By Frank Gorey
Ashburn (September 13, 2016) – Much has been made of running back Meech Hembrey and the powerful Broad Run High School ground game, and rightfully so, but for the third consecutive week the Spartans defense held their opponent to 16 points or less. This week, the defense was able to hold Langley High School to a single field goal, as the Spartans ran past the Saxons, 28-3.
After an early interception led to a 25-yard field goal by the Saxons, the Spartans chose to use their 2015 VHSL 5A all-state running back as a decoy. With the Saxons committed to trying to stop Hembrey, senior quarterback Ryan Braithwaite found both room to run and time to pass. Following his 35-yard run down the left sideline on a read option, Braithwaite rolled right and found senior tight end Nick Robinson open in the end zone. The 11-yard catch gave the Spartans a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After turning the ball over on downs, the Saxons were unable to contain Hembrey for long, however, as the senior found the end zone from 56 yards away on a 3rd-and-inches from the Spartan 44-yard line. Junior kicker Atilla Buri converted the extra point attempt to put the Spartans up by 11.
The Saxons were unable to hold on to the ensuing kickoff, as a big hit led to a fumble recovered by junior Tiege Thompson. Shortly after, Hembrey raced in from 22 yards out as the Spartans went into their locker room with a 21-3 lead.
Broad Run all-state sprinter Travis Hugg returned the second half kickoff to the Saxon 35-yard line to get things going once again for the Spartans. It was Hembrey that Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis turned to for seven of the next eight plays as Hembrey punched in his third touchdown of the night for a 28-3 lead that completed the scoring.
The Spartans’ offensive line – led by seniors Jacob Boone and captains Connor Gorey and Dom Sangiuliano – continue to pound their opponents up front opening up holes which have allowed their backs to amass 1,094 rushing yards in just three games.
The Spartan defense – led by senior captain Brandon Gonzalez, who had three sacks against Langley – has only surrendered 244 yards on the ground in the same time span.
The Spartans will need to count on the ground game on September 16 – both on offense and defense – as the Centreville High School Wildcats come to Ashburn for the first time.
The Wildcats come in with a 2-0 record, having outscored their first two opponents by a combined score of 97-6.