2019.11.22 Football: Briar Woods @ Woodgrove / Region 5C Semifinal - ChasSumserPhotography

Purcellville, VA (November 22, 2019) - October 11, the last time the Woodgrove Wolverines saw the Briar Woods Falcons on their home field, was not a pretty picture. The visitors left with a crushing 28-0 victory in hand, and the home team was looking up at a lot of teams while staring at their own middling record (3-3).

Woodgrove's reign as the VHSL Class 4 state champion seemed a distant memory, and it only moved further away with another dispiriting loss to Stone Bridge the next week. But the Wolverines closed out the regular season with three straight wins, just enough to edge out Briar Woods for the second seed in the region tournament.

On the other side of the field, the Falcons's win over the Wolverines and a subsequent win over Freedom had them in prime position late in the season. Their 5-2 record put the Brambleton team in prime position for a top playoff spot, but they finished with three straight losses. Their third seed in Region 5C meant that they had to play a first round game, but they used it to reset themselves with a crushing victory over Lee.

So, this was the rematch. Woodgrove had something to prove, and Briar Woods had some playoff momentum. The winner would move on to the region final.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

The first quarter was uneventful, and it looked like the night was going to be a grind. Neither team seemed able to move the ball at all, and most of the game was played at midfield. It was a cold November night, and maybe the teams just need to warm up a bit more.

Well, one team surely did so in the second quarter. The Wolverines stunned everyone with three unanswered passing touchdowns from quarterback Brett Johnson: two to Tyler Blizzard and one to Daniel Pavolic. Blizzard's second score came with just twenty seconds remaining in the second quarter off of a teammates's deflection. It wasn't a classic "hail mary" pass, but the Wolverines had taken a long shot, and it paid off big time. At the half, the Wolverine led, 20-0.

After the break, the Briar Woods coaches could be heard shouting encouragement. "Our half," they said, but the Wolverines had a different idea. Early in the third quarter, Woodgrove's KJ Lewis ran one in to give the home team what would prove to be an insurmountable lead. But the Falcons were not done yet as Evan Rutkowski took the ensuing kickoff to the house to make it 27-7.

Another touchdown and Briar Woods would be right back in it. But that honor went to the other team as Woodgrove's Hunter Pavolic would extend the lead to 33-7. The Falcons would score two more touchdowns late in the game, but did not have enough time to come all the way back as the Wolverines moved on to the region title game where they will meet the top seeded Stone Bridge Bulldogs.

Final Score: Woodgrove 33 - Briar Woods 21

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