Aldie, Va. — Friday Night Lights is back, and in a big way. In an opening night filled with action, the Briar Woods Falcons (0-0, 1-0) held on to a 27-13 win over the John Champe Knights (0-0, 0-1) in an action-packed game filled with everything you could imagine.
The game was initially suspended fifteen minutes due to the heat index being too high. This forced the teams to stay in their locker rooms for a longer period of time than expected. Once the game finally began, it was immediately suspended again after one play due to a passing thunderstorm. This added an extra 30 minutes of stoppage to an already delayed contest.
“We just tried to stay focused,” Briar Woods head coach Michael Burnett said. “It’s also the first game so there’s a lot of nerves.”[adrotate banner=”46″]
The long delay didn’t seem to affect the Falcons to begin the game, especially on the offensive side. Briar Woods junior quarterback Brady Carmical led the offense to two touchdown drives in the first half. The first touchdown came on a 15-yard scramble from Carmical. On the second touchdown drive, Carmical hit junior wide receiver Colin Capistrant for a 60-yard gain. This big play set up an easy quarterback sneak opportunity for the Falcons who converted a touchdown on the following play.
After leading 14-0, the Falcons defense stumbled and allowed a rushing touchdown by John Champe senior athlete Greg Spiller. The Knights’ defense then stepped up as senior cornerback Josh Jones scored on a pick-six as within ten minutes, the Briar Woods lead evaporated to only one point at halftime.
“I didn’t feel like we were mentally focused and that probably didn’t help,” Burnett said.
Heading out of the break, it was clear that whichever team entered the second half with more intensity, would win this game. Briar Woods received the ball first and conjured up a six-minute drive that exhausted the Knights’ defense. Briar Woods senior running back Kendall Potts finished the drive with a short-yardage rushing touchdown to put the Falcons up 20-13 halfway through the third quarter.
As time wound down, the John Champe offense was in desperation mode which forced the Knights to the air. The Falcons took advantage of this as Briar Woods junior cornerback Tyler Yoder intercepted a pass and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s just the hardest working kid we have, and he works so hard everyday,” Burnett said. “It’s a good testament that hard work pays off.”
It might have seemed as if the game was over, but multiple fumbles by both teams caused the Knights to have one last chance to cut into the lead in the closing moments.
“We have to clean that up. We can’t turn the ball over,” Burnett said. “This was a game of ball security, they had bad turnovers, we had bad turnovers.”
Despite the turnovers, the Falcons held on to win their first game over John Champe in the Burnett era. Briar Woods will look ahead to their August 31 matchup when they host the Loudoun County Captains in their home opener. John Champe will travel to Lightridge for a non-region showdown on the same night.
“It’s a long season with a tough schedule,” Burnett said. “We have to get the wins that we know we can get.”