Briar Woods' football team was ranked 94th in the country by MaxPreps and honored during their Tour of Champions in January 2013. Photo Credit: Precision Sports
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- The Briar Woods Falcons finished the 2012 football season 15-0 and claimed their third consecutive Virginia 4A state title with a 52-0 win against Heritage of Lynchburg.
In January, they were honored by the MaxPreps Tour of Champions as the 94th high school football team in the country.
Now, as the team moves into the 2013 season, with quarterback Trace McSorley at the helm, its future is looking bright. As a junior, McSorley threw for 2,506 yards and 33 touchdowns and ran for 745 yards and nine TDs.
Standout seniors like linebacker Matt Rolin (Florida), H-back Cam Serigne (Wake Forest), wide receiver Devin Ramos and running back Cory Colder are graduating this spring, but coach Pierce says he's confident the team will reload and see continued success.
USATodayHSS: What was it like for you and your players to be recognized by MaxPreps?
Pierce: It was a big to do. They came in with a huge trophy. They brought the National Guard ... we did a halftime basketball game, a bunch of pictures [and] interviews. It was pretty exciting stuff to be recognized in the country like that.
USATodayHSS: What do you think it did for your players to get that kind of attention -- especially for the younger guys on the team -- what do you think it did to motivate them?
Pierce: Since we've been in states ... each year we've played 15 games. We've played 45 games in the last three years, so there's a combination of things that's allowed us to continue to be successful. That extra five weeks where we've got sophomores or juniors, that's when they really start to fine-tune themselves and they really step up, they feel more confident ... Then when they see all this recognition, not only for guys who've moved on to Florida Stanford, Wake Forest, James Madison and other places -- that adds fuels to fire and then when they see this MaxPreps thing -- that fuels: 'Hey we've got to continue to keep moving this thing forward and keep our tradition going.'
USATodayHSS: Trace McSorley's got an incredible high school career already, on the field and off, what makes him so successful?
Pierce: As we got into his freshman year, you could see that he had some intangibles, even at his young age, that were going to carry him forward. His football acumen, his leadership ability was beyond his years, and obviously his athletic ability, his competitiveness ... those things kept on growing ... He's a package that's hard to come by. I tell everybody he's the next Johnny Manziel in the making.
USATodayHSS: Coming off of a perfect season in 2012, what are you going to focus on in 2013 and how much are you going to have to reload?
Pierce: Virginia's doing a new reclassification that starts next year ... We were the highest at the AA level (Division 4) so our enrollment is dictating us to move forward, so we're moving up to 5A ... Other schools are moving up with us that we've played already [but] we're [also] going to step outside the county. We're going over to Fredericksburg to play some traditionally good schools over at North Stafford, Brooke Point, Colonial Forge ... we've got seven playoff teams on our regular schedule -- that in itself creates a focal point there. We have a good nucleus of guys coming back. We will lose some guys who have been a part of the program for two years, three years, who've gotten the program where it is now ... so we've got some big shoes to fill ... but I feel good about our guys.
USATodayHSS: You were named Division 4 Coach of the Year, so what does that mean to you personally and how do you feel about getting recognized for your part in the team's success?
Pierce: Sometimes, I guess, years from now I'll step down and I'll think about all this stuff, look at the years, look at those things and I'll be saying, 'Man, that's some pretty great stuff for me.' But it's hard. In the moment, as a coach, you're miserable until after that Friday night win ... I don't like all the limelight, the limelight to me is what the players do on Friday and the victory. That's what makes me feel good and the assistant coaches who all played for me as high school players and them being a part of my staff, being a part of who we are as a program, that means a lot.