For a second consecutive season, the Stone Bridge Bulldogs claimed the Virginia Class 5 state football championship in walk-off fashion Dec. 11 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk.
In the 2020 state final — delayed until May 1 of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic — Jacob Thomas made a spectacular one-handed catch of a 16-yard pass from Billy Wiles in overtime to lift the Bulldogs to a 13-10 victory over Highland Springs.
Thomas — who took the reins at quarterback this season with Wiles now playing at Clemson University — was on the passing end of the game-winning touchdown in the 2021 state championship game.
With Stone Bridge and Maury tied at 21-21 in the final seconds of regulation, Thomas rolled out to his left before releasing a pass toward the right sideline. Junior Zeke Wimbush caught the pass at the 4-yard line and eluded a tackler before extending the ball over the goal line for a 37-yard touchdown as time expired.
A frenzied celebration ensued on the Bulldog sideline as Stone Bridge prevailed 27-21 to earn its second consecutive state championship.
“It’s honestly insane, like a dream come true,” Thomas said. “As a kid, you grow up thinking you are going to make these moments and most people don’t. To have two walk-off touchdowns in one year is pretty crazy.”
The Bulldogs (15-0) scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter to turn an eight-point deficit into a six-point win over Maury (8-2).
With Stone Bridge trailing 21-13, Thomas connected with senior Dylan Hundertmark for a 36-yard touchdown. Thomas rushed for the two-point conversion to pull the Bulldogs even with a little more than four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
On Maury’s ensuing drive, Stone Bridge senior defensive back Zach Laing delivered a key open field tackle on third down to force a punt.
The Bulldogs gained possession on their own 10-yard line and proceeded to drive 90 yards in 59 seconds for the winning score. Wimbush caught a 32-yard pass to move the ball past midfield prior to his touchdown reception.
Thomas finished with three touchdown passes in the win, also connecting with senior Doniven Cooper for a score in the second quarter. Senior Eli Mason eclipsed 100 rushing yards and scored a touchdown in the third quarter.
Stone Bridge avenged a 28-21 loss to Maury in the 2019 state final and earned its third state crown in program history. Coach Mickey Thompson has guided the Bulldogs to 24 consecutive wins.
Thomas and his senior teammates conclude their Bulldogs careers on top as state champions for a second straight season.
“Hopefully, our class goes down in history as one of the best classes to come through Stone Bridge,” Thomas said. “It’s just a great feeling to know you put up two state championships on that board.”
Stone Bridge 27, Maury 21
M: Jones 5 run (Moody kick)
SB: Thomas 19 pass to Cooper (Dastejerdi kick)
M: Miles 1 run (Moody kick)
SB: Mason 2 run (run failed)
M: Granger-McNeal 25 run (Moody kick)
SB: Thomas 36 pass to Hundertmark (Thomas run)
SB: Thomas 37 pass to Wimbush
2021 STATE FINALS
Class 6: Oscar Smith 42, James Madison 17
Class 5: Stone Bridge 27, Maury 21
Class 4: Varina 28, Broad Run 21
Class 3: Phoebus 22, Liberty Christian 14
Class 2: King William 48, Graham 21
Class 1: Riverheads 45, Galax 14