Fredericksburg, VA (November 28, 2014) The Stone Bridge Bulldogs dropped a regional semi-final game to the Massaponax Panthers 29-25 last night. The Bulldogs finish the season 10-3. Next week, Massaponax (13-0) will face the Tuscarora Huskies (13-0) in a battle of the unbeaten for the 5A North Championship at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, VA.
The game started out well for Stone Bridge, securing a 12-0 first quarter lead over the Panthers on a 1-yard touchdown run by Tanner Karafa and a 6-yard touchdown run by Collin Buckley. Both scores came on drives after the Panthers lost a fumble. In all, the Panthers fumbled the ball away 3 times in the first half. But the biggest play of the first quarter might have been on Stone Bridge’s first possession, when the Bulldogs second leading rusher, Chance Frye was knocked out of the game with a left ankle injury. Karafa, Buckley, and Joe Thompson were the Bulldogs driving force on the ground
The Panthers were able to close the gap on a 64-yard run by Bo Fields that made the score 12-7 early in the second quarter. This scored held until half time.
Stone Bridge extended their lead once again; on Collin Buckley’s second score of the game on a 9-yard run and an 18-7 lead. But the Panthers answered back with a 12-yard run by QB Joey Benden that made the score 18-15 at the end of the third quarter.
Massaponax had their own injuries to overcome to win the game, having lost LB/TE Gus Little on their first series with a shoulder injury and their QB Joey Benden with 1:34 left in the third quarter. Back-up QB Kurt Perges took over for the Panthers and led them on two fourth quarter TD drives and the victory.
The Panthers finally wrestled the lead away from Stone Bridge on a 17-yard TD run by Daniel Flowe with 8:38 remaining in the game. However, the Bulldogs answered back starting with a QB sack by DL Aaron Crawford that culminated with the Bulldogs getting the ball back and took a 25-22 lead with 4:21 left in the game on an 11-play, 72-yard drive that was capped off by Tanner Karafa’s second TD of the day on a 3-yard touchdown run.
The Panther’s winning TD drive was set up with a 48-yard kickoff return. The Panther’s then marched down the field in seven plays, but found themselves with a fourth and inches on the Bulldog 3-yard line. If Stone Bridge holds, they head to the championship game. However, Panther Tristen Medina had other plans in mind as he punched it in for a 29-25 Massaponax lead with 1:08 left in the game.
Stone Bridge was able to drive the ball to the Panther’s 31-yard line, but after failing to gain an extra point on their first three touchdowns; the Bulldogs were forced to go for a TD with time expiring. Stone Bridge QB Joe Thompson completed a pass to Brett Smedley for a 15-yard gain and ran the ball for several yard gains. However, the Bulldogs lost the ball after several lateral attempts to finish the game.
Stone Bridge 12 0 6 7 | 25
Massaponax 0 7 8 14 | 29