Final score –
Freedom-PW Eagles (3-8) 0 7 9 6 22
Stone Bridge Bulldogs (9-2) 20 15 6 0 41
1 / 11:18 – Stone Bridge TD (Chance Frye 59-yd run; Vishal Gosain kick)
1 / 3:27 – Stone Bridge TD (Collin Buckley 8-yd run; Vishal Gosain kick)
1 / 1:10 – Stone Bridge TD (Joe Thompson 52-yd pass to Brett Smedley; Vishal Gosain kick missed)
2 / 6:42 – Stone Bridge TD (Tanner Karafa 3-yd run; Vishal Gosain kick)
2 / 1:21 – Stone Bridge TD (Collin Buckley 3-yd run; Tanner Karafa two-pt run)
2 / 0:01 – Freedom-PW TD (John White 6-yd pass to Quentin Wallace; Giovanni Diaz kick)
3 / 10:55 – Freedom-PW TD (Jonathan Williams 46-yd run; Giovanni Diaz kick)
3 / 7:04 – Freedom-PW Safety (Gervonte Fuller tackle)
3 / 0:39 – Stone Bridge TD (Collin Buckley 15-yd run; Vishal Gosain kick blocked)
4 / 7:52 – Freedom-PW TD (John White 6-yd run; Giovanni Diaz kick blocked)
Stone Bridge High School, Ashburn, Va. (November 14, 2014) — Score 35 straight points to start the game, and the tendency of young players might be to coast until the clock strikes zero. The problem with that is: While you’re coasting, others are catching up.
The No. 3 Stone Bridge Bulldogs did indeed pile up the game’s first 35 points against their 14th-ranked 5A North regional opponents from Woodbridge’s Freedom High School. And the Bulldogs did indeed win the playoff opener by almost a three-touchdown margin.
But after hardly being able to move the ball at all for nearly the entire first half, Prince William’s Freedom — nicknamed the Eagles just like Loudoun’s Freedom — found some holes in the Stone Bridge defense and ran off 16 straight points, making the home team and its fans squirm a little as the cold night grew colder.
Head coach Mickey Thompson acknowledged the postseason-opening win, but allotted much of his post-game concern to the Bulldogs’ inconsistent defense.
“It wasn’t a very good second half, that’s for sure. Some of it you have to attribute to it being 35-0, but you still have to play,” Thompson said. “Our defense struggled a little bit with their empty set in the second half.”
That defense, which hadn’t given up more than 19 points in any game all year, was stellar early on. After Chance Frye took an inside handoff the distance on the second play from scrimmage, Stone Bridge’s defenders kept Freedom from garnering even a first down in its first five possessions.
Meanwhile, Thompson’s famously tricky single-wing offense was amassing chunks of yards, finding the end zone in each of the Bulldogs’ first five tries. Junior quarterback Joe Thompson showed off his impressive deep-ball skills in connecting with Brett Smedley on the run for a long TD, but the 35-point barrage was carried primarily on the back of leading rusher Collin Buckley and the
bullying runs of Tanner Karafa.
The Eagles were getting increasingly frustrated, a mood manifested in their four personal fouls on one Stone Bridge drive late in the first half.
The visitors’ disgruntlement was soon assuaged, however. Using a little flea-flicking razzle-dazzle, quarterback John White zipped a pass to Quentin Wallace to get the Eagles on the board with the last play of the first half.
Freedom’s momentum carried well into the second half. First, they scored on their opening drive with just three plays. Then, they tipped and intercepted a Thompson pass, returned it 30 yards, then drove to the Stone Bridge 1-yard line. The Bulldog defense held on downs, but the Eagle defense answered immediately by tackling Frye in the end zone for a safety.
“We gave up a few points on defense,” defensive lineman Aaron Crawford said. “Obviously we can’t let that happen next week.”
The 16-point outburst narrowed Freedom’s deficit down to 19, but they would get no closer. The Eagles had a field goal taken off the board by penalty, and the subsequent attempt was blocked — a moment which swung momentum back in the Bulldogs’ favor, as they then rode Buckley for another touchdown which effectively sealed the game.
“We kind of let them back into the game, but we fought to the end,” Smedley said.
Stone Bridge is now one win away from a return to the 10-win plateau, something the Bulldogs did every year between 2002 and 2012 before a 9-3 output in 2013.
“Every win is important at this point,” Crawford said. “It’s not really the number of wins, it’s winning the last one.”
Viva Loudoun’s Steve Holland took 447 photos of the game, to view the gallery click here.
Freedom-PW stats –
Rushing: Jonathan Williams 10-66, 1 TD; John White 15-54, 1 TD; Josh Anderson 4-2; Marlow Smith 1-4; Bryan Lewis 1-1
Passing: John White 9 of 13 for 94, 1 TD
Receiving: Quentin Wallace 3-46, 1 TD; Miles Noye 2-32; Jonathan Williams 2-1; Josh Anderson 1-10; Marlow Smith 1-5
Stone Bridge stats –
Rushing: Collin Buckley 25-202, 3 TDs; Chance Frye 12-124, 1 TD; Tanner Karafa 7-43, 1 TD; Joe Thompson 4-2
Passing: Joe Thompson 9 of 14 for 145, 1 TD, 1 INT
Receiving: Brett Smedley 2-58, 1 TD; Chance Frye 5-49; Nathan Gorman 1-35; Andrew Ciampini 1-3
Other scores –
Loudoun Valley 20, Culpeper 14
John Champe 10, William Monroe 3
Woodgrove 21, Louisa 7
Briar Woods 50, Mountain View 13
Tuscarora 54, Edison 6
Broad Run 57, Halifax 0
Courtland 15, Dominion 13
Wakefield 25, Potomac Falls 18
Jefferson Forest 43, Loudoun County 21
Region semifinals –
No. 8 Wakefield (8-3) @ No. 1 Tuscarora (11-0), Friday 7 p.m.
No. 11 North Stafford (6-5) @ No. 3 Stone Bridge (9-2), Friday 7 p.m.
No. 5 Briar Woods (8-3) @ No. 4 Broad Run (8-3), Friday 7 p.m.
No. 8 Woodgrove (8-3) @ No. 1 Salem (11-0), Friday 7 p.m.
No. 6 John Champe (8-3) @ No. 3 James Monroe (9-2), Friday 7 p.m.
No. 10 York (7-4) @ No. 2 Loudoun Valley (8-3), Saturday 2 p.m.
Written by Jason S Rufner