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Preview: No. 4 Briar Woods vs. Heritage-Lynchburg

The Briar Woods Falcons are on the cusp of history. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)
Virginia AA Division 4 Final

Who: Briar Woods (14-0) vs. Heritage-Lynchburg (12-1). When: 4:30 p.m. Where: Williams Stadium, Liberty University, Lynchburg. Tickets: $10.

How they got here: Briar Woods won its third straight Region II title before pounding Courtland, 45-15, in the state semifinals. Heritage, the Region III champion from Lynchburg, advanced to its first final since 2002 with a 24-16 win over Salem.

When Briar Woods has the ball: The Falcons know they can score — how they’ll score is the question.Two weeks ago, quarterback Trace McSorley (2,462 yards passing, 32 touchdowns) completed 14 passes and Briar Woods scored 31. Against Courtland, he had five completions. With Heritage’s DeMonte Elliott (seven interceptions) lurking in the secondary, expect a heavy workload for senior running back Cory Colder (1,149 yards, 19 touchdowns).

Junior quarterback Trace McSorley is set to start his third state final. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

When Heritage has the ball: The Pioneers’ spread offense offers an interesting challenge for a dominant Briar Woods defense. Slippery quarterback JeVontae Parrish (18 rushing touchdowns) could struggle on designed runs and reads against a stout front seven. Parrish threw for nearly 2,300 yards and 27 touchdowns, a worrisome stat for a Falcons secondary that struggled early in last week’s win.

Skinny: History beckons for Briar Woods. A 29th straight win in Saturday’s title game would make the Falcons only the second AA Division 4 team to win three straight state championships. Next year’s reclassification to AAA Division 5 could threaten the burgeoning dynasty, so this final could, in some ways, mark the end of an era.

Cory Colder shrugged off a separated shoulder to score five touchdowns in the Falcons’ semifinal rout of Courtland. (Richard A. Lipski/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

— Jonas Shaffer



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