By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 12, 2010; 12:07 AM
CHARLOTTESVILLE - For a moment on Saturday afternoon, it appeared as though top-ranked Stone Bridge had taken control of a game that seemed to be slipping away just minutes before.
Two touchdowns in a five-second span and a 21-yard field goal had flipped a 13-point deficit into a four-point advantage in the second quarter of the Virginia AAA Division 5 championship at Scott Stadium. The Bulldogs were less than a minute away from going into halftime against Phoebus with both the lead and momentum.
They would have neither at the break.
The Phantoms answered on their next offensive play - a 66-yard touchdown pass to Romon Deloatch - and carried that energy into the second half, downing Stone Bridge, 36-17, to capture a third consecutive state championship.
It was the third straight year the Phantoms ended Stone Bridge's season and the second straight in the state final. Phoebus is 71-2 with four state titles over the past five seasons, and has won a state-record 45 consecutive games.
"It's a little frustrating," said Stone Bridge running back Marcus Harris, who rushed for 119 yards on 30 carries. "We had a great season starting off, coming into this game 14-0. It's just frustrating three years in