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December 14, 2013

5A State Football Championship Blog!

3:00 PM: It was a wild finish to a wonderfully played VHSL Group 5A State Football Championship here at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, where the L.C. Bird Skyhawks made it back-to-back undefeated state title winning seasons, rallying from 15 down to defeat the Briar Woods Falcons by a count of 35-28.

Bird got big plays from some of their main performers - - Earl Hughes running the ball, Rasheed Worsham with a critical punt to tilt field position and an interception, and QB Terrance Ervin with the two-point conversion that tied the score. A marvelous job by David Bedwell's Skyhawks to make it 30 consecutive wins, and for Briar Woods it was a tough ending to an otherwise terrific season. Briar Woods was six minutes away from making it a four-peat, doing something that seldom happens in VHSL football.

Below are the Numbers from the 5A Championship match.

5A State Championship Final Stats:

L.C. Bird Skyhawks 35: (15-0 Overall)
Terrance Ervin - - 16 of 32 for 267Yds. 2-1TD/Int. ratio
Earl Hughes - - 35Car. 180Yds. 2TD's; 4Rec. 87Yds. TD
Rasheed Worsham - - 6Rec. 113Yds. TD
Shawn Payne - - 6Rec. 67Yds.
Tyler Wilkins - - 7 Total Tackles (6 Solo), 3TFL
Rayshard Ashby - - 5.5 Total Tackles (5 Solo)
Skyhawks - - 445 Total Yards (267 Pass, 38Car. 178Yds.), 6 of 14 Third Downs

Briar Woods Falcons 28: (13-2 Overall)
Trace McSorley - - 11-23 for 255Yds. 3-1TD/Int. ratio; 10Car. 44Yds; 8 Solo Tackles
Melvin Holland Jr. - - 5Rec. 199Yds. 3TD's
Jordan Hinson - - 6Car. 16Yds.
Tristan Miller - - 3Rec. 25Yds.
Dominic Moore - - 6 Solo Tackles
Darrell Ramey - - 4.5 Total Tackles (4 Solo)
Falcons - - 331 Total Yards (255 Pass, 23Car. 76Yds.), 4 of 9 Third Downs

Key Stats were fourth down conversions, where L.C. Bird was 3 of 4 compared to Briar Woods' 0 of 1, as well as Time of Possession (30:39 to 17:21 edge for the Skyhawks).

We'll have More Coverage to come from my VirginiaPreps.com colleagues Rod Johnson and Danny Lewis, including Game Recap and Postgame Sound, so stay tuned. Plus, we have the 6A State Championship coming up around 4:07 PM between the Oscar Smith Tigers (14-0) and Centreville Wildcats (14-0).

2:45 PM: The pass on fourth-and-6 for Briar Woods is incomplete as the intended target is unable to hold onto it going to the ground. L.C. Bird now takes over from their own 40-yard line with three minutes to go, in front of the Falcons by a count of 35-28.

All L.C. Bird wants to do at this point is run out the clock and cap another undefeated 15-0 season to make it back-to-back State Championships. On fourth-and-1 with 1:05 to play from their own 49-yard line, Coach David Bedwell calls time-out and decides he's going for it . . . it's a gutsy move in that if they are unsuccessful it gives a talented and dangerous Briar Woods offense a chance to score and send this to overtime.

It takes guts to win a state title, and L.C. Bird is going to make it back-to-back as QB Terrance Ervin, who has made important plays all season long, sneaks ahead for the first down that will allow the Skyhawks to run out the clock.

Time will tick down and the Skyhawks make it 30 wins in a row, back-to-back State Championships!

5A FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL SCORE - - L.C. BIRD 35, BRIAR WOODS 28

Final Numbers and more to come right here on VirginiaPreps.com!

