By Dan Sousa
Viva Loudoun Editor
Ashburn (Sept. 21, 2013) – Stone Bridge High School, behind a punishing ground game that totaled 351 yards on 57 bone-weary carries, ran past rival Broad Run, 33-14, Friday before an estimated 5,000 fans
Trailing most of the first half in the emotionally-charged “Battle of the ‘Burn”, Stone Bridge (2-1) did not waiver from its single wing gameplan as the Bulldogs attempted just two passes on the night.
Instead the Bulldogs beefy offensive line carved out enough room at the line of scrimmage for the talented trio of senior Sterling Dailey (188 yards, 3 TDs), junior Collin Buckley (79 yards, TD) and senior D’Ante Yarborough (66 yards, TD).
Broad Run (3-1), playing at home, was able to move the ball at times with junior Brady Reitzel throwing for 169 yards on 13 of 21 passing with a TD and two interceptions, but the Bulldogs defensive front 8 bottled up the Spartans running game limiting Broad Run to 100 yards rushing on 28 attempts.
For starters the smooth Yarborough returned a kickoff 78 yards to the Spartan 9 after Broad Run had taken a 7-0 lead on Reitzel’s 25-yard TD pass to lanky senior Travis Fulgham with 1:02 left in the first quarter.
Yarborough’s big return would have gone unrewarded if not for Dailey’s second effort on 4th-and-goal from the 3. Hit just beyond the line of scrimmage, Dailey twisted around, kept his legs driving and backed his way into the end zone.
Stone Bridge still trailed, 7-6, after missing the extra point but after a 3-and-out, the Bulldogs used all three backs to go 62 yards on nine plays to take a 14-6 lead with 4:11 left in the first half with Yarborough scoring from 19 yards out and then he added the 2-point conversion on the ground for good measure.
Broad Run then had thee opportunities to tie things up but at the end of the first half a nice drive highlighted by a 33-yard Reitzel to junior Tyriek King hook-up was stopped in the Red Zone when the opportunistic Dailey intercepted the ball at the Bulldog 7 with 52 seconds left in the half.
The Spartans almost tied it up on gather second half opening kickoff when senior Corey Hilberath bust up the middle and had a clear path to end zone only to be dragged down at the Spartan 40 by the Bulldogs last defender.
Six plays later Fulgham hauled in a 34 yard heave from Reitzel and waltzed into the end zone but the score was waived off on offensive pass interference on the play.
Instead of a tie game the Spartans had to settle for a short punt from the Bulldogs 41 and it took Dailey just two plays to cover 77 yards going 19 and then sprinting 58 yards for the score that put Stone Bridge up 21-7 with 8:42 left in the third quarter.
Broad Run, which has never best Stone Bridge, never recovered from that turn of events and the Bulldogs confidence on both sides of the ball continued to grow as the game wore on.
The Bulldogs defense, which underwent some reshuffling after surrendering a total of 66 points in the first two games, stopped Broad Run on 4th and inches at the Bulldog 40 on the Spartans next drive.
Stone Bridge then took some time off the clock on a 10-play, 60-yard drive, eating up almost five minutes, with Dailey’s third score, from 2 yards out, making it a comfortable 27-7 Bulldog lead with 58 seconds left in the third.
Broad Run, however, kept any early exits in their seats with a quick 5-play scoring drive to make it 27-14 with 11:44 remaining. Reitzel was sharp on the drive with consecutive completions of 10 yards to King, 20 yards to junior Chuck Davis and 16 yards to Fulgham. That set up a 22 yard score by senior Da’Qwan Earl.
If there was a twitter in the stands after that score — and most likely on Twitter as well — it was because most in attendance still remembered Stone Bridge’s epic comeback two years earlier after trailing Broad Run 24-0 in the second half.
Stone Bridge was not about to let Broad Run return that favor as the a bulldogs iced the game behind the hard-nosed running of Buckley who carried it 7 of 8 times on a drive that ended with him plowing into the end zone with 8:11 to go.
Broad Run hurt itself on that drive with two key penalties — a 15-yard personal foul on the first play after Stone Bridge had recovered an onside kick at their own 45 and then the Spartans jumped offsides with the Bulldogs facing 4th and 1 from the Spartan 7.
Stone Bridge fans, many of whom were waiting to get inside the stadium two hours prior to kickoff, could finally relax after junior Corey Wells intercepted a bobbled pass at the Bulldog 12.
There was still 6:44 left and that was just enough time for Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson, a Broad Run graduate back in days when it as still referred to as “Cornfield High”, to make a final statement with his team running the clock out on 11 consecutive running plays before Thompson’s son, sophomore quarterback Joe Thompson knelt down in the victory formation.