In a hard-fought game on a beautiful night for football in Brambleton, the Briar Woods Falcons relied on an inspired defensive effort and several big plays on offense to claim their second straight AA Region II Division 4 championship with an exciting 21-7 win over Powhatan.
Continuing a trend from recent weeks, the Falcons faced some adversity early. In the first quarter, Powhatan got the ball with good field position after a short Briar Woods punt. Two plays later, Indian quarterback Thomas Mitchell took off around the left end and sprinted 43 yards for the game's first points.
Powhatan would maintain the 7-0 lead until the Falcons put together two quick second-quarter scoring drives. After being bottled up for much of the first half, the Falcon offense came to life with the running of Cory Colder and J.T. Logan. Colder ripped off a 26-yard run on a first down near midfield, and Logan added runs of 8 and 11 yards to put the Falcons in scoring position. Logan then supplied the key block to spring quarterback Trace McSorley for his 6-yard touchdown run, which tied the score and breathed life into the Falcon fans.
Colder would finish as the game's leading rusher with 20 carries for 89 yards.
After the Falcon defense forced the Indians to punt after just three plays, the Falcons took over near midfield again with under four minutes left in the half. On that drive, the Falcon passing game made a brief appearance to help the team grab a lead it would not relinquish.
Facing third down and long, McSorley found Alex Carter for his first completion of the game, an 18-yard strike that kept the drive alive. Three plays later, the Falcons faced another third down and long situation, and this time McSorley found tight end Cam Serigne wide open for a 36-yard touchdown. The drive and two long completions were remarkable on a night where the Powhatan defense limited Briar Woods to just four completions and 68 yards through the air for the entire game.
The 7-point lead would be all the Falcons needed as the defense dug in and thwarted every subsequent Powhatan scoring chance. The Briar Woods defenders stopped four straight fourth down conversion attempts by the Indians to close out the game.
The biggest stop came with just over eight minutes left, after the Indians moved into the red zone following their first pass completion of the game and a personal foul on Briar Woods. Facing fourth down and three yards to go from the Briar Woods 12-yard line, Mike Barta helped force an incomplete pass and the Falcons took over on downs.
Perhaps the most impressive feat for the Falcon defense was the ability to hold Powhatan running back Ray Brown in check. Just a week removed from a 360-yard, five-touchdown performance against James Wood, Brown mustered just 68 yards and no scores against a smothering Falcon front seven. Briar Woods had five players record double-digit tackles, and were led by Trei Germany's game high 17 stops.
Alex Carter closed out the scoring and put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter on an electrifying 69-yard touchdown run.
Briar Woods next travels to play the winner of tonight's Region 1 title game between Grafton and Courtland. In last year's semifinal, Briar Woods dominated Courtland 52-8 to advance to the school's first-ever state championship game.