2:40 PM: Does Briar Woods have a comeback in them to answer L.C. Bird's remarkable rally? They start it off with an incomplete pass, but Trace McSorley shows plenty of pocket presence and poise, completing a pass, and then a penalty is called for on L.C. Bird, personal foul. It looked a tad bit questionable to me from up hear, but I'm elevated, cold and a little woozy, so I'm not the most reliable source in the world at this point.

Bird gets it back with a Briar Woods penalty that backs the Falcons up to the 48-yard line, just inside the 50. We've got 3:59 to go and Briar Woods has to find a way to get it to their big-play weapon Melvin Holland, or if he's double covered, give Brandon Polk a chance to do something in space. A McSorley pass is deflected by junior Tyler Wilkins. McSorley takes off on second down, which sets up third-and-6 from the 40-yard line of Bird nearing the 3 minute mark.

Earl Hughes, who has been the workhorse all year long on offense, steps up in crunch time on defense by deflecting a pass. It's fourth down now for Briar Woods, and their State Championship hopes rest on this play. We'll get a time-out with 3:08 to go by Charlie Pierce as the Falcons huddle to try to keep their season alive.

2:32 PM: My, oh my, how quickly things can change. Down 15 at the break, L.C. Bird has battled back for the second straight week this postseason to erase the deficit, and now they are thinking about taking the lead as Rasheed Worsham comes up in a gigantic way with an interception of Briar Woods QB Trace McSorley. That sets Bird up at the 40-yard line of the Falcons.

A few plays later, it is Earl Hughes with a 'oh no he didn't,' type of juke move on his way to the end zone on a 29-yard touchdown run. PAT is good and suddenly the Skyhawks are in the lead.

4:22 to play - - L.C. Bird 35, Briar Woods 28

All I can say is 'Wow.' If Briar Woods can rebound from those punches thrown and landed by the Skyhawks, then major kudos to them. They have won three straight state titles, so I won't count them out just yet.

2:26 PM: Penalties are rearing their ugly head at the wrong time for L.C. Bird, backing them up to the 41-yard line of Briar Woods on third-and-11. A pass by Terrance Ervin is off the mark, and now Coach David Bedwell has an interesting call to make - - punt again or go for it this time on fourth down? He's got less time on his side, trailing Briar Woods 28-20 with 6:40 remaining.

They go for it and Ervin delivers a strike, one of his best passes of the day without any question, to Rasheed Worsham over the middle for 17 yards. On the next play, Shawn Payne comes up with a critical catch to the 11-yard line, and then it is a scoring paly for Bird with Ervin hitting Earl Hughes for a touchdown. Briar Woods' defense was befuddled by the formation the Skyhawks ran at them, and then on the two-point conversion it is Ervin keeping it for the tying play.

6:04 to play - - L.C. Bird 28, Briar Woods 28

Does it get any better than this? State Championship on the line, midway through the fourth quarter and we're all deadlocked. The only thing better than this would be sunny and 70 degrees. My fingers, legs, knees and toes would appreciate it greatly.

2:22 PM: Down by eight, L.C. Bird starts to get its offense going for just a little bit and then third down hits and they are stopped as Terrance Ervin's pass if overthrown. The Skyhawks have thrown for 215 yards going into the fourth quarter, but their timing has been off at times and that is the sixth time today they've been unable to convert on third down.

On fourth-and-7, Coach Bedwell will elect to punt it and Rasheed Worsham rewards him with a 43-yarder down to the Briar Woods three-yard line. The Falcons cannot dig themselves out of their own end as on third-and-2 it is Shawn Payne coming through with the key play for the Bird defense. Briar Woods punts it back, and the Skyhawks are set up with rather god field position at the 40-yard line of the Falcons with just under nine minutes to play.

This is Earl Hughes time for the Bird offense, and up 28-20, Briar Woods will have to get its run defense to stand tall to preserve that advantage in the sleet here in Charlottesville.

2:15 PM: It is clear that Melvin Holland Jr. was born with the clutch gene. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound standout wide receiver for Briar Woods came in with 59 catches for 870 yards and 14TD's on the season. Holland's latest snag is a 73-yarder for a touchdown, his third of the day, from QB Trace McSorley. At the end of the play, Holland used the stiff-arm yet again to separate from the defender on his way to the end zone.

