Ashburn, Va. (December 11, 2015) — All season long, among themselves, the Bulldogs of Stone Bridge High School have talked of “return.” Return to states, return to supremacy, return to the glory achieved by so many young men before them.
On Saturday, at 12:07 p.m., inside the football stadium at the University of Virginia, the Bulldogs will return – but their journey will not be complete until at least 48 game-minutes later, when they hope to return to Ashburn with the biggest possible prize.
The skies above Scott Stadium at Saturday’s high-noon kickoff are projected to be mainly sunny and 61º, an unconventional December day to end an unconventional Stone Bridge season (10-4). Normally I would urge Stone Bridge’s and Loudoun’s and Northern Virginia’s football fans to be sure to be there for this one, but I know that’s entirely unnecessary. This one’s big. This one’s important. This one’s special. This one’s for the ‘Dogs.
Not that there won’t be stiff competition. The Springers of Highland Springs High School, from the Richmond area, are 13-1. They were the top seed in their conference and their region, and they trounced Indian River last Friday to make states. They have a very good throwing quarterback in Juwan Carter and a home run hitter in Greg Dortsch. Their sole setback came in the season opener, in overtime, by one point. The Springers are very good and deserving of the state title shot they’ll get.
So what. These Bulldogs have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. They’ll give Highland Springs a shot, alright: Their best shot.
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.
Those upperclassmen were merely freshmen in 2012, when they witnessed the Bulldogs lose the last time Stone Bridge made states. They were in seventh grade when Stone Bridge dropped states in 2010, and in sixth when the Bulldogs fell in 2009. For them, the 2007 state championship is a fourth-grade memory – if one at all, or something they might have overheard their Ashburn Youth Football League coaches make mention of.
They’re young adults now, fully aware and almost fully grown, and they’ve learned the history. The Bulldogs have won an absurd number of football games in the school’s decade-and-a-half, an astronomical number of wins. They’ve won districts and regions, road contests and home ones, comebacks and nailbiters and blowouts, almost always ending with double-digit win totals and sometimes north of a dozen. But just once, only once, could they call themselves state champs…and that was half a lifetime ago.
For more than 20 seniors sporting silver, white and two-tone blue, history rests in their hands. And they could seize it and never let it go until its safely back at home.
Be there with us, spiritually if not physically. Viva Loudoun will be there with all the coverage, the photos and scores and stats and story. Follow along @VivaLoudoun.
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for © Viva Loudoun Media Communications