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Falcons fly high: Briar Woods shuts out Tuscarora

Briar Woods senior Ben Maffe runs into a group of Tuscarora defenders during a season-opening match-up between the Group 5A schools Aug. 26. Maffe scored the first touchdown in the Falcons’ 21-0 victory.—Times-Mirror/Chuck Moore
The Briar Woods Falcons unleashed a smothering defense and emerging ground game to defeat the Tuscarora Huskies, 21-0, at home Aug. 26 in Brambleton, marking the start of what’s sure to be an intense and competitive 2016 varsity football season in Loudoun County.

The Falcons avenged last year’s season-opening loss to the Huskies utilizing a strong mix of running, passing and trickery.

After a scoreless first quarter, Briar Woods struck on the opening play of the second quarter. Multi-purpose senior Ben Maffe, a Marshall University commit, crossed the goal line from 7 yards out on a fourth-and-one play to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead.

Following a three-and-out by Tuscarora, Briar Woods' offense took the field looking for more. From their own 41-yard line, Falcon quarterback Skyler Springs pitched the ball to Riley Garcia, who in turn pitched the ball back to Jake Kleifges. Instead of running, Kleifges dropped back and connected with Maffe on a 33-yard pass.

Facing a fourth-and-four on Tuscarora’s 20 yard line later in the drive, Springs hit Maffe through the air, who was able to slip through defenders into the end zone to extend the lead to 14-0 at halftime.

In control throughout much of the game, Briar Woods amassed more than 200 yards on the ground. Junior running back Julian Posas' physical running kept the chains moving, as he led the Falcons with 86 yards rushing.

"My adrenaline kept pumping and I kept going," Posas said. "[Tuscarora] had a pretty good defense. Their linebackers knew how to fill the holes. That was a big challenge but I trusted my line to take them out and I kept pushing through. It feels great. I can’t imagine a better feeling."

The Huskies, who have lost just one game in each of the previous two seasons, struggled to get their offense going. Junior Jaylon Lundy rushed for two consecutive first downs on Tuscarora’s first possession of the game but the Huskies would not convert another first down until the third quarter.

Despite Briar Woods’ stingy defense, the Huskies threatened to score several times. Trailing 7-0, Joe Morein took the next handoff and squirted free along the left sideline and sprinted 66 yards into the end zone. A holding penalty nullified the play and kept Tuscarora scoreless.

Opportunity was lost again for the Huskies early in the fourth quarter when Taye Davis hauled in quarterback Justin Allen’s pass in the end zone but landed just out of bounds thwarting the scoring chance.

Briar Woods controlled the ball for more than minutes in the final quarter to stifle any chance of a late comeback. Jalen Thomas found the end zone on a 5-yard run in the third quarter and Edgar Moreno converted his third extra point of the game to conclude the scoring.

Briar Woods head coach Charlie Pierce was not on hand for the contest, instead tending to his family as they mourn the loss of his father. At the conclusion of the game, both Briar Woods and Tuscarora met at midfield as one team for a moment of reflection.

"We’re doing this for coach Pierce’s dad," Posas said. "It means a lot to do this for him. This is a big moment for us. I’m full of enjoyment."

Julian Posas

Briar Woods 21, Tuscarora 0

-Second Quarter
BW: Maffe 7 run (Moreno kick) 11:32
BW: Springs 20 pass to Maffe (Moreno kick) 4:24

-Third Quarter
BW: Thomas 5 run (Moreno kick) 5:12

Offensive leaders

-Passing: BW – Springs (6 of 13 for 105 yards, 1 TD), Kleifges (1 of 1 for 33 yards); T – Allen (5 of 14 for 73 yards)

-Rushing: BW – Posas (19-86), Kleifges (1-46), Springs (8-29), Maffe (4-21-1); T - Lundy (16-68), Adjei (2-15)

-Receiving: BW – Maffe (3-64-1), Garcia (2-29), Kleifges (1-27), Springs (1-18); T - Sorrell (2-12), Morein (1-44), Jenkins (1-10), Davis (1-7)

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