Week 1 matchup, both teams will quickly get back to the drawing board as the Spartans (1-0) prepares to travel to Brooke Point and the Huskies (0-1) ready for Potomac Falls on September 6.
“It’s the first game, so things never go as planned, but I was really proud of our kids,” Coach Griffis said. “We didn’t show any jitters. We played hard, and we played with grit.”
|1Q||9:13||Tuscarora||Ethan Gick to Jevonn Gilyard 37-yard TD pass (PAT blocked)||0-6|
|2Q||9:46||Broad Run||Mitch Griffis 1-yard TD run (Isaac Latimer PAT)||7-6|
|2Q||5:00||Tuscarora||Ethan Gick 1-yard TD run (Max Skirkanich PAT)||7-13|
|2Q||0:05||Broad Run||Mitch Griffis to Lance Lacny 2-yard TD pass (Isaac Latimer PAT)||14-13|
|3Q||11:41||Broad Run||Mitch Griffis to Romy Miner 63-yard TD pass (Isaac Latimer PAT)||21-13|
|3Q||3:27||Broad Run||Mitch Griffis to Lance Lacny 4-yard TD pass (Isaac Latimer PAT)||28-13|
|4Q||7:31||Tuscarora||Bryce Duke 1-yard TD run (Max Skirkanich PAT)||28-20|
|4Q||0:54||Tuscarora||Ethan Gick to Jevonn Gilyard 8-yard TD pass (2pt failed)||28-26|