Despite a tough beginning and a scary fourth
quarter, the Briar Woods Falcons held on Saturday to win the Virginia High
School Region 5 Football Championship in grand style. An intense battle kept fans on
the edges of their seats until the last second.
Despite Briar Woods earning home-field advantage, the depleted grass field and foul weather pushed the game to the artificial turf of John Champe High School's stadium in Aldie.
The North Stafford Wolverines struck first when Tyler Bailey picked up a fumble and ran 85 yards for the only score of the first quarter. The teams combined for seven fumbles on the day; the Wolverines recovered both of their fumbles, while Briar Woods lost three of its five, including that first score.
The Falcons then held North Stafford scoreless for two quarters while posting 21 points. As he’s done during an impressive career at Briar Woods, Trace McSorley led his team back, throwing for two touchdowns to Mark Birmingham (56 yards) and Brandon Polk (55 yards) in the second quarter, and a third TD to Tristan Carter (14 yards) in the third quarter.
Even with a big lead, the fourth quarter proved the most challenging for the Falcons as North Stafford attempted to claw their way back into the lead, outscoring Briar Woods 19 to 6. But it wasn’t enough. Jordan Hinson’s 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter put the three-time state champions out of reach, but not without an adrenaline-pumping ending.
With one second left on the clock, North Stafford’s Jalen Sarratt threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Von Purvis. The Wolverines threatened to send the game to overtime – as had happened a week earlier with the Falcons – with a two-point conversion. But as its done all year, the Falcon defense proved too tough, stuffing the attempt and North Stafford’s championship dreams. Final score: Briar Woods 27, North Stafford 25.