A pair of rushing scores by senior quarterback Trace McSorley, along with return touchdowns on defense and special teams proved to be enough to lift Briar Woods High School to a 28-19 home victory against Colonial Forge Sept. 6 in Ashburn.
The Falcons (2-0) extended their winning streak to 31 games but it certainly was not easy. For only the third time during the magical streak, Briar Woods won by single digits.
“Colonial Forge is a quality program. They have been to the playoffs the last eight years, the regional championship last year," Briar Woods coach Charlie Pierce said. "We knew it was going to be a physical game. We haven’t had a close physical game like that since Broad Run last year and the 2011 championship game.”
Playing as a 5A school this fall after winning the last three Virginia Division 4 state championships, Briar Woods built a 28-7 halftime lead against Colonial Forge, a 6A school.
McSorley opened the scoring in the first and second quarters with touchdown runs of nine yards and one yard. McSorley, a Vanderbilt University commit, also shined defensively with a team-high 11 tackles.
The Falcons proved opportunistic in all three facets of the game. Senior Chris Larco returned an interception 82 yards for a score in the first quarter and senior Melvin Holland Jr. returned a kick 92 yards for a touchdown in the final minute of the half.
Colonial Forge (1-1) held Briar Woods scoreless in the second half and scored twice in the fourth quarter to trim the final margin. Colonial Forge outgained the hosts (334 to 218) and collected 21 first downs in the loss.
Quarterback Damon Daniel passed for 241 yards and a touchdown but was twice intercepted. Daniel Ezeagwu hauled in a touchdown reception and also scored on a short run, as did Daniel.
For Briar Woods, senior Tristan Miller (3 for 53 yards) and sophomore Mark Birmingham (2 for 24 yards) were on the receiving end of a majority of McSorley's completions. Junior linebacker Dominic Moore recorded nine tackles.
“This is the first 6A game we have ever played," Pierce said. "We have scrimmaged some 6A teams over the years but this was our first actual game. I was really pleased with the way we prepared and overcame some adversity.”
The Falcons will face another stiff challenge Sept. 12 when they head to Leesburg to face Loudoun County (2-0). The Raiders have won 12 of their last 15 games with two of those three losses coming against Briar Woods.
Briar Woods 28, Colonial Forge 19
BW: McSorley 9 run (LaFrankie kick) 4:21
BW: Larco 82 interception return (LaFrankie kick) 2:09
BW: McSorley 1 run (LaFrankie kick) 6:00
CF: Ezeagwu 18 pass from Daniel (Smith kick) 0:41
BW: Holland Jr. 92 kick return (LaFrankie kick) 0:29
CF: Ezeagwu 1 run (conversion failed) 8:25
CF: Daniel 3 run (conversion failed) 2:16
-First downs: CF 21; BW 13
-Rushing yards: CF 93; BW 129
-Passing yards: CF 241; BW 89
-Penalties: CF 7-51; BW 9-65
-Time of possession: CF 22:34; BW 25:26
-Passing: CF - Daniel (20 of 35 for 241 yards, TD, 2 Int.); BW - McSorley (6 of 13 for 89 yards)
-Rushing: CF - Daniel (12 for 41 yards, TD), Miller (10 for 38 yards); BW - McSorley (13 for 59 yards, 2 TD), Larco (11 for 46 yards)
-Receiving: CF - Ezeagwu (7 for 67 yards, TD), Burns (3 for 61 yards), Miller (3 for 39 yards), Hall (3 for 36 yards); BW - Miller (3 for 53 yards), Birmingham (2 for 24 yards)
-Tackles: CF - Bradford 7, Jean-Charles 7, Shabazz 6; BW - McSorley 11, Moore 9, Larco 6, McMillian 6
-All photos by Moe Murphy