No. 2 Broad Run tops Liberty (Va.) in region playoffs
Broad Run quarterback Connor Jessop took the reigns of one of the state's top programs with the added pressure of living up to his older brother, Chris Jessop, who led the Spartans to the Virginia AA Division 4 title last season.
The sophomore quickly proved he was able to live up to his brother's legacy, throwing for 905 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception in the regular season. Still, Jessop had not yet proven himself in the postseason -- until Friday night.
With second-ranked Broad Run (11-0) mired in a physical battle with Liberty, Jessop threw for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 10 of 16 passing and plunged into the end zone from one yard out for the game-winning score in the Spartans' 34-27 victory in a AA Division 4 Region 2 semifinal.
"It feels pretty good, I'm not going to lie," Jessop said. "My brother might come up next week, though, and I wish he was here to see this one."
Broad Run had not played since Oct. 30, the result of consecutive bye weeks to close the regular season and open the playoffs, and the rust showed at times as the Spartans narrowly escaped the Eagles.
Liberty (8-4) was able to pound the ball on the ground behind running backs Wayne Fleming and Bryon Williams, who combined for 166 yards and two touchdowns, but Broad Run answered behind Jessop, running back T.J. Peeler (29 carries, 135 yards) and wide receiver David Weaver (4 receptions, 97 yards and a touchdown).
-- LEE 28, HAYFIELD 24: Senior Idreis Augustus ran 23 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter, as the Lancers prevailed in a AAA Northern Region Division 5 semifinal.
The Lancers (9-3) advanced to the region final, where they will meet Stone Bridge (11-1).
Hayfield (9-3) took a 24-21 lead with 2:45 remaining when senior Rayshawn Rigans caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Anton McCallum on fourth and 20. Following a squib kick, Lee moved to the Hayfield 24, from where Augustus ran in the game-winner with about a minute left.
-- NO. 14 W.T. WOODSON 28, SOUTH COUNTY 9: Jonathan Stokes, James Johnson and Connor Reilly combined for 226 yards rushing as the Cavaliers (11-1) advanced to the Northern Region Division 6 finals.
-- NO. 8 HUNTINGTOWN 46, WESTLAKE 0: Chaz Hall had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown that kicked off an offensive onslaught for the Hurricanes, who routed defending Maryland 3A champion Westlake and capture the 3A South, the first football region title in the school's six-year history.
Huntingtown (12-0), which had not earned a postseason victory before this year, has recorded two straight shutouts in playoff wins over Lackey and Westlake (7-5).
"We're a young school, a young program. People don't owe us any respect, so we have to earn it," said running back Greg Goodwin, who rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
The Hurricanes will advance to face two-time defending 2A champion River Hill in the 3A semifinals next week.
-- NO. 7 BATTLEFIELD 33, FRANKLIN CO. 7: Sophomore linebacker Andrew Smith returned a fumble for a touchdown and had an interception as the Bobcats (11-0) reached their first Division 6 Northwest Region final.