Ashburn, Va. — It was a night to remember for about a dozen football players and their families at Broad Run High School: celebrating four years of dedication to the Maroon and Gold before the final home game of the regular season.
But for the Spartans, a few injuries meant a change of plans. The most notable was senior quarterback Mitch Griffis yielding the start to his younger brother.
“I am super proud of him for stepping in and doing his job,” Mitch Griffis said. “I was happy to be able to witness his first start.”
Just a sophomore, Brett Griffis had a tall task in front of him: make his first varsity start, celebrate his brother’s senior night, and lead his team to a win over a surging rival.
Brett was up for the challenge.
After tossing a 45-yard touchdown pass on the Spartans’ opening drive, Brett settled in, managed the clock, and led Broad Run to a 24-7 win over rival Briar Woods on November 1 in Ashburn.
“There was a lot of emotion tonight. It’s my brother’s senior night, and he’s my best friend,” Brett Griffis said. “It was nerve wracking, but after the offensive line did a great job on the first three snaps, Cam Chambers took one to the house on the slant route, so that relieved the nerves. After that, I was good to go, feeling confident.”
The young shot caller ended his night with 180 passing yards and a touchdown while rushing for 29 more yards and another score, however, his biggest contribution on the night was his patience and his ability to manage the clock.
There was a lot of emotion tonight. It’s my brother’s senior night, and he’s my best friend.
–Broad Run quarterback Brett Griffis
After receiving the kickoff to open the second half, Griffis orchested a scoreless, 60-yard drive, but the Spartans chewed up 8:07 of clock, before handing the ball over to the Falcons with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter.
“Brett learned a lot tonight. He did a really good job managing the game,” Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis said. “We run a lot of RPO, so he did a good job of not forcing passes, so I was really proud of that. When he felt like he could take calculated chances, he did.”
Broad Run senior athlete Bennett Millar and fellow sophomore Kyle Davis joined Griffis in the running game as the Spartans rushed for more than 130 yards against a physical Briar Woods defense.
“We had a lot of young players step up today, and everyone just executed their roles,” Millar said. “We came out to compete, and everything went according to plan.”
The Spartans’ defense also rose the occasion without senior middle linebacker and captain Chaz Allison. In the first half, Broad Run – led by senior linebacker and captain Kesean Dyson – held Briar Woods to just 43 yards of total offense, which included a 9-yard run while in a quarter package in the waning seconds of the second quarter.
“Our defense works so hard every week and just does a tremendous job,” Coach Griffis said. “It allows us to take more risks offensively knowing how good our defense is.”
The Falcons were unable to get much going in the first half. After taking over late in the third quarter, Briar Woods saw some success in tempo as the Falcons more than doubled their yardage in a single drive, before Broad Run forced a turnover on downs on the first play of the fourth quarter.
We had a lot of young players step up today, and everyone just executed their roles.
–Broad Run athlete Bennett Millar
Briar Woods, however, had an immediate response as Chambers coughed up a fumble on the first play of the Spartans’ ensuing drive, which was recovered by Briar Woods junior linebacker Evan Rutkowski.
From there, the Falcons kept the ball on the ground and in the hands of their junior quarterback Christian Greene, who concluded the short, 23-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
After that touchdown run, Broad Run continued to dominate time of possession, holding the ball for more than eight minutes in the fourth quarter, before Griffis capped off his first career start with a 13-yard touchdown run.
“I was in no hurry to run plays, which is the exact opposite of what we usually do,” Coach Griffis said. “When you’re up two scores to start the fourth quarter, you don’t need to score, you just need to eat clock. I thought our guys did a good job just moving forward and getting the first downs.”
Broad Run (9-0) – who has already clinched the Dulles District No. 1 seed – hopes to take the momentum from their rivalry win into the much anticipated Battle of the Burn against Stone Bridge (9-0) on November 8 in Ashburn.
“In big games like this, when the pressure hits, that’s when we excel the most,” Millar said. “Most teams fold under pressure, but I think it makes us better as a team.”
|1Q||8:24||Broad Run||Brett Griffis to Cameron Chambers 45-yard TD pass (Isaac Latimer PAT)||7-0|
|1Q||1:01||Broad Run||Bennett Millar 2-yard TD run (Isaac Latimer PAT)||14-0|
|2Q||2:40||Broad Run||Isaac Latimer 26-yard field goal||17-0|
|4Q||10:06||Briar Woods||Christian Greene 5-yard TD run (Riley Callaghan PAT)||17-7|
|4Q||1:40||Broad Run||Brett Griffis 13-yard TD run (Isaac Latimer PAT)||24-7|