The Stone Bridge Bulldogs overcame a sluggish start with a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way for a 33-14 victory against Langley in the Northern Region Division 5 semifinals Nov. 16 in Ashburn.
“We didn’t play our best game tonight,” Stone Bridge coach Mickey Thompson said. “We made some mistakes and turned the ball over, but we did what we had to do and came through in the end.”
Penalties and turnovers stalled the Bulldogs several times in the first half. Following a scoreless first quarter, a fumble by Saxon punter Andrew Gentry on Langley’s 4-yard line turned the tide for Stone Bridge.
The Bulldogs (12-0) got on the board with just more than four minutes to go in the first half when Christian Strahin plunged in from 3 yards out.
After a three and out by Langley on the ensuing possession, Stone Bridge parlayed the running of Strahin and Sterling Dailey into another score. Dailey capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, his first of two rushing scores in the win.
Dailey was the Bulldogs’ top offensive threat in the win - racking up 192 rushing yards on 28 carries. Overall, the Bulldogs rushed for 301 yards.
“I just wanted to contribute and do as much as I can to advance us to the next round of the playoffs,” Dailey said. “The line played great. They opened up big holes so I could make the plays. It was just a good night.”
Stone Bridge received solid play from its defense, holding the Saxons scoreless through three quarters. Liberty District Offensive Player of the Year Philip Mun rushed for 136 yards on 15 carries, but was not able to get into the end zone.
“Our front line played very well,” Thompson said. “We have four very good linemen and with Jon [Allen] getting limited time, other players stepped up.”
Allen, the Liberty District Defensive Player of the Year, has been hampered with a sore shoulder and was rested several times during the game. The University of Alabama commit expects to be ready for the region championship game.
“I’m a little sore now, it was a hard-nosed game, and we expected that from Langley,” Allen said. “It’s just good to see our hard work and dedication pays off. It’s great to be in the region championship.”
Stone Bridge quarterback Ryan Burns completed 6 of 9 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, along with one interception. D’Ante Yarborough and Jimmy Higgins both caught touchdown passes.
“Ryan’s passing was very good tonight,” Thompson said of the Stanford University commit. “He was very accurate and made good decisions with the ball.”
The Saxons (7-5) broke up the Bulldogs’ shutout bid with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Langley quarterback Nick Casso passed for 166 yards and a touchdown.
Stone Bridge will attempt to win its fifth region title in the last six years Nov. 23 at home against Yorktown (12-0). The Patriots defeated South County in the region semifinals, 48-28, to keep their perfect season intact.
“I am glad we are playing Yorktown,” Thompson said. “I know our guys probably wanted to play South County for the revenge factor, but I like playing somebody new. It should be a great game.”
Stone Bridge 33, Langley 14
SB: Strahin 3 run (Smedley kick) 4:02
SB: Dailey 8 run (kick failed) 0:16
SB: Higgins 6 pass from Burns (run failed) 0:22
L: Novacki 1 run (Ochoa kick) 9:53
SB: Dailey 5 run (Smedley kick) 4:18
L: Ochoa 20 pass from Casso (Ochoa kick) 2:14
SB: Yarborough 50 pass from Burns (Smedley kick) 1:47
-Rushing: SB - Dailey (28 for 192 yards, 2 TD), Strahin (11 for 73 yards, TD), Yarborough (7 for 29 yards); L - Mun (15 for 136 yards)
-Passing: SB - Burns (6 of 9 for 101 yards, 2 TD, Int.); L - Casso (8 of 14 for 166 yards, TD)
-Receiving: SB – Yarborough (3 for 63 yards, TD), Higgins (3 for 38 yards, TD); L - Collier (4 for 77 yards, TD), Novacki (2 for 61 yards)
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