Ashburn, Va. (December 9, 2016) — It’s kinda like a do-over. A shot at payback. A chance for redemption. For the Bulldogs of Stone Bridge High School, it’s just what the man in charge wanted: One more crack at the Springers of Highland Springs High School on the state’s biggest gridiron stage.
He’s got that shot – and his kids are gonna do everything they can to make it count.
Three hundred sixty-four days ago, as he trudged off the Scott Stadium grounds stinging from Stone Bridge’s 27-7 defeat to the Springers, head coach Mickey Thompson had that feeling of something undone. Points were left unclaimed on Stone Bridge’s board, big opposing plays became the Bulldogs’ bane, and a bad taste was left that has persisted in the Bulldogs’ mouths ever since.
Tomorrow, inside Armstrong Stadium on the campus of Hampton University in that corner of the Commonwealth called The 757, the Bulldogs (12-2, champions of 5A North) look to set things straight as they rematch with the defending title-holder Springers (13-1, champions of 5A South) in a crown-showdown overflowing with both talent and intrigue.
This time, will the Bridge fly over the Springs? One thing’s for certain: This title-tilt will be whole new ballgame.
In preparing to write these few semi-clever paragraphs on this hyperintriguing matchup, I looked back at last year’s Viva Loudoun Toppest Ticket preview preceding the Bulldogs/Springers clash of ’15. From that piece, here’s the ‘graph my eyes seized first:
They have a senior (Joe Thompson) at quarterback, a senior (Chase Ridley) at wingback, a senior (Lawton Riggs) at blocking back, a senior (Dewayne Winston) at running back, a senior (Brett Smedley) at wideout and a senior (Tyler Alcorn) at placekicker…plus a pack of seniors (Paul Ciavarro, etc.) in the secondary, a plethora of seniors (Nick McIntyre, Jackson Brown, Omar Rosario, Matt Fialdini, et al.) in the linebacker corps and a profusion of seniors (Andrew Vastardis, Steven Sachs, Jake Hinkle, Ethan Seu and friends) digging into the wartrench known as the line of scrimmage.
Paradoxically, it’s more of the same for the ‘Dogs this time…only different.
Stone Bridge has a senior (Easton Turner) at quarterback, a senior (Joshua Breece) at running back and a senior (Leland Girdy) at halfback, protected by several seniors (Dillon Carey, Brian Fredrikson, Aaron Pappy, Michael Weeks) pushing and shoving at the point of attack…plus a preponderance of seniors (Daniel Renaud and Co.) manning the defensive front with plenty more (Dohnavyn Jefferson, Aidan McFarlane, Derek Major, Jack Jones et al.) in support as d-backs and l-backers.
Moreover, the juniors Stone Bridge has installed at tight end (Daniel Thompson), flanker (Tyrese Johnson), fullback (Bradley Block), linebacker (Kellis Martin, Joe Nameth and Eric Palmer), strong safety (Hunter Petrakis), defensive end (Jack Kosko) and backup running back (Josh Lawyer) will give Highland Springs quite a few new uniform numbers to memorize.
The Springers figure to be a tough out again. They lost only one game by only one point, and that was three months ago. They have a college-bound dual-threat senior quarterback in Juwan Carter (24 throwing TDs, 19 rushing ones) with the huge (literally) advantage of running behind 300+ pound tackle Mekhi Becton, a senior attracting high-level collegiate interest. When not running it himself, Carter hands off to backs Shy’Re McKeiver (839 rush yards) and Willie Harkless (599 rush yards). Though the Richmond-area school has recently graduated a heaping handful of fast guys to the next level, the Springers’ characteristic team speed remains intact.
It’s all to say that this here’s an entirely different Bulldogs team, a different Highland Springs team, and a different game. So, different result, maybe.
Let’s see how different. The Viva Loudoun team will be there in full force with tag-team photographers, complete reportage and as many of the sights, looks and feels as we can cram into one website. The Bulldogs are getting a rare chance at real revenge; don’t miss your chance to learn all about it. Follow along with the Twitter tweets @VivaLoudoun.
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for Viva Loudoun Media Communications