Ashburn, Va. — In one of the oddest seasons of high school football on record, the Briar Woods High School football team was excited to suit up when it mattered most: the playoffs. Led by a core group of seniors, the No. 2 Falcons executed in all three phases of the game to cruise to a, 26-8, win over No. 3 Woodgrove in a VHSL Region 5C semifinal on April 9 in Ashburn.
The Briar Woods’ offense was slow to get going as senior quarterback Christian Greene threw an interception in the Falcons’ first-and-only possession of the first quarter. However, like all good competitors, Greene bounced back, tossing a touchdown pass to end Briar Woods’ next drive to give the Falcons a 6-0 lead at the half.
“I think their game plan was to keep us off the field offensively,” Briar Woods head coach Daniel Bruton said. “They did a good job of that: we only had the ball two times in the first half.”
The Falcons got a big spark to start the second half as senior athlete Evan Rutkowski returned the second half kickoff 52 yards down to the Woodgrove 28 yard line. Four plays later, Greene scored his second touchdown of the night, this one a 10-yard touchdown run.
Two offensive possessions later, Greene added his second rushing touchdown of the game to extend the Falcons lead to 19-0.
Then on the first play of the fourth quarter, Greene connected with Briar Woods senior receiver Riley Callaghan on a 29-yard touchdown pass to cap off his four-touchdown night.
“Christian being able to get out of the pocket and make plays out of nothing is a big part of our offense,” Briar Woods senior athlete Evan Smith said. “He’s a dog, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Meanwhile, Woodgrove was without their star junior athlete Price Williams—who was injured late in the Wolverines’ win over Potomac Falls on April 3—and opted to use a variety of wildcat and direct snap formations in his absence. Woodgrove sophomore running back Antonio Cammarota was able to use the direct snap to his advantage in the first half, where he carried the ball 16 times for 63 yards.
“They came out in wildcat which caught us off guard on the first drive,” Smith said. “Once we got locked in and got our energy up, we were rolling on defense.”
And roll they did. The Falcons defense held the Wolverines to just 85 yards of total offense in the second half, while causing two turnovers: an interception by junior defensive back David Hundley and a fumble recovery by Rutkowski.
“They did a good job of running the ball, so we had to adjust,” Bruton said. “Keeping them out of the endzone is the biggest part, and we did that until the end.”
Woodgrove finally got on the board midway through the fourth quarter when senior quarterback Bailey Burton scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. Unfortunately, for the Wolverines, the offensive effort was too little too late.
The Falcons’ semifinal win sets Briar Woods up with a rematch with Ashburn-rival Stone Bridge, who beat the Falcons, 56-29, in Brambleton on March 5.
“We just want to keep playing. We’re as happy as we can be right now,” Smith said. “Stone Bridge is a great team; they play hard, they’re coached right. We’re going to need to be on point.”
And with revenge on their minds, the Falcons know the monumental challenge that’s ahead of them when they travel across town to Stone Bridge on April 16 for the VHSL Region 5C championship game.
“This time of year, not many teams get to play games that matter, so being able to play in games that matter and playing in the region final against another Ashburn school is pretty exciting,” Bruton said. “Obviously, Stone Bridge is on top for a reason, so we’re going to prepare our butts off and, hopefully, play a good game.”
|2Q||8:21||Briar Woods||Christian Greene to Reagan Russell 9-yard TD pass (PAT blocked)||6-0|
|3Q||10:15||Briar Woods||Christian Greene 10-yard TD run (2pt failed)||12-0|
|3Q||2:30||Briar Woods||Christian Green 15-yard TD run (Riley Callaghan PAT)||19-0|
|4Q||11:53||Briar Woods||Christian Greene to Riley Callaghan 29-yard TD pass (Riley Callaghan PAT)||26-0|
|4Q||6:27||Woodgrove||Bailey Burton 3-yard TD run (Burton 2pt run)||26-8|