The ball hit the Stone Bridge receiver in between the numbers as he ran a short crossing pattern, bounced off his pads and landed in the hands of Chantilly senior Ben Cobb as the linebacker spun toward the ground.
With that, the Chargers sealed their 22-14 upset of No. 2 Stone Bridge on Saturday afternoon in the second game of a tripleheader at Westfield. It was a fitting way to end the game: Cobb’s interception was the fifth of the day for Chantilly, which gave Stone Bridge’s offense fits throughout the contest. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers (2-0) found a rhythm in the second half and got back in the game behind place kicker Billy Germain, who nailed field goals of 39 and 47 yards.
“Our team’s tough,” Chargers quarterback Sonny Romine said. “We’re going to come out and we’re always going to grind. That’s just Chantilly. That’s what comes with getting Chargers on your chest.”
The loss was Stone Bridge’s first in the regular season since Oct. 19, 2009, a 28-14 defeat to Madison. Prior to that, the Bulldogs’ last regular season loss came against Robinson, 41-14, on Sept. 7, 2007.
Chantilly’s defense deserved the bulk of the credit. Stone Bridge (1-1) could not run effectively, averaging less than two yards per carry, and the Bulldogs threw nearly as many interceptions (five) as completed passes (eight).
The game turned on a defensive play. With 6 minutes 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter, a slew of Chargers broke through Stone Bridge’s offensive line and sacked quarterback Ryan Burns in his own end zone for a safety to cut the Bulldogs’ advantage to 14-5.
Germain blasted a 47-yard field goal on Chantilly’s next possession, and soon after that Jimmy Hicks came up with his second interception of the game, setting up Will Hill-Pensamiento’s one-yard touchdown plunge. Germain’s extra point gave Chantilly the lead for good with 8:40 left.
The defense stopped Stone Bridge one yard short on a key fourth down on Chantilly’s 25-yard line with 2:41 remaining. Shortly after a Chargers’ punt, Daniel Decenzo’s 25-yard interception return for a touchdown made it an eight-point cushion with 40 seconds left, and Cobb’s interception provided the final statement for a Chantilly team that felt overlooked in a stacked Virginia AAA Concorde District.
“We’re not too worried about statements,” Hicks said. “We get underrated every year and we’re usually in the end fighting for one of those spots in the championship.”
With No. 3 Centreville leading West Potomac by just four points in the third quarter on Saturday morning, All-Met senior Ken Ekanem was lead blocking for teammate Manny Smith when he looked down and suddenly saw the ball at his feet.
Ekanem picked up the loose ball and, despite cramping, rumbled 30 yards into the end zone. The play would be the turning point in a 49-10 blowout win for the Wildcats in the first game at Westfield.
Smith “was thanking me after because we have to do up-downs for fumbles,” Ekanem said. “And I think the touchdown cancels those out.”
Centreville (2-0) returned all of its standouts from last year’s team, and the expectation was that those players would be the ones to take the team deeper into the postseason this year.
After a nervous first half in which Centreville couldn’t seem to shake out the early-morning cobwebs and led the Wolverines (1-1) just 14-10, the Wildcats scored the next 35 points of the game.
The Centreville defense held West Potomac standout running back Brandon Johnson, who rushed for 175 yards last week, to zero yards on 12 carries. The secondary also had three interceptions.
Following the game, Centreville Coach Chris Haddock starting rattling off the jersey numbers of players who turned in outstanding performances: 23, 22, 4, 5, 14. Then he paused.
“Those are our guys,” he said. “They should be the ones making big plays.”
Connor Coward (23) had a 61-yard touchdown run and a Centreville-record 99-yard interception return touchdown. Chase Walter (22) had a 12-yard touchdown catch. Quarterback Mitch Ferrick (14) threw for two touchdowns and Smith (5) rushed for 149 yards. Ekanem (4) had a 31-yard touchdown catch in addition to his fumble return score.
As for Ekanem’s heads up play canceling out any up-downs?
“Definitely not,” Haddock said, smiling. “A fumble is 10 up-downs. We will make that up on Monday.”
Quarterback Matthew Pisarcik led the way, completing 11 of 17 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns, despite being carted off the field at halftime with a knee injury. Wide receiver Quentin Basil was the main beneficiary, catching five passes for 107 yards and two scores. Running back Kendell Anderson added 132 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
T.C. Williams (1-1) fought back into the game behind a 12-yard touchdown run from Za’Quan Summers and a late touchdown pass to Landon Moss, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Bulldogs (2-0).