When the No. 4 Bruins host the No. 18 Stallions on Friday in Burke, something’s got to give.
In preparing for the much-anticipated clash, both teams have had to throw a few kinks in their practice routine. All week long, South County’s David Symmes has played the role of Lake Braddock quarterback Caleb Henderson, simulating the Bruins’ passing game with deviated snap counts and quick throws to prepare the Stallions’ defense.
“They play a different style and pace, and it’s hard to completely mimic a quarterback like Caleb who is going to UNC, but I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job for our defense,” Symmes said.
While Henderson is a rare breed of a quarterback, South County’s triple-option offense is one that the Bruins haven’t seen this season. And with Edward Kargbo and fullback Robert Avery both back from injuries to team with 1,000-yard rusher LeVaughn Davis, slowing down a Stallions’ attack that has churned out 2,803 yards on the ground will be a tall order.
“That’s changed our preparation a little bit, because they’re not a team that’s going to pass 50 times a game,” Bruins Coach Jim Poythress said. “Our defense has continued to get better each week, but no one is focused on the shutouts. It’s a cool thing to have going on, I guess, but that’s not our emphasis.”
Critical to Lake Braddock’s success against the option will be the continued strong play of linemen Lance Hammond and Reece Burnett. The physically strong duo has held down the trenches for the Bruins, which allows linebackers like Kevin Hankton and Dwight Lomax to chase down opponents along the edges.
“This is a huge statement game for our season,” Symmes said. “From an offensive standpoint, we feel like we can score on anyone. It’s just a matter of executing and playing strong on both sides of the ball against a good Lake Braddock team.”
Stewart still banged up
Yorktown running back M.J. Stewart practiced Wednesday without any contact, and Patriots Coach Bruce Hanson said the 2012 All-Metwas about 80 percent entering Friday’s matchup at Mount Vernon.
“He’s a lot better than he was last week at this time,” Hanson said in a Thursday phone interview. “There’s a pretty good chance he could play.”
The Yorktown rushing attack gained 217 yards in a home win over Chantilly last week without Stewart. Senior running back Da’Jhuan Short did the bulk of the work, gaining 90 yards on 19 carries.
Hanson attributed the strong running game to the fact that Chantilly hadn’t seen Short on film the previous two weeks.
Mount Vernon has the advantage of seeing Yorktown’s offensive game plan without Stewart, but the Majors have allowed 35 points per game during their three-game losing streak.
Stewart practiced Thursday and is a game-time decision for the 7 p.m. contest at Mount Vernon.