Every week, Briar Woods Coach Charlie Pierce brings in a guest speaker to get the team pumped up for its Friday matchup. Thursday, Pierce had heavyweight boxer Seth Mitchell, an All-Met linebacker at Gwynn Park in 2000, talk to the Falcons.
Mitchell’s message of staying the course resonated, and the hat he donned that read “Mindset” gave the No. 4 Falcons the extra motivation they needed to defeat Tuscarora, 36-7, and clinch the inaugural Potomac District title in their regular season finale in Ashburn.
“I wanted guys like [quarterback] Trace McSorley and the other seniors who have been here four years to go out [in] their last regular season home game with gusto,” Pierce said. “I had to make sure myself and the coaches were on point the same way as the players.
“I was going to turn over every leaf and every stone to make sure they were playing hard.”
Briar Woods (9-1, 4-0 Potomac District) led 36-0 with less than four minutes remaining, and the Falcons kept playing hard.
Tuscarora (8-2, 2-2) reached the 1-yard line, but the Falcons stopped them on three straight downs to keep their shutout alive.
Briar Woods linebacker Dominic Moore (eight tackles) was in the backfield on that play and slowly walked back to the huddle, dejected with his head held low.
“I think we deserved that shutout after that goal-line stand on the 1-yard line,” Moore said. “I wasn’t too happy about it because I know my team could have stopped them.”
After a punt and a lost fumble on its first two drives, Briar Woods found its footing on its third possession. Junior running back Anthony Martinez scored on a 50-yard run on the third play of the drive and followed that with a two-point conversion run.
McSorley threw for 113 yards, completing two touchdown passes to senior wideout Melvin Holland Jr. McSorley added 73 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
“We came out a little slow. I think part of that was being so amped up for the game,” McSorley said. “We’ve been itching for this one for a while. We had a little jitters but we settled down on our third drive and got our first touchdown.”
The defense held a Huskies rushing attack that was averaging 230 yards per game to 100 yards.
Both teams will play in the Virginia 5A North region playoffs next week.