AAA Northern Region Division 5 final
Bulldogs manage to pull off another title
Saturday, November 28, 2009
There were a lot of reasons for this not to be another Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 5 championship year for No. 10 Stone Bridge. The program lost 20 starters from a year ago, absorbed its first Liberty District loss since joining the league and for the first time in a while had a scent of vulnerability about it.
Yet there the Bulldogs were again Friday afternoon after a 21-10 home win over Lee, collecting a third consecutive region banner and sixth in eight years.
"Our senior group has been through a lot, a lot of guys saying this senior class couldn't lead us to a championship," Stone Bridge Coach Mickey Thompson said. "They've taken a little heat for that, and they rise above that."
Junior Marcus Harris carried 33 times for 118 yards and scored three touchdowns -- one on a fingertip catch of a fourth-and-11 throw in the second quarter -- and Stone Bridge owned the clock, hogging the ball for about 30 of 48 minutes. That included possessions of 9 minutes 56 seconds and 5:21 after halftime, when the Bulldogs (12-1) converted on fourth downs five times in six tries.
Lee senior running back Idreis Augustus did not get his first carry of the second half until seven minutes remained in the game; he had 24- and 25-yard runs in the first half.
"That's our whole game plan," said Bulldogs junior Kyle Gouveia, who does a little bit of everything on offense and also plays defensive back. "Time of possession, keep the ball rolling, stay with that single wing and just keep going."
Lee (9-4), vying for the first region football title in school history and appearing in the championship for the first time since 1974, fumbled six times, losing one, and had two over-the-head snaps Augustus had to chase down for large losses.
The first gaffe, on the Lancers' first possession, helped set up Stone Bridge's first touchdown.
"I knew we had to limit our mistakes," Augustus said. "And the more mistakes that we made, that they weren't going to let us come back in the game."
"That was the one saving grace," Thompson said. "They're just not real smooth handling the option. You knew they were going to put the ball on the ground five, six, seven, eight times, and you just hoped you could get a couple of them."
With Lee's ballhandling problems and Stone Bridge playing keepaway, that was more than enough to allow the Bulldogs to advance in the postseason, just like so many of their predecessors at the Ashburn school had done.
"We know we're not the best of the Stone Bridge teams," Gouveia said. "But we know we're good enough to make it."