Purcellville, Va. — On a rainy, Homecoming night, the Woodgrove High School football team knew it needed to focus in if it wanted to strengthen its playoff chances against the looming Broad Run Spartans. A win would put the Wolverines in the driver’s seat of the VHSL Region 4C wild card, while a loss would, most likely, have them chasing the Spartans.
Despite the distractions, Woodgrove used a big second half to run past Broad Run, 44-14, on October 20 in Purcellville.
“It was a big win for playoff implications,” Woodgrove head coach Derek Barlow said. “I felt it was one of the first games this year where I thought we were evenly matched but where we were able to pull away as the night went on.”
The Wolverines had to play from behind early as the Spartans put together a meticulous 7-minute, 13-play drive on the opening possession of the game, which senior running back Aslin Shipe capped off with an 11-yard touchdown run.
Trailing 7-0, the Woodgrove offense took the field for the first time, and senior quarterback Patrick Thomas got to work.
On the first play from scrimmage, Thomas made a quick pass to sophomore receiver Connor Salmin for a 5-yard gain. A few rushing players later, Thomas found senior receiver Luke Jenkins for 10-yard completion. Following his first incompletion of the night, Thomas connected with Jenkins again, this time for 7 yards.
Then, on the ninth play of the Wolverines’ opening drive, Thomas hit Salmin with a 36-yard touchdown pass to erase the Spartans’ early lead.
“Broad Run runs [a few different formations], so we had to be able to adapt,” Barlow said. “I knew if they grabbed the momentum, they were going to eat the clock and limit possessions, so we were prepared to have our touches cut in half. The response on our first drive was huge to keep the momentum out of their hands.”
The Woodgrove defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession, allowing the Wolverine offense to get back to work.
And it didn’t take long for Thomas to reconnect with his trusty receiving core as he hit Salmin with 11-yard and 7-yard completions to start their second series.
“I thought that was the best game Pat Thomas has ever played in terms of accuracy and taking what was there.”
—Woodgrove Head Coach Derek Barlow
Before the Spartans knew what had hit them, the Wolverines were in striking distance when Thomas scampered his way into the endzone for a 13-yard touchdown run to put the Wolverines up, 14-7.
Not wanting the game to get out of hand, Broad Run responded with a 40-yard return by junior Devin Ellison on the ensuing kickoff, setting up an eventual 34-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Gavin Sidhu just two plays later.
In a 14-14 game, Woodgrove started to make use of its running game as Thomas and freshman running back Bryan Miller marched the Wolverines downfield during a 7-minute, 15-play drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown run by Thomas to put his team up 21-14 heading into the half.
After being forced to punt on their opening drive of the second half, the Woodgrove defense forced another three-and-out, but in the rainy conditions, the snap on the punt attempt soared into the endzone as Woodgrove junior lineman Denver Elliott tackled the Broad Run punter for a safety.
With a two-score lead, the Woodgrove offense started to gel again as Miller broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run, before Thomas hit Salmin with a 65-yard touchdown strike to put the game out of reach late in the third quarter. Thomas finished the night going 12-for-19 for 232 yards and 2 passing touchdowns, while adding 99 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
“Going into halftime it was a close game, 21-14, but we just brought it in the second half,” said Salmin, who finished with 8 receptions for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. “Patrick and I were locked in. Over the season, we’ve just gotten tighter and tighter. It’s a brotherly thing; it’s not just about football.”
The Wolverines will look to ride this momentum into their Week 10 matchup with the VHSL Region 4C’s top-seeded Tuscarora Huskies in Leesburg. Broad Run will look to bounce back against Catoctin District No. 1 John Champe in a game with major playoff implications for the Spartans on October 27.
“They’re typical Tuscarora: extremely well coached and methodical in their execution,” Barlow said. “We’ll certainly have our hands full.”
|1Q||4:42||Broad Run||Aslin Shipe 11-yard TD run (Hector Quevedo PAT)||0-7|
|1Q||0:07||Woodgrove||Patrick Thomas to Connor Salmin 36-yard TD pass (Charlie Hughes PAT)||7-7|
|2Q||8:24||Woodgrove||Patrick Thomas 13-yard TD run (Charlie Hughes PAT)||14-7|
|2Q||7:23||Broad Run||Gavin Sidhu 34-yard TD run (Hector Quevedo PAT)||14-14|
|2Q||0:32||Woodgrove||Patrick Thomas 4-yard TD run (Charlie Hughes PAT)||21-14|
|3Q||7:45||Woodgrove||Denver Elliott safety||23-14|
|3Q||6:12||Woodgrove||Bryan Miller 42-yard TD run (Charlie Hughes PAT)||30-14|
|3Q||2:54||Woodgrove||Patrick Thomas to Connor Salmin 65-yard TD pass (Charlie Hughes PAT)||37-14|
|4Q||6:32||Woodgrove||Sam Goode 2-yard TD run (Charlie Hughes PAT)||44-14|