Trace McSorley helps Briar Woods overcome slow start, power past Loudoun County

With his stomach bothering him and this week’s game coming a day earlier than normal, Briar Woods quarterback Trace McSorley entered Thursday’s contest against Loudoun County with an unsettled feeling.

The opening minutes did little to reassure the Vanderbilt recruit as the Falcons turned the ball over twice early.

But rather than playing to protect his stomach and the Falcons’ narrow lead near the end of the first half, McSorley dove over a defender to convert a critical first-down that jolted his team awake.

Three plays later, McSorley found Tristan Carter for the first of four consecutive touchdowns in No. 6 Briar Woods’s 35-3 win in Leesburg.

McSorley totaled 295 yards and four touchdowns, and the Falcons pushed their win streak to an area-best 32 games.

School starts at Woodbridge, and the Vikings are searching for their first win. Top prospect Da’Shawn Hand makes his first official visit to Michigan for the Notre Dame game at the Big House. (Brad Horn and Jayne Orenstein/The Washington Post)

“That was kind of a fun ride I took on that fourth-down run, and by then I was feeling good,” McSorley said. “All week, I felt a little weird with our practice schedule off because of the game being Thursday, and then 30 minutes before game time my stomach was acting up. But that’s no excuse for the way we started. We just had to settle down and execute.”

Injuries didn’t help, either, as standout Brandon Polk joined six other Falcons on the sideline. Polk has missed the first three games with a foot fracture, and Coach Charlie Pierce expects him to miss about two more weeks.

Both players could only watch as Briar Woods (3-0) fumbled a punt and threw an interception on its first two possessions. But the Falcons’ defense prevented Loudoun County from capitalizing by swarming dual-threat quarterback Tae Crews-Naylor with a heavy rush.

By night’s end, the Raiders had accumulated just 69 total yards.

In the second quarter, McSorley found his rhythm, connecting with five receivers on an assortment of screen plays and strikes across the middle. After earning the game’s first score on a 17-yard run and extending the Falcons’ next drive with his fourth-down dive, McSorley lobbed a 22-yard pass to Carter at the end of the first half. The junior wideout just barely stayed inbounds for the score.

Loudoun County (2-1) worked to spark a rally, intercepting McSorley’s first pass of the third quarter and keeping the Falcons’ defense on its heels with rushes and slant passes from Crews-Naylor. But the Raiders couldn’t slow McSorley, who added another rushing and passing touchdown for the final margin.

McSorley improved to 45-3 as a four-year starter.

“We overcame what I call an inauspicious start and some other factors for the type of win that’s going to pay volumes down the road,” Pierce said. “Tonight was a testament to our guys stepping up when we needed them.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.

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