Ashburn, Va. (October 29, 2015) — So often, the course of your future depends on what you do now.
That aphorism will definitely apply this Friday night, when the Bulldogs of Stone Bridge High School host the Panthers of Potomac Falls High School in the Viva Loudoun Top Ticket Of The Week.
Both the Panthers (6-2, 27.125 powerpoints for 8th in 5A North) and the Bulldogs (4-4, 27.25 powerpoints for 7th in 5A North) are vying for an upper-half finish among the 16-team field which will comprise the region playoffs in just a couple short weeks.
That’s a big deal. While both the Panthers and the Bulldogs are comfortably in the mix to earn postseason berths, a placement in the top-8 means a home game for that tricky first round, and the possibility of another home playoff game later on.
Since the Bulldogs are in the 7-slot with the Panthers on their heels in the 8th, the team that wins when The Falls go over to The Bridge will get a nice bump up the standings, while the loser could fall into a bottom-half hole just before the second season begins. Suffice it to say, both sides will want this game somethin’ fierce.
How will this contest proceed? Well, I’ve seen Stone Bridge and Potomac Falls a fair amount, in living color and on video, and my considered analysis can be summed up as follows: I got nothin’. No idea. Pretty dang clueless. It could be a shootout or it could be a struggle, or it could be a nail-biter or a romp, one way or the other.
Potomac Falls has had a fine year, already the most successful in head coach Jason Allen‘s three seasons. The Panthers have excelled on defense, permitting just 21 points to the same high-powered Tuscarora squad that just hung 42 on Stone Bridge. They’ve got some heavy lifters along that defensive front, from Malik Crowe to Owen Bolyard to Dondrea Tillman, plus athleticism on the edge with Jack Mologne, Alex Nemer and Everett Quirk.
Not to be outdone is the Panthers’ offense, with efficient senior quarterback Brady Williams, the backfield duo of Grant Misch and Kash Jackson, and speedy Kaevon Chase on the outside. This year’s Potomac Falls team is a complete one.
Stone Bridge has endured an up-and-down campaign, typified by the Bulldogs’ spoiling of Broad Run’s perfect record two Fridays ago, followed the next Friday by a thorough trouncing courtesy of Tuscarora. It is not the customary Bulldog squad to which we’ve all been accustomed over the years: They’re physically smaller than in the past, with not quite as many überathletes as usual to get a rise out of major-college coaches.
Still, junior running back Joshua Breece is fun to watch with the ball in his hands, and senior Chase Ridley is a potential game-changer at wideout. Another senior, Brett Smedley, is a proven commodity as a pass-catching tight end. Andrew Vastardis is a 6’4″, 320-pound monster along the offensive line, and 6’5″, 280-pound Nick Young teams with him quite nicely. The single-wing offense employed so expertly by head coach Mickey Thompson can be successfully operated by either senior QB Joe Thompson (who’s recovering from an ankle injury) or junior Easton Turner.
Which team will come out on top and solidify a claim for a home game in the 5A North opener? Like I said, I dunno. But these Cats and Dogs are running neck and neck for all-important postseason positioning, so you know they’ll be fighting tooth-and-nail in the Viva Loudoun Top Ticket Of The Week. Stay on top with the tweets @VivaLoudoun.
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Written by Jason S Rufner
for © Viva Loudoun Media Communications