Stone Bridge High School's approach to area football has become much like 'The Most Interesting Man In The World'. The Bulldogs don’t always play teams from Loudoun County. But when they do, they prefer winning. Convincingly.
Stone Bridge illustrated this Sept. 20 in beating neighboring rival Broad Run 33-14, extending its streak to 11 years of not having lost to another Loudoun school. That happened in 2002 when in only the second year of its varsity existence, Stone Bridge lost to Park View.
"When they walk over here and see all these kids in the stand ... they get very excited," Bulldogs coach Mickey Thompson said. "We haven't had the chance to experience that in Fairfax so they came in very motivated.
Stone Bridge did have to look from behind in the early going, as Broad Run jumped to a 7-0 lead thanks to a 24-yard touchdown reception by Travis Fulgham from Brady Reitzel.
But the Bulldogs answered with 27 unanswered points using a dominating rush attack to pull away from their Ashburn rival
"That was our game plan going in," said senior Sterling Dailey, who rushed for 196 yards and three touchdowns. "Our offensive line got a great push so I could get 3-4 yards easily every play. We slowed the game down, and that's just part of our offense."
Dailey scored his first touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run, and added scoring plays of 58 yards and 2 yards in the third quarter to widen the margin. The offense churned out more than 300 yards of rushing yards on the night, as a vicious offensive line for the Bulldogs dominated the line of scrimmage all night.
The unit was playing so well that quarterback Joe Thompson was only commanded to throw the ball twice.
"We thought we could run the ball," Thompson explained. "We thought that was our strength and their weakness, is the line play. I thought [the line] played as well as they did last week. It was just play after play after play. I think we're only going to get better and better."
Although the offense clearly did its part in knocking off the Spartans, the Stone Bridge defense buckled down after allowing an average of 33 through two weeks.
"That was the biggest thing. That's what I'm most excited about," Thompson said. "We made some personnel switches, and the people that we switched around, they came through for us. I think we have the right chemistry now on defense."
D'Ante Yarborough and Collin Buckley added rushing scores for the visitors, who are unbeaten in seven tries against Broad Run.
Missed opportunities and costly mistakes ended up hurting the Spartans, including an offensive pass interference penalty on a long touchdown reception that would have tied the game at 14-14.
Da'Qwan Earl scored the Spartans' second touchdown on a 22-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't convert on some fourth-and-shorts, and that pass interference down here was a game changer," Broad Run coach Matt Griffis said. "We just had some missed opportunities. We played a good ballclub, Stone Bridge is a good team. We'll see how we react next week. We have tough kids, and they need to be ready to come back to work."
Stone Bridge 33 Broad Run 14
BR: Fulgham 25 pass from Reitzel (Sergei kick) 1:02
SB: Dailey 4 run (kick failed) 11:14
SB: Yarborough 19 run (Yarborough run) 4:11
SB: Dailey 58 run (Vishal kick) 8:42
SB: Dailey 2 run (kick failed) 0:53
BR: Earl 22 run (Sergei kick) 11:44
SB: Buckley 4 run (run failed) 8:11
-Passing leaders - SB: Thompson (2-2-0, 5 yards); BR: Brady Reitzel (13-20-1, 167 yards)
-Rushing leaders - SB: Dailey (26-196), Buckley (12-81), Yarborough (12-60); BR: Earl (12-52 yards), Hilberath (5-21)
-Receiving leaders - SB: Purcell (1-3), Dailey (1-2); BR: King (3-61), Fulgham (3-53), Davis (4-48)
-Photos by Greg Nash