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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Wolverines stop Briar Woods winning streak


ASHBURN—Before Friday night, it had been over two years since Briar Woods had lost a football game.

When North Stafford came to town, the impressive streak slipped right through the Falcons’ fingers. Just like Von Purvis did. Time and time and time again.

The senior running back handled all but one of the Wolverines’ 41 team carries and racked up 247 hard-earned yards, scoring three touchdowns, and North Stafford beat Briar Woods 19–7, snapping the Falcons’ 32-game winning streak.

“I just followed my guards. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do,” Purvis said after the game. “They give me the holes that I get, and I just try to make plays.”

Purvis was established as the workhorse from the very first possession. He handled the ball on nine of the Wolverines’ first 12 plays and put them up 6–0 on a 2-yard run after a six-minute drive.

“He follows the legacy of really good backs [at North Stafford],” Wolverines head coach Joe Mangano said of Purvis. “This is his year. I said to him, ‘Your legacy will be made in the biggest of games.’”

The Wolverines were able to contain another big player for most of the game—Briar Woods senior quarterback Trace McSorley. He completed 16 of 32 passes for 177 yards and gained 63 rushing yards on 14 carries, but threw incomplete passes on three fourth downs.

Trailing 6–0 for much of the game, Briar Woods got a huge break with 6:31 left in the third quarter. McSorley scrambled for a first down but lost the ball at the North Stafford 15-yard line. But junior lineman Bryan Capozzoli was right there to scoop it up and run in for the touchdown, giving the Falcons a 7–6 lead.

The Wolverines responded with a drive that took the remainder of the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth, Purvis plunged into the end zone from the 1 on his 12th carry of the possession.

“This is my senior year,” Purvis said. “I don’t care if I have to carry the ball a hundred times. I’m willing to do it.”

On the ensuing possession, Briar Woods faced a third-and-4 on their own 41. McSorley went deep and had his receiver open, but Wolverines senior defensive back Keon Carter stepped in at the last second and broke the pass up that had looked like a Falcons touchdown.

That gave North Stafford the momentum it needed. Purvis rushed six straight times on the following drive, and on the sixth, he broke free for a 46-yard burst into the end zone with 7:09 left in the game.

Briar Woods went into a hurry-up offense to try to get back into the game. But on fourth down in Wolverine territory, McSorley’s pass slipped through the hands of his receiver and fell incomplete.

The Falcons would get the ball back once more, but with just over three minutes remaining, there simply was not enough time to come back. Their final drive also ended on a fourth-down incompletion. The winning streak was over.

“We really didn’t talk about [their winning streak] too much,” Mangano said after the game. “We just watched film, and film doesn’t lie. That’s a really good team. We tried to slow the game down, take their offense off the field and see if we could wear on them.”

The Wolverines (4–0) host Mountain View next week in a crucial matchup. And they hope this was a win that they can use to fuel a title run.

“We are a championship program,” Mangano said. “You never, ever, ever underestimate the heart of a champion, and I don’t know if anybody ever will again.”