The two most devastating defeats anyone on the Broad Run roster had ever experienced occurred on the same field, nearly two months apart last fall.
The first ended the then-two time defending state champions’ 33-game winning streak. The second ended their season.
So you could excuse the Spartans for being fired up for their return to Briar Woods on Friday night — they had redemption on their minds.
Led by a solid effort from senior quarterback Connor Jessop, an offensive line and running game that got stronger as the game wore on, and a dominant defensive performance, the Spartans got their wish, burying their 2010 failures with a 14-0 victory over the Falcons.
“There’s a reason we scheduled this game,” Broad Run Coach Matt Griffis said. “We wanted an opportunity to play them again. You’ve got to get the monkey off your back eventually, and we wanted to play them here.”
Despite Broad Run’s first-quarter dominance, it took a Dorian Jenkins interception in the end zone to keep Briar Woods from scoring first. After Jessop was picked off on the ensuing possession, he redeemed himself with a 12-yard pass over the middle to 6-foot-6 senior wide receiver Jack Sistare to give the Spartans (2-0) a 7-0 lead at the half.
No. 13 Briar Woods (1-0) — which was held to just 26 yards rushing in the first half — finally got the ball in the hands of top playmaker Alex Carter as sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley threw three straight first-down completions out of the break, including two to Carter. But the drive stalled.
Two possessions later, the Spartans boldly went for it on fourth and five from their 12-yard line only to watch Jessop’s pass fall incomplete. But a sideline penalty against Briar Woods extended the drive, which ate up the final 6 minutes 23 seconds of the third quarter and ended with Jessop’s 10-yard touchdown run.
After a chop block penalty killed a promising Falcons drive, Jessop completed a 41-yard pass to Michael Stratton and Derril Thomas (21 carries, 87 yards) and Da’Qwan Earl drained the final 7:49 of the fourth quarter running behind an offensive line that got stronger as the night wore on.
The loss is the first for the defending Virginia AA Division 4 state champion Falcons since Sept. 19 of last year, and will likely leave them with the feeling that fueled the Spartans’ emotional win.
“They took everything from us last year,” Broad Run senior linebacker Caleb Lindsey said. “We’ve got to let it go. There’s nothing you can do about it. This is one of our biggest games this season, we felt, but a win’s a win. We’ve got 13 more to go.”