The Broad Run Spartans came up big in the third quarter and held on late to defeat the Tuscarora Huskies 28-26 at home Thursday night in Ashburn. The Spartans scored 21 unanswered points after trailing 13-7 late in the second quarter to propel them to a big season-opening victory.
In a match-up of former Class 5 Potomac District powers now playing in the Class 4 Dulles District, Tuscarora struck first when senior receiver Jevonn Gilyard caught a 37-yard pass from fellow senior quarterback Ethan Gick in stride and carried the football into the endzone to give the Huskies a 6-0 lead.
Broad Run blocked Tuscarora's ensuing extra-point attempt in a play that would have big ramifications late in the game.
The Spartans and Huskies traded touchdowns in the second quarter, both coming on a 1-yard plunge from their respective quarterbacks.
Broad Run regained the lead in the closing seconds of the first half. Senior quarterback Mitch Griffis found receiver Lance Lacny in the endzone on a fourth-and-goal with just five seconds remaining. Kicker Isaac Latimer connected on the extra-point and Broad Run went into halftime holding a narrow 14-13 lead.
“The game changer was the end of the first half," Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis said. “Every time we got in fourth down situations, we got it. That’s just saying we’re going to get it done because our kids refuse to lose and they refuse to get stopped in those situations."
The Spartans attacked right out of the gate to open the third quarter. On the first play from scrimmage, Griffis hit receiver Romy Miner in stride on a 63-yard touchdown completion. Miner caught eight passes for 136 yards in the win.
“We came out in the second half and throw that play action post and that got the momentum really going our side," Matt Griffis said. “I was really proud of our kids."
Broad Run added to its lead later in the third quarter. Griffis methodically led the Spartans on a 65-yard touchdown drive. Lacny again was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass and Broad Run led 28-13 after three quarters.
“The smartest football IQ at our age that I have met," Mitch Griffis said of his teammate Lacny. “Extremely intelligent. He’s been one of my best friends since first grade. We never practice that but we practiced that in my cul-de-sac."
As is often the case when rival football powers face off, no lead is safe. The Huskies roared back in the fourth quarter -- keeping the Spartans' offense off the field while scoring touchdowns on drives of 91 and 57 yards.
With just 54.7 seconds remaining in the game, Gick evaded pressure and found Gilyard in the endzone for a 7-yard touchdown pass to bring the Huskies within 28-26.
Broad Run defensive back Cam Chambers came up clutch during Tuscarora's ensuing two-point conversion attempt. Chambers broke up and swatted down a pass attempt to deny the Huskies' bid to tie the game.
“There were two receivers on one side, and I was playing man," Chambers said. “I saw the quarterback pop it up to the number two receiver and I just made a play. It was a little nerve racking but once the play starts, I’m ready to go."
Broad Run has now defeated Tuscarora in six of the last seven meetings dating back to 2016. Tuscarora won a second-round playoff game between the teams in 2017 on its way to advancing to the Virginia Class 5 state final.
Broad Run 28, Tuscarora 26
T: Gick 37 pass to Gilyard (kick blocked) 9:13
BR: Griffis 1 run (Latimer kick) 9:46
T: Gick 1 run (Skirkanich kick) 5:00
BR: Griffis 2 pass to Lacny (Latimer kick) :05
BR: Griffis 63 pass to Miner (Latimer kick) 11:41
BR: Griffis 4 pass to Lacny (Latimer kick) 3:27
T: Duke 11 run (Skirkanich kick) 7:31
T: Gick 7 pass to Gilyard (pass failed) 0:55
Passing: BR – Griffis (24 of 34 for 224 yards, 3 TD, Int.); T – Gick (14 of 22 for 196 yards, 2 TD)
Rushing: BR – Griffis (12-30-1), Busser (4-16); T – Gick (19-70-1), Duke (5-22-1)
Receiving: BR – Miner (8-136-1), Busser (9-57), Lacny (4-13-2); T – Gilyard (6-115-2), Upp (6-57)
-More photos by Mike Walgren