Briar Woods High School junior linebacker Chris Larco had a firm grasp on the Region II Division 4 football championship trophy Nov. 23 and wasn’t about to let go.
Larco and the Falcons defense shut out Loudoun County for the second time in a month, and junior quarterback Trace McSorley had a big game on both sides of the ball as Briar Woods defeated the Raiders, 31-0 to earn a third consecutive regional title.
“We have depth. We all play with heart. We all play tough,” Larco said. “This is amazing. This is the best sport. This is the best thing in the world ... these guys are my family, they are my brothers.”
The Falcons, on a state best 27-game winning streak, will host Courtland (9-4) Dec. 1 in the Division 4 state semifinals.
Briar Woods, despite the loss of senior linebacker Matt Rolin (University of South Carolina recruit) for the playoffs with a knee injury, has allowed just three scores in three postseason wins, outscoring the opposition, 107-21.
“We are a hard-nose defense. We are relentless,” said senior Cam Serigne after the team’s fourth shutout in six weeks. “That zero on the scoreboard is important to us.”
After being limited to four first downs and 52 total yards in the team’s first meeting Nov. 3, County (10-3) moved the ball more effectively in the rematch. The Raiders picked up 11 first downs and 171 total yards, but failed to convert on third downs most of the night.
County struggled to contain McSorley, who threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the Falcons rushing game with 83 yards on 13 carries, including a score.
McSorley, who is now a mind-boggling 40-3 as a varsity starter, also had an interception on defense that set up a score. As usual, his best friend Serigne was a prime target, catching six passes for 67 yards and the game’s first touchdown, a 12-yard waltz into the end zone in the first quarter.
“We were on the same Ashburn Youth Football League team together and won the championship and ever since then we have been on a roll,” said Serigne about the productive combo that has the Falcons two wins away from a third straight state title.
While County struggled on third down, going two of 12, the Falcons were clutch, converting 11 of their 15 third down snaps.
With Briar Woods senior running back Cory Colder, who has been playing through injuries for several weeks, was limited to 10 yards on six carries, McSorley deftly picked his way behind the big Falcon offensive line for 6.4 yards per carry and Larco helped ice the game with 34 on nine carries.
Speedy sophomore Brandon Polk caught four passes for 92 yards, including hauling in a 35-yard strike from McSorley for the game’s final touchdown.
Stepping up big defensively for Briar Woods were Larco with nine tackles, senior defensive back Darryll Gadsden with seven tackles and McSorley with five.
County senior quarterback Jake Lokey finished his prep career going 20 of 40 for 142 yards. Another senior who helped lead the Raiders return to the playoffs the past two seasons was receiver Brad Szoka, who caught eight passes for 83 yards.
“I don’t think there are enough words to describe what the seniors did for our program,” County coach Todd Hill said. “They worked their hearts out. We had great senior leadership. It was fun to coach them.”
Briar Woods 31, Loudoun County 0
BW: Serigne 12 pass from McSorley (LaFrankie kick)
BW: LaFrankie 24 field goal
BW: Colder 2 run (LaFrankie kick)
BW: McSorley 4 run (LaFrankie kick)
BW: Polk 35 pass from McSorley (LaFrankie kick)
-Rushing: LC - Lokey (10 for 22 yards); BW: McSorley (13 for 83 yards, TD), Larco (9 for 34 yards)
-Passing: LC - Lokey (20 of 40 for 142 yards, Int.); BW: McSorley (14 of 18 for 201 yards, 2 TD)
-Receiving: LC - Szoka (8 for 83 yards), Anderson (4 for 20 yards), S. Bell (4 for 19 yards); BW - Serigne (6 for 67 yards, TD), Polk (4 for 92, TD)
-All photos by Greg Nash
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