School: Stone Bridge
District: AAA Liberty
Coach: Mickey Thompson (12th year, 110-23 at Stone Bridge)
2010 record: 14-1 (7-0, Liberty champ, Northern Region champ, Division 5 state finalist)
Stone Bridge is one season shy of completing a decade-long run that is almost unmatched in Virginia football history. The Bulldogs enter 2011 with nine straight seasons of 10 or more victories.
The numbers are staggering as the Bulldogs have posted a 110-13 record since 2002. During that stretch the Bulldogs’ trophy case has bulged with eight straight district titles, seven regional crowns and the 2007 Division 5 state title.
Only at the state level have the Bulldogs run into a roadblock, falling to nemesis Phoebus the past three seasons – including losses in the last two state title games.
To reach double-digit wins again, the Bulldogs will rely on the talents of two juniors – quarterback Ryan Burns and defensive lineman Jon Allen. Both players already have college offers in hand with Allen making a splash as a sophomore with a school-record 20 sacks.
“I love just being on the field,” said Allen, who can expect some playing time this year in the backfield as well.
Bulldog coach Mickey Thompson, who started the Bulldog program in 2000, says teams face a quandary as double-teaming Allen frees up the other Bulldog defenders and even the extra attention may not stop Allen.
“Even if you put two guys on him, you still might not be able to block him,” Thompson said.
The Bulldogs lost 2,000-plus-yard rusher Marcus Harris and 2,000-plus-yard passer Brian Rody to graduation, along with the all-around talents of Spenser Rositano and Kyle Gouveia, but Stone Bridge will finally unveil the talents of the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Burns at quarterback. While Burns has never started a varsity game, his skills in offseason camps have college scouts’ eyes lighting up.
Thompson praises Burns’ field awareness and leadership and in maybe the biggest compliment of all, the Bulldog coach says that the offense will be focused around the spread and five-receiver sets rather than Stone Bridge’s calling card single-wing offense.
“We have a big-play ability that we haven’t had in a lot of years here,” Thompson said.
Stan Johnson is the lone returner on offense at receiver. Juniors Warren Miles and Cameron Reynolds should be in the starting backfield. Sophomore D’Ante Yarbough and junior Rassaun Goldring will play receiver. Seniors Sean McCoy and Matt Crowder and junior Gabe Stewardson will anchor the offensive line.
The defense will include Miles back in the secondary, Allen up front and linebackers Aaron Palmer and Mike Tompkins.
Also on defense, look for junior tackle Drew Dettra and senior linebacker Richie Toal to make the most of their chances, Junior Christian Strahin and sophomore James Manning should make an impact as well.
The Bulldogs’ schedule is buzz-worthy with non-district matchups against AAA powers Robinson and Chantilly to open the year and then a much-anticipated Sept. 23 game against Ashburn neighbor Broad Run, coached by former Bulldog offensive coordinator Matt Griffis. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2004.
“We finally get to see who is the best in the ‘Burn,” Allen said.
Sept. 1 Away vs. Robinson, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 Away vs. Chantilly, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 Home vs. South Lakes, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 Home vs. Broad Run, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 Home vs. Thomas Jefferson, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 6 Away vs. Langley, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 Home vs. Marshall, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 Away vs. McLean, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28 Home vs. James Madison, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 4 Away vs. Fairfax, 7:30 p.m.
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