Inside the Dog Pound by Jackie Howell
Viva Loudoun High School Intern
Ashburn (Aug. 27, 2013) – As the sweltering rays of summer come to a close, the last moments of August are spent cherishing noon wake-up calls, perfecting tans poolside, and planning the last beach getaway before the reality of “back to school” shatters the dreamlike state. While all of Loudoun are enjoying these moments, Stone Bridge High School’s finest – the Bullldogs varsity football team – is hard at work with “two a day” practices, strenuous conditioning at the gym, and hours reviewing game film.
Wanting to get the inside scoop behind the Bulldogs preseason, I came to the source itself, Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson.
When asked about team goals for the season Thompson’s answer was simple, “To get back the state championship.” This feat is well within the Bulldogs grasp judging by the team’s stellar track record; the ‘dawgs have a AAA Division 5 state championship title under their belt from 2007, along with four state championship runner-up finishes in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2012. The hardest competition on the Bulldogs regular season schedule appears to be non-district powers Westfield and Lake Braddock.
In order to achieve a coveted second state football title the Bulldogs are keeping with the status quo; no fine tuning or major changes to the preseason conditioning, just hard work on the field and in the weight room.
“As far as conditioning and practice, we are keeping the same workouts as past years,” Thompson said. “Everyone does the same thing but what sets us apart is the commitment of our players; we like to think that we work harder.”
Workouts on the field include agilities, blocking, and tackling drills followed by extensive strength training in the weight room.
“Over the summer players regimens are all over the place; they are all attending different camps at different workout facilities,” Thompson said. “After tryouts week, we all return back to the uniformity of our workout regimen.”
The focus for the Bulldogs this season is team unity.
“Because we don’t have any preseason superstars we are relying more on team effort,” Thompson said.
The Bulldogs maintain a brother-like bond, despite the constant cycling of upcoming freshmen and graduating seniors, by relying on the older players to set a positive example.
“We really rely on the seniors for leadership,” Thompson said.
Thompson notes standout leaders such as returning all-state wide receiver D’ante Yarborough, and running back Sterling Dailey.
“D’ante and Sterling are strong players that effectively lead the team.” Thompson said.
With its seasoned coaching staff, well-tested conditioning program, and strong upperclassmen leadership, the Bulldogs appear to have the makings of yet another crushing season.
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.