PAT is up and good and just like that Briar Woods has quieted the raucous L.C. Bird crowd in attendance in Charlottesville. But no need for Bird to panic - - they are still down only one possession, and can tie it up with a touchdown drive, followed by a successful two-point conversion. They're certainly capable of doing it . . . can they stop McSorley and Holland in crunch time is the bigger question to ponder?

11:43 left to play - - Briar Woods 28, L.C. Bird 20

2:10 PM: Down 15 at the half, L.C. Bird has battled back and Terrance Ervin's touchdown plunge from a couple yards out brings the Skyhawks within one. They are unable to tie it up, however, as the extra point is no good. But we've got ourselves a barn-burner in Charlottesville in the State Championship.

11:57 left t play - - Briar Woods 21, L.C. Bird 20

Don't be shocked to see Briar Woods go back to its combination of McSorley-to-Holland. They've done it all day long and it has worked like a charm.

2:06 PM: On first-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Bird is stopped cold by Briar Woods star Trace McSorley, who's seen leaping over the defense to make the tackle. What heart and hustle exhibited by this young man, Earl Hughes of L.C. Bird and several of these individuals on this field in a classic Championship match as we reach the end of three quarters and the drama is building in Charlottesville, folks.

End 3rdQ - - Briar Woods 21, L.C. Bird 14

Skyhawks will have it at the 2-yard line on second-and-goal to start the fourth period. It won't shock me at all to se overtime needed to decide this one. Both teams showing the heart of a Champion.

2:03 PM: Briar Woods converted 3 of 4 third downs in the first half, but have failed on two key opportunities this half, giving the ball back to L.C. Bird with 3:16 left in the third period. The Skyhawks have it at their own 22-yard line, trailing the Falcons 21-14 in this hard-nosed tussle for the 5A State Championship. Bird's defense is starting to find some answers for this Briar Woods offense, forcing a three-and-out and now their running game can go to work.

And as their running game goes to work, so does tailback Earl Hughes. He's tearing off bits of yardage little by little, and on a pivotal third-and-3 from the 44-yard line of Briar Woods, Terrance Ervin heaves it deep down the field to Hughes. A remarkable catch by Hughes with Dominic Moore, the junior for Briar Woods, draped all over him. A penalty is called on Briar Woods, it's declined and the pickup of 42 yards has the Skyhawks at the 2-yard line of the Falcons.

1:59 PM: Briar Woods doesn't blink and after a five-yard run by L.C. Bird, it's Trace McSorley making his presence felt on defense by intercepting Skyhawks QB Terrance Ervin. It has been a tremendous all-around performance from McSorley, using his arm, legs and instinctiveness on defense to impact this game for the Falcons as they seek a fourth consecutive state title.

Ahead 21-14 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter, Briar Woods will start at its own 42-yard line, pretty decent field position.

1:55 PM: On third-and-11 from the 21-yard line of L.C. Bird, Briar Woods QB Trace McSorley has his pass batted down by senior defensive end Casey Wallace. That means Briar Woods will either go for it or kick the field goal on fourth down. Nick LaFrankie's attempt from 38 yards is no good and simply not enough leg on this frigid day in Charlottesville.

Not in love with the decision to try the field goal there instead of going for it, but again, I'm not a coach just one of those pundits that second guess. Nonetheless, the Bird defense holds and a touchdown could tie the game for them on this series as they trail 21-14 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.

1:50 PM: There's a reason why Briar Woods is going for a four-peat and they don't let anything get to them to rattle them. After L.C. Bird's impressive 8-play, 77-yard touchdown drive to start the third quarter, the Falcons are on the move thanks to their two star performers from the first half - - and all season long for that matter. We're talking about QB Trace McSorley and WR Melvin Holland.

