Behind a relentless ground attack, Broad Run (8-2 regular season) ran over Tuscarora (5-5) and pulled away late for a 42-21 win in the first round of the class 5A playoffs. The Spartans advance to a second round match up next Friday night at Stone Bridge.
The backfield trio of Meech Hembry, Ryan Braithwaite and Mitch Griffis combined for more than 300 yards rushing in a dominating win.
Braithwaite and Griffis rotated snaps under center, while Hembry did a little bit of everything out of the backfield. A series of huge plays from Hembry in the third quarter helped swing momentum – and set up the win for the Spartans.
Trailing 28-14, Tuscarora drove deep into Broad Run territory, but on second-and-goal from the nine, Hembry picked off Tuscarora quarterback Justin Allen in the end zone and returned the interception 30 yards. On the next play, Griffis found Hembry on the sidelines for a 31-yard gain. Griffis then ran a quarterback keeper off an option read, racing past the Huskies’ defense for a 36-yard touchdown run, his second on the game.
“With our blocking, we usually get one-on-one with either the quarterback or the running back against the safety, so if you can break one tackle, you’re gone,” Griffis said.
The rapid succession of plays put Broad Run up 35-14, effectively ending the game. Hembry would add an exclamation mark with a 31-yard run touchdown in the fourth quarter that put his team up 28. After Tuscarora scored a late touchdown to make it 42-21, Hembry recovered the ensuing onside kick.
On defense, the Spartans held Tuscarora to less than 30 yards rushing. While they Huskies were more effective through the air, particularly in the first half, they were not able to keep up the scoring from the Spartan’s three-headed monster in the offensive backfield.
“Just heart and effort, that’s what we ask from the from the (defensive) guys, and they never fail to give it,” Griffis said.
Broad Run went into half time up 21-14 in a first half that showcased the teams’ vastly different offensive styles.
Broad Run controlled the first half on the ground, gaining 138 yards on 23 carries. Hembry, Griffis and Braithwaite all all scored a first-half touchdown. Griffis and Braithwaite scored touchdown runs of 32 and 46 yards, respectively, on quarterback keepers off of read-option runs in the first half. Hembry added 55 yards rushing on 13 carries, including a 9-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Lead by Allen, the Huskies attacked the Spartans through the air. The sophomore was 11 out of 19 passing for 156 yards, completing passes to six different receivers. Tusky scored its first touchdown on a four-yard pass from Allen to Taye Davis that capped off a 10-play, 77-yard drive. The Huskies scored on their next offensive play touchdown on a 62-yard flee-flicker from Allen to Gunnar Biebighauser.