Briar Woods defense to be tested by run-heavy Tuscarora offense


Trace McSorley and Briar Woods had their way with Tuscarora last year, but the Huskies hope to provide a stiffer test in Friday’s regular-season finale. (Richard A. Lipski/For the Washington Post)
November 7, 2013

Briar Woods Coach Charlie Pierce preaches principles of closing the gaps and gang tackling in his 3-4 defense. He sacrifices size for speed with one less lineman and an extra linebacker in the middle of the field compared to a more traditional 4-3.

Thus far, the fourth-ranked Falcons (8-1, 3-0 Patriot District) defense has allowed 9.2 points per game and hasn’t allowed more than a touchdown in each of its last three wins.

Friday, it will face a Tuscarora (8-1, 2-1) offense that is averaging 35 points a game and features standout running back Noah Reimers.

Reimers, quarterback Daniel Smith and tailback Mali Barker are all integral to an offense that runs the ball on 83 percent of its plays.

“As a team, I think our line is a lot smarter, we really know what we’re doing this year,” Reimers said. “The repetitions at practice are really starting to pay off. If we continue to work hard and do the things we’re taught, we will have a lot more success this year running the ball.”


The Falcons’ defense held Noah Reimers to 13 yards on 14 carries in last year’s 35-6 victory. (Richard A. Lipski/For the Washington Post)

In last season’s 35-6 loss to Briar Woods, the Huskies could only muster 27 yards on 19 carries. Briar Woods returned six starters from that defense, and added outside linebacker Dominic Moore, who played in the challenging Washington Catholic Athletic Conference at St. Mary’s Ryken last season.

Moore, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior, said the team is very prepared after holding two longer practices Monday and Tuesday due to conferences at the Ashburn school.

“We haven’t been treating them lightly at all,” Moore said. “I think [Reimers] is a good running back, if the blocking lanes are open, he will hit it and score. We have to do our best to stop and contain him.”

Junior nose guard Bryan Capozzoli isn’t looking past Tuscarora either, even with the playoffs materializing.

“I’m treating this as the next game as I do every week,” Capozzoli said. “Every Friday game is the most important one, because that’s who is in front of us. We have to take care of this before we can get to the next level.”

With a win against the Falcons, Tuscarora could lock up the No. 2 seed in the 5A North region playoffs. Briar Woods would finish no lower than No. 3 if it beats the Huskies.

Vikings tasked with stopping Sweet

Woodgrove running back Josh Sweet’s second half of the season has been a display of sheer dominance. Sweet has run for 200-plus yards in his last five games and will look to extend that streak when the Wolverines (6-3, 4-1 Dulles District) face rival Loudoun Valley in the final tuneup ahead of the playoffs for both teams.

The senior Cornell recruit is coming off a huge win over Broad Run in which he carried the ball a season-high 48 times.

“Stopping Josh from running down hill is going to be huge for us,” Vikings linebacker Brandon Grayson said. “He’s pretty hard to bring down when he gets a lot of speed going. We have to group tackle to keep him from having a big night.”

The Vikings (8-1, 5-0), will likely be without starting running back Andrew Cordani, whose right arm was in a sling for the second half of Friday’s win over Loudoun County and was held out of practice Wednesday.

Grayson proved to be a major threat for the Vikings out of the Wildcat formation last week (5 carries, 161 yards), and with Cordani out, he should see an increased workload.

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