For every big moment Friday night, Melvin Briggs was there for St. David’s.
The junior running back/defensive lineman scored on two long touchdown runs and the winning two-point conversion, and he scooped up a fumble to seal the Warriors’ 22-20 win over Cary Christian.
“It was a pretty good night,” said Briggs, who had 163 yards on nine carriers. “We had some great blocking up front, and I just ran my hardest.”
After neither team gained much traction in the first quarter, Briggs opened things up early in the second. He ripped off a 53-yard TD run, then added a two-point conversion run to put the Warriors ahead 8-0 with 10:25 to play in the first half.
The Warriors got the ball back two minutes later and went right back to Briggs. This time, he tore off an 86-yard run to give St. David’s a 14-0 lead.
While Briggs’ long scoring runs put St. David’s defense on the field for longer stretches, the Warriors held firm. They only allowed Cary Christian 86 yards of total offense in the first half. Linebacker Braxton Montague also had an interception.
Outside of Briggs’ two long runs, the Knights bottled up St. David’s. The Warriors had only 60 additional yards of offense, and the Knights forced one fumble, recovered by Austin Leaming, and had two quarterback sacks from Marc Dessenberger and Greg DeDecker.
The Knights turned the game around in the third quarter. Scott Pechacek’s interception gave CCS the ball at the St. David’s 32 early in the third quarter. Five plays later, Noah Schomburg scored on a 20-yard run.
On their next series, Nick Smith’s run from 13 yards and Leaming’s two-point conversion tied the game at 14.
On St. David’s ensuing play from scrimmage, Leaming stripped the ball away and raced 34 yards to the end zone to give CCS its first lead of the night, 20-14.
“The talk at halftime was, we were going to win the game if we didn’t turn the ball over,” said St. David’s coach Daniel Evans. “We put ourselves behind the eight ball. We put our defense in bad position, but they still did awesome.”
A Warriors’ defensive stand gave them the ball back at midfield with 9:37 to play, and they marched down the field for the go-ahead score. Trey Jeutter plunged into the end zone from 3 yards out before Briggs bowled his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion for a 22-20 lead with 6:15 to play.
From there, the Warriors’ defense held. On fourth and long near midfield, St. David’s Chris White and David Pierce teamed up for a QB sack, forcing a fumble that Briggs scooped up and nearly got to the end zone.