Just minutes after Shawn Polston recovered a fumble that let Handley attempt a game-winning drive, he fumbled on Broad Run's 5-yard line with 15 seconds left in the game, giving the Spartans a load of relief and a 14-12 victory last night at Broad Run.
Although Handley Coach Ron Lindon claimed his team recovered the ball, the officials ruled otherwise.
The Judges (2-2) trailed in part because Harold Jones missed an extra point kick in the first half and Handley was whistled for offensive pass interference on a two-point conversion attempt.
Broad Run (3-1) is fulfilling its preseason expectations to win the Class AA Northwestern District, a title held in whole or in part by Park View since 1985.
But Spartans Coach Jerry Smith insists his squad is not yet the team to beat in the district. "We played real hard but we made some mistakes," he said. "I think we need to improve a lot."
Those mistakes almost cost Broad Run the game. Leading by 14-6, David Potts fumbled on Handley's 18-yard line.
The Judges turned around and marched 82 yards in 3 1/2 minutes, scoring on Thomas Baylor's three-yard sweep.
Handley rushed on 10 straight plays on the drive, including five by Polston, who replaced injured David Wilds.
Although gaining only 72 yards in the second half, Broad Run dominated the first half. The Spartans took the opening kickoff on the 46-yard line because Handley had 12 players on the field. They drove 54 yards in nine plays and were helped by a personal foul that nullified Reed Prosser's interception of Mike Suddueth's pass. Potts capped the drive with a four-yard dive off right tackle. Ethan Harlow's kick made it 7-0.
Handley, held to 34 yards in the first 21 1/2 minutes, then put together a 10-play, 61-yard drive to pull within 7-6 at halftime.
Wilds gained 35 yards on seven carries in the drive before the Judges scored on Prosser's fade pass to Stewart Foreman with 19 seconds left in the half.