Fourth-ranked Briar Woods wanted to be ready when it met Mountain View on Friday in a Virginia 5A North region quarterfinal. So the team’s linebackers arrived to practice early Tuesday through Thursday to make sure they maintained positioning on read options with a bruising running back and dual-threat quarterback in the opposing backfield.
The Falcons held an explosive Wildcats offense to just one play of more than 30 yards, a 64-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter by Quinton Gray.
Excluding that play, Mountain View — which came in averaging 26 points per game — was held to 190 yards of total offense as the Falcons dominated in a 49-7 drubbing.
“I think we expected a lot more, but they were a good program,” Briar Woods middle linebacker Chris Larco said. “They had a tough running back, and we prepared all week for that. It was a fun game.”
Larco, who leads the team with 90 tackles, had five in the win. He spent last season playing alongside Matt Rolin, now at the University of Florida. He said Rolin taught him to play looser in the middle and trust himself making tackles.
“Last year, I was playing next to Matt Rolin and it was hard to get to tackles,” Larco said. “But this year I’ve been able to find the ball more, and even when people get in the way the ball is the main focus for me.”
After allowing North Stafford running back Von Purvis to rush for 250 yards in a 19-7 loss on Sept. 20 that ended the Falcons’ 32-game winning streak, Briar Woods has improved its defensive play. The Falcons are yielding just 5.4 points per game since that loss and are riding a new eight-game winning streak.
“We tightened up our defense,” junior outside linebacker Dominic Moore said. “We as players weren’t going to allow any other team to run on us like that again.”
Briar Woods, which won the last three Virginia AA Division 4 state championships, will host No. 18 Broad Run (9-3) Friday in a Virginia 5A North region semifinal after the Spartans upset Stone Bridge (9-3) for the first time in school history.
The Falcons shut out the Spartans in their Oct. 18 matchup, a 34-0 win.
Woodgrove will travel to Salem for the 4A North region semifinal at 7 p.m on Friday.