On second-and-13 from their own 49-yard line, Holland senses the moment and delivers with an 11-yard reception and McSorley converts the third-and-2 with a run as he has repeatedly hurt the Bird defense with his mobility.

Brandon Polk's chain-moving reception puts the Falcons at the Bird 20-yard line. It might take another Skyhawks takeaway in the red zone like the one they had on the game's opening possession to prevent Briar Woods from increasing its lead.

1:45 PM: The L.C. Bird fans are roaring their approval after Terrance Ervin's 43-yard completion on the move to Rasheed Worsham, who now has five grabs for 95 yards on the afternoon. It puts the Skyhawks at the 1-yard line, where they give it to, who else? It's tailback Earl Hughes with his 43rd touchdown run of the 2013 campaign. Bird's two-point conversion if good on Ervin's pass against the grain to Hughes.

8:36 left 3rdQ - - Briar Woods 21, L.C. Bird 14

Bird is back in business. Briar Woods needs an answer in a big way and can ill afford a three-and-out to let the Skyhawks' confidence grow further.

1:40 PM: L.C. Bird begins the second half at their own 23-yard line. A couple penalties (they only had 4 for 40 yards in the first half) move them back on their opening drive, but the big conversion comes on third-and-7 from the 27-yard line where QB Terrance Ervin throws off his back foot, completing a pass to Shawn Payne for a first down in front of DB Chris McMillian of the Falcons. It's good to see McMillian back from that injury he suffered earlier, but he's not moving all too well in the secondary in this chilly, wintry mix at Scott Stadium.

Earl Hughes is starting to rev it up, juking past defenders and he's now over the 100-yard mark for the game and over 3000 - - yes, 3 thousand - - for the season. He's been nothing short of phenomenal. Bird now has it into Briar Woods territory at the 44-yard line.

1:30 PM: We're a few minutes from getting the second half underway in the 5A State Championship from Charlottesville and UVA's Scott Stadium, where the Briar Woods Falcons lead the L.C. Bird Skyhawks 21-6. Don't forget, the 6A State Championship follows this one at approximately 4:07 PM with the Oscar Smith Tigers taking on the Centreville Wildcats in a battle of undefeated teams and a re-match of the 2011 AAA Division 6 Final.

Here are numbers so far in the first of our Championship double-header . . .

Stats at the Half:

Briar Woods 21:
Trace McSorley - - 7-9 for 147Yds. 2-0TD/Int. ratio; 8Car. 48Yds.
Brandon Polk - - 2Car. 9Yds; PR TD
Melvin Holland - - 3Rec. 115Yds. 2TD's
Tristan Miller - - 3Rec. 25Yds.
Dominic Moore - - 4 Solo Tackles, Sack, TFL

L.C. Bird 6:
Terrance Ervin - - 8-18 for 94Yds. 1-0TD/Int. ratio; 1Car. -5Yds.
Earl Hughes - - 18Car. 86Yds.
Rasheed Worsham - - 4Rec. 52Yds.
Shawn Payne - - 4Rec. 42Yds.
Tyler Wilkins - - 4 Total Tackles (3 Solo)

Briar Woods' duo of McSorley and Holland are leading the way for their offense, which has put up 219 total yards so far to L.C. Bird's 175. The Skyhawks are 4 of 9 on third down conversions, but got stopped on fourth down in the red zone before the half. If Bird can score before the break, they're right back in position to make a second straight comeback win. Briar Woods will have to control the line of scrimmage to maintain its lead, and they're getting a great all-around performance from McSorley, who has made plays with his feet and leads the team with 4.5 tackles.

The second half is moments away with Bird getting the ball to begin the third quarter.

1:15 PM: L.C. Bird gets the ball back with less than a minute to go in the half and cannot do much with it as on third-and-2 running back Earl Hughes picks up 12 yards and time expires.

HALF - - Briar Woods 21, L.C. Bird 6

We'll have Stats and more in a little bit!

1:11 PM: Briar Woods is seriously threatening before the half with its offense and the combination of Trace McSorley to Melvin Holland is paying dividends for the Falcons today. A 30-yard reception by Holland, using a stiff-arm towards the end of the play to help him gain a few extra yards puts Briar Woods down at the 2-yard line of L.C. Bird.

On first-and-goal from the seven-yard line after a penalty, L.C. Bird's Shawn Payne does a nice job defensively in coverage to keep the Falcons from connecting for a touchdown. However, the very next play, Bird's defense is unable to stop Melvin Holland, who gets open for his second receiving score of the day and 16th touchdown catch of the season. PAT is up and through.

0:43 left 2ndQ - - Briar Woods 21, L.C. Bird 6

The Falcons have to like their chances of a four-peat.

1:05 PM: On fourth-and-11 from the 11-yard line of Briar Woods, L.C. Bird is stopped as the pass by Terrance Ervin is a bit high and sails out of the end zone. A critical stop by the Briar Woods defense as the Falcons maintain a 14-6 lead with 5:52 left in the second quarter.

Facing third-and-8 from their own 14-yard line, the Vanderbilt commit Trace McSorley scrambles for a first down run. His ability to keep plays alive with his feet has been a major factor in this first half for the Briar Woods offense. McSorley does it again on second down for a substantial gain, even pump-faking a defender on the move. Briar Woods is leaning on his savvy at the QB position today for sure.

A superb reception on third down by senior wide receiver Tristan Miller of Briar Woods on third down from McSorley is good for 17 yards, putting the Falcons into L.C. Bird territory with 2:08 before half-time. Briar Woods is going with its no-huddle offense late in this quarter and the multiple receiver sets are making the Skyhawks cover a lot of ground defensively, and not overly successful on this series I might add.

12:59 PM: These comeback routes by the L.C. Bird receivers, particularly Rasheed Worsham, have given Briar Woods' defense fits. Worsham's latest grab gains 13 yards to bring up third-and-6 from the 16-yard line, but the Falcons make a stop with senior linebacker Jack Mercil running down QB Terrance Ervin for a loss of four yards. It'll be fourth-and-10 from the 20-yard line.

It's decision time for Coach David Bedwell of Bird and he is lining up to go for it with a four wide receiver set. They throw it, the pass is incomplete in the end zone, but there's a flag and it's on Briar Woods as a defensive back was tugging on the jersey of the intended target, junior Tyler Wilkins. The snow is starting to fall heavier in Charlottesville and the Skyhawks have a fresh of set of downs with 5:57 left in the second quarter and Briar Woods leading.

On second-and-10 from the 10-yard line, Earl Hughes is met by a trio of Briar Woods defenders - - Mark Birmingham, B.J. Hinson and Darrell Ramey. That is followed up by an incomplete pass on third down right near the pylon as the Briar Woods pass rush was right on Ervin and Ryan Rulkowski nearly intercepted the pass. Bird will call time-out and go for it on fourth-and-11 from the 11-yard line of Briar Woods with 5:08 left in the first half.

12:51 PM: The L.C. Bird offense is starting to march down the field with precision and execute like they've been doing all season long during this incredible 29-game winning streak of theirs as the offensive line with Quadrick Barnes, Trey Ramsey and company is opening up holes for Earl Hughes to run through. It's a physical offense with not a ton of flash and dash, but plenty of substance that gets the job done. Briar Woods has won there titles in a row for a reason and they're a resilient group that will have to clamp down at crucial times against this powerful offense.

Briar Woods might now have to do it without junior defensive back Chris McMillian, who just walked off on his own power with what looks like a leg/knee injury. Behind the great running of Hughes, Bird is now at the Briar Woods 20-yard line, breaking off chunk after chunk and a couple of superb blocks delivered by Andre Davis and Nick Mcara on that latest run. As long as Bird doesn't hurt itself with penalties (remember, they had 21 last week vs. Salem), they should be in position to score and be a two-point conversion away from tying the score.

12:45 PM: On third-and-16, Briar Woods QB Trace McSorley does a wonderful job escaping the pocket and trouble to pick up 15 yards, barely short of the first down as freshman 'backer Rayshad Ashby is there to prevent him from moving the chains. An interesting decision for Coach Charlie Pierce of Briar Woods now - - do you go for it on fourth-and-1 or play it safe and punt? Me, I'm a gambler, I'd go for it . . . but he chooses otherwise and he knows a lot more about football than me, so I can't blame the guy.

L.C. Bird will begin at its own 25-yard line, trailing the Falcons 14-6 in what is turning out to be quite a battle for all the marbles in 5A at UVA.

12:40 PM: The energy and momentum seems to be shifting towards the L.C. Bird side as they try to dig out of what was a 14-point deficit and now trail by just six to a Briar Woods team looking to make history and try to become only the third school to win four VHSL state titles in a row (and join Phoebus and Hampton). Briar Woods QB Trace McSorley gets sacked on second down by Bird senior lineman Tayvon Harris. Protection issues are starting to arise for the Falcons, who might have to put an extra guy in to block and that would mean one less target for their star triggerman.

End 1stQ - - Briar Woods 14, L.C. Bird 6

It's pretty even in the numbers with Briar Woods' 107 total yards to L.C. Bird's 93, both teams doing most of their damage through the air to this point. An important third-and-16 on the way for Briar Woods when the second period starts.

12:37 PM: You hate to call it a do-or-die moment in the first quarter, but it had a small feel of that for L.C. Bird on fourth-and-3 from the Briar Woods' 27-yard line with the Falcons up 14-0. Bird elected to go for it, on the first try appeared to be stopped, but a penalty made them replay the down and the Skyhawks convert behind their stud Earl Hughes with a four-yard run. That run for Hughes and push up from by the offensive line has to give them some confidence given that they hadn't gotten much going prior to that on the ground.

Facing another key third/fourth down, Bird comes through with Rasheed Worsham hauling in a 7-yard touchdown from QB Terrence Ervin on third-and-5. The PAT was blocked.

1:08 left 1stQ - - Briar Woods 14, L.C. Bird 6

Is the momentum starting to swing? We'll find out as Briar Woods will try to get something back in its favor on their third offensive possession of the game late in the opening period.

12:33 PM: Ahead 14-0, Briar Woods has to feel great because L.C. Bird's bread and butter is running the football with Earl Hughes and now they have to throw it maybe a bit more than they'd like, but also must be able to stop Briar Woods' offense, which they haven't really done to this point. If not for a turnover at the 20-yard line, the Falcons could be up 17-0 or 20-0 right now.

Needing a big drive, L.C. Bird's offense is starting to deliver, beginning on second-and-8 from their own 49-yard line with Rasheed Worsham hauling in a 17-yard pass from Terrence Ervin. With the run game somewhat bottled up in the early going, both Worsham and Shawn Payne have stepped up at the receiver spot for the Bird offense.

Those curls and hitches are there for Coach Bedwell's Skyhawks. I'll be interested what kind of adjustments Briar Woods makes against the pass as the game progresses, and if it will affect their job so far against the run, which has been nothing short of fantastic in one quarter of play.

12:26 PM: Briar Woods is on the board again and it didn't take long for them to strike for their second touchdown, first offensively of the day. Quarterback Trace McSorley heaves a bomb on third-and-9 to Melvin Holland for a 78-yard touchdown on what appeared to be a deep post pattern. That gives the Falcons a double-digit lead, which really is uncharted territory for the defending State Champs from Bird.

For Briar Woods, they are looking to make it four in a row and Charlie Pierce's team has come to play, not bothered one bit by the elements as it is getting colder and some wintry mix (rain and snow) is starting to fall.

4:47 left 1stQ - - Briar Woods 14, L.C. Bird 0

Bird absolutely needs to respond with a scoring drive here or they're flirting with major trouble against a Briar Woods team that has the explosiveness to continue making things happen through the air.

12:21 PM: In a somewhat unfamiliar spot, L.C. Bird is trailing 7-0 against Briar Woods and the Skyhawks begin operating their second possession from their own 39-yard line. Bird goes to the air with Terrance Ervin finding Shawn Payne for some solid gains down the field, including a key 16-yard completion on third-and-2 from their own 47-yard line. One positive is the passing game is finding openings against this Briar Woods defense. One negative is they aren't running the ball with a ton of success against the Falcons' defense and credit those linebackers and defensive linemen for reading their keys well.

A penalty moves Bird back and on third-and-20, Ervin is unable to connect on what would've been a huge gainer. That means Coach David Bedwell's bunch will punt it away to Briar Woods.

Bird fans sitting just in front of colleague Danny Lewis and me are going ballistic. One guy is literally screaming so hard here in the cold that it looks like his face is going to freeze off or he might have a heart attack. Hope the guy doesn't pass out.

A weather update - - it has stopped snowing for the moment.

12:15 PM: The first series for L.C. Bird is not a good one as the Skyhawks go 3 and out. On the punt, the snap flies by the punter and into the end zone, where he retrieves it and barely gets the kick off to avoid a safety. Unfortunately, a safety might've been better for Bird as waiting to return it was Brandon Polk of Briar Woods and the talented junior returns it 16 yards for a touchdown. Extra point, after a penalty is good - - and the guys from Ashburn have the early lead.

8:42 left 1stQ - - Briar Woods 7, L.C. Bird 0

12:11 PM: Briar Woods is operating well to begin behind Vanderbilt commit Trace McSorley at quarterback. McSorley scrambles 19 yards for a first down into L.C. Bird territory. While Briar Woods was moving the ball well, it doesn't end in a touchdown as they turn it over on a McSorley fumble, recovered by Rayshard Ashby. The freshman linebacker for the Skyhawks has been a takeaway machine in the postseason and also came up big with a blocked field goal a week ago vs. Salem.

L.C. Bird will take over at its own 20-yard line. We are scoreless with just over 10 minutes to play in the opening quarter.

12:07 PM: We are underway from snowy Scott Stadium in Charlottesville at UVA as Briar Woods will receive the football first against L.C. Bird. The Skyhawks try an onside kick, recovered by the Falcons at their own 43-yard line where they'll begin.

11:55 AM: Greetings and welcome to our 5A State Championship LIVE BLOG from Scott Stadium at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where the undefeated L.C. Bird Skyhawks (14-0) will take on the Briar Woods Falcons (13-1). L.C. Bird is trying to make it back-to-back titles, while Briar Woods is seeking their fourth in a row. The Skyhawks currently own the longest winning streak in the VHSL at 29 games. Can Briar Woods stop it?

Bird enters with a dominant running game, spearheaded by Earl Hughes, who's climbing the VHSL rushing list as he enters with 2919 yards and 42 touchdowns rushing on the season to date. Quarterback Terrance Ervin complements him well with the passing game, having connected on 105 of 186 passes for 1847 yards and 30 touchdowns. Briar Woods has a dynamic offense of their own, led by quarterback Trace McSorley and standout receiver Melvin Holland, who comes in with 59 catches for 870 yards and 14 touchdowns.

VirginiaPreps.com's 5A State Championship Preview - - CLICK HERE

VirginiaPreps.com Prediction: L.C. Bird 21, Briar Woods 17
Hat's Prediction on the Game: Briar Woods 21, L.C. Bird 20

Later on today, we'll have the 6A State Championship between undefeated squads in Oscar Smith (14-0) and Centreville (14-0) - - so keep it tuned here all day long, all weekend long and all week long on VirginiaPreps.com!

Matthew Hatfield has covered football and basketball since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail hatfieldsports2k4@yahoo.com, and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.



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