Inside the Dog Pound by Jackie Howell
Viva Loudoun High School Intern
Ashburn (Sept. 5, 2013) – With a new Stone Bridge High School football season comes a fresh batch of bright eyed captains, stepping up to the plate to fill the shoes of last year’s great leaders. Seniors James Manning, Nick Sobhani, Nate Davis, D’Ante Yarborough, Sterling Daley, Mike Hickey, and junior Tony Gallegos have all taken the formidable challenge of leading the Bulldogs in 2013, starting with Friday’s marquee match-up at home against Lake Braddock. Both teams are ranked in the Top 20 in the Washington, D.C. metro area with Stone Bridge No. 3 and Lake Braddock No. 11.
Here is an inside look on each of the captains; their thoughts on leadership, what they bring to the table, and unique facts not many people may know:
James Manning – Senior, Fullback
With the experience and knowledge of four years on varsity under his belt, Manning has learned the ins and outs of successfully leading a team.
“I expected to be captain because I’ve been on the varsity team for four years and I feel like a leader.”
As a captain, Manning uses his enthusiastic personality and undying competitive drive to inspire and motivate his fellow Bulldogs on and off the field.
“What I bring to the table as a captain is energy, I’m an energetic guy and I try to get people excited.”
When Manning is off the field he fuels his passion for the musical arts.
“What many people don’t know is that I like to sing and play piano.”
Nick SobhaniNick Sobhani- Senior, Offensive Tackle
Sobhani used his years starting for the Bulldogs to hone in his leadership skills and learn from the older players.
“I expected to be captain because I’ve been on the team for four years and started for two.”
Because the line is so crucial to the team’s offensive success and control of the entire game, Sobhani has stepped up to lead his lineman brothers.
“I feel good as a captain and a lineman because our line is a strong part of the team.”
Leading by example, Sobhani makes sure to keep his teammates in check.
“I’m a good role model, kids look up to me because I make sure they do what their supposed to do.”
Tony Gallegos – Junior, Nose Guard
Representing the junior class, Gallegos has taken the challenge of being a captain with strides.
“I’m surprised to be a captain because I’m one of the younger guys; I think I’m a leader because I’m the loud guy on the field that brings the hype.”
Like recently graduated captain Gabe Stewardson, Gallegos brings a rousing excitement to the team and to the fans.
“I bring hard work and charisma to the team; I try to be like Gabe (Stewardson) getting the crowd motivated and into the game.”
When not on the field one could bump into Gallegos on the tennis court.
“Not many people know that I like playing tennis.”
D’ante Yarborough- Senior, Wide Receiver
Yarborough used the successes last season to motivate himself and his team.
“I expected to be captain because I what I brought to the team last year, I was a playmaker and we had a great season.”
Not only does he use track as a leadership outlet, Yarborough also hones in his speed and agility learned from track to improve his football game.
“Being All State in track and football doesn’t affect me personally, players look up to me as an example and track is beneficial because it helps me to be fast.”
Playing beside some of Stone Bridge’s greats such as Marcus Harris, Stan Johnson, and Jon Allen, Yarborough has learned how to effectively lead his team through the good times and the rare Bulldog bad times.
“I learned from the older captains to not be as vocal but lead by example, I try to make sure everyone’s straight and keeping focus.”
When he isn’t catching passes on the field or running over hurdles Yarborough could be seen on the golf green.
“Not many people know that I’m a very good Madden player and I love playing golf.”
Sterling Dailey- Senior, Running Back
Dailey is confident in himself as a player and a leader because of the hard work he puts in for the team.
“I think I’m a great captain because of my leadership for the team and the fact that I work hard.”
Motivated by the defeat against Lake Taylor last season in the VHSL D5 state championship game, Dailey has pushed his team and himself so they can secure the coveted state title.
“Losing States last season has definitely helped me to work harder.”
Despite what Dailey plans to do, he has the tools and experience of being a Bulldog captain under his belt to insure success.
“Being a Captain of the Bulldogs will help me in the future because it shows how to work with people.”
Nate Davis- Senior, Offensive Guard
Davis is confident as a captain because he learned from playing alongside his former role models for four years.
“Because I have been on the team for four years I’ve witnessed all of the previous captains and learned to copy what they do.”
Like his fellow captains, Davis’s approach to leading is about balancing fun and focus.
“As a captain I like to come out excited and get everyone pumped on the field but also focused on the work we have to do.”
Being one of four lineman captains, Davis finds comfort in having his fellow lineman for support.
“The fact that I’m a part of the line helps since three of the other captains are lineman too; it really takes the burden off.”
As a UNC Charlotte commit, Davis already has college thoughts on the horizon and is excited about being a part of the football program.
“I chose Charlotte because of the coaching staff and the strong program; once I’m there I plan on studying to become a chemical engineer.”
Although football is Davis’s first love, he can be seen shooting hoops in his spare time.
Mike Hickey- Senior, Offensive Tackle
Hickey uses his experiences playing on varsity for four years and starting for three to encourage his team on and off the field.
“I bring to the table more experience being a leader and more experience in the program.”
As a captain, Hickey keeps his team in line by being loud but acts as an “older brother” for his younger teammates by being supportive and understanding.
“My approach to being a captain is being loud but at the same time making sure the guys know they have someone to talk to.”
Being a lineman works to Hickey’s advantage because of his size and intimidation factor.
“I’m bigger so people can see me more and know that I demand respect.”
In his spare time Hickey gives back to the community as a decorated Eagle Scout.
As we learned in this inside look, each captain has his own personality, approach to leading, and outside interests. Despite their differences, what all of the captains have in common is their love and passion for the game of football and for their Bulldog brothers. Now It’s time for the captains to put their leadership to the test as the daunting season lies ahead … kickoff Friday is 7:30 p.m. in Ashburn.
Inside the Dog Pound is a column by Stone Bridge High School senior Jackie Howell, a Viva Loudoun high school intern for the 2013-14 school year, who will follow the Bulldogs football team during the 2013 season.
For more information about the Viva Loudoun internship program, drop editor Dan Sousa a note. We are looking for interns from each high school in Loudoun County.