Huskies Snatch Regional Title From Broad Run

By — Ronan Heykoop
Photo courtesy of Campbell Tyrell

The Huskies clearly have no problem with being the underdogs after spoiling yet another season. The Tuscarora Huskies secured the regional championship on Black Friday busting yet another undefeated season in a dominant performance over the favorites Broad Run. First, it was the Eagles of Liberty who fell (55-22) and on Friday it was the Broad Run Spartans who had their season ended with a heartbreaking loss to the Huskies.

The first time these teams met was exactly two months prior on the 29th of August. In that contest, the Spartans came out victorious (28-26). A long and gritty game concluded in dramatic fashion as a blocked field goal forced the Huskies to go for a two point conversion in an attempt to force over time in the dying seconds, but Broad Run dug in and produced a stop.

This second meeting was completely different. The first two possessions for both teams were lackluster with some short passes and decent run plays, but the ball stayed in the middle of the field with neither team reaching the Red-zone. After what seemed like an eternity, a horrible punt from the Spartans gave the Huskies great field position and Tuscarora took advantage. The Huskies immediately drew first blood on the first play of their second drive with a signature deep Ethan Gick to Jevonn Gilyard completion. With a long incremental drive from Broad Run which ended in a 17 yard completion pass from star quarterback Mitch Griffis the ball game was tied at seven. 

Gick and company immediately responded, driving down the field which ended in a jumping reception by Wide Receiver Ryan Upp, “upp-ing” the score to 13-7 and an extra point from Max Skirkanich made it 14-7. When asked what led to his personal success Ryan Upp said that “a big reason for my personal success during the game was from my teammates success. Jevonn [Gliyard]  took the top off the defense that opened up the underneath game which is where I’d say I specialize in. As well as Ethan [Gick] delivering some beautiful passes and hanging in the pocket.”

This is where the problems for the Spartans started. Their D1 committed (Wake Forest) quarterback Mitch Griffis wasn’t playing like himself from the get go missing three wide open deep balls by over throwing his receivers. Mitch was coming off an injury and hadn’t played in the playoffs thus far. In his place, his younger brother Brett Griffis was putting up some decent numbers against schools, including punching bags Mill Brook and Loudoun Valley, but he hadn’t faced true competition. After two uncharacteristic turnovers from Mitch, one fumble and one pick, the younger Griffis stepped in, prompting Mitch to leave the field for his last time as a Spartan. The interception was caught by ILB and Defensive Captain Josh Bendix, which was later converted by the offense on a pass to Bryce Duke.  That was followed by a blocked extra point making the score 20-7.

In the second half, the Huskies ran away with it driving down the field with little resistance from the Board Run defense. On the other side of the ball Brett Griffis couldn’t lead his team to much of anything going 4/14 for a mere 50 yards. On the other hand, the Tuscarora squad came out firing in the second half. With Ethan Gick finishing up his day in the office going 16/19 for 209 yards, 4 TDs and 12 rushes for 49 yards. Sophomore star running back Bryce Duke also had a good game after being dormant in the first half, ending with 26 touches for 111 yards and 1 TD. Ryan Upp and Jevonn Gilyard had a much better performance than they have had as of late wrapping up with 6 receptions each, and a combined 165 yards for 3 TDs. The Huskies closed out the game with the beat down at 30-7. Ryan Upp left the team’s success, “ to the coaches and the scout team… the most undervalued kids on the team are the kids that run scout team they come in week in and week out and take a beating from the starters but they give us a near identical look that broad run would give us and that really helps the team prepare and succeed for big games.”

Now the victorious Tuscarora team travels to Salem highschool who captured the win against E.C Glass in their regional championship (35-24) for the state semi-finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. When asked what this Tuscarora team need to do to pull out yet another upset and how he likes their odds Upp stated, “ I think the main thing we can do to beat Salem is not become complacent and stay focused coming off of a big win it is hard to stay focused but this team is different we soak in our victories on Friday and are watching film on our next opponent the next day. And I know our coaches will prepare in the best way possible to beat Salem.” With that outlook I’m very excited to see this contest and it will be difficult to predict who comes out on top.