Football: Broad Run Shines in Season Opener Against Ashburn-Rival Briar Woods

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Ashburn, Va. — It took the Broad Run train less than 50 seconds and just two plays to get rolling in their season opener against rival Briar Woods on August 27 in Ashburn.

After choosing to receive the opening kickoff, Broad Run senior quarterback Brett Griffis tossed a 7-yard slant over the middle to open his senior campaign. Then on the very next play, Griffis threw a screen pass to senior receiver Arnav Thornhill, who scurried up the Broad Run sideline 61 yards to the end zone. Senior kicker Garrett Bennion drilled the PAT, and, in just 49 seconds, the Spartans had all the points they’d need to defeat the Falcons, 41-6.

“We knew we wanted the ball, because we have confidence in our offense,” Griffis said. “It definitely helps to score right away, because it got our team pumped up and sort of deflated their side.”

With the early momentum, Griffis turned the reins over to the stout Broad Run defense. During their first series of the season, the Spartans defense forced a fumble which was recovered by senior lineman Dominick Tiaga.

That was the first of two takeaways by the Broad Run defense—the other came in the form of an interception by senior defensive back Alex Biddle in the fourth quarter—as the Spartans held the Falcons to just over 100 yards of total offense, allowing just one touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

“We’re no one without our defense,” Griffis said. “They basically put up a doughnut tonight, so all our offense needed to do was score once.”

With the Broad Run crowd cheering loudly, Griffis went on to throw two more touchdown passes—both to senior receiver Isaiah Lemmond—finishing 16-for-26 for 268 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception. Griffis added another touchdown on the ground, which was set up by the Biddle interception which he returned down to the Briar Woods 1 yard line.

The Spartans also got great production out of sophomore running back Aslin Shipe, who is in his first varsity start rushed for 145 yards on just 16 carries, including a 76-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.

“The first game of the year is always a struggle: you have kids starting for the first time, you’re not sure how they’re going to react; and it was humid, we were cramping up like crazy,” Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis said. “So it’s always nice to get the first win underneath your belt.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the fall 2020 season into the spring of 2021—in front of limited crowds—fans were back in full attendance under the Friday night lights to open the fall 2021 season, creating an environment a lot of these student-athletes, including Shipe, have never played in before.

“I was super excited for our kids because we haven’t had that experience in a long time. It felt normal,” Coach Griffis said. “The kids from both schools showed out which is awesome; we certainly want that. I was happy for our guys to get to experience a real football game.”

Better than just experiencing a real football game, the Spartans travelled across town to cruise past a storied rival to start them on their way to what they hope will be another successful season.

“It’s always nice to beat our rivals, especially when they fight hard,” Broad Run junior offensive lineman Will Wright said. “They were really aggressive and never gave up. They played through the final whistle.”

As that final whistle sounded, the Spartans could finally celebrate their first fall win in more than 600 days.

“Our kids are working hard, and their goal is to play 15 games, just like everybody else,” Coach Griffis said. “But we’re going to take it one game at a time.”

Caroline Layne captured 250+ photos at the game!

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Scoring Plays
PeriodTimeTeamGoalScore
1Q11:11Broad RunBrett Griffis to Arnav Thornhill 61-yard TD pass (Garrett Bennion)7-0
1Q6:03Broad RunGarrett Bennion 29-yard FG10-0
2Q11:02Broad RunGarrett Bennion 31-yard FG13-0
2Q7:05Broad RunBrett Griffis to Isaiah Lemmond 38-yard TD pass (Garrett Bennion)20-0
3Q9:48Broad RunAslin Shipe 76-yard TD run (Garrett Bennion PAT)27-0
3Q6:13Broad RunBrett Griffis to Isaiah Lemmond 13-yard TD pass (Garrett Bennion)34-0
4Q7:37Broad RunBrett Griffis 1-yard TD run (Garrett Bennion PAT)41-0
4Q3:20Briar WoodsZavier Kennedy 4-yard TD run (2pt failed)41-6
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Owen Gotimer has a passion for helping people grow and self-educate through new media. Owen spent his college years at Syracuse University, where he studied broadcast and digital journalism in the renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications. In his "free time", Owen volunteers as a varsity baseball coach at John Champe and is the president of the Jeffrey C. Fowler Memorial Scholarship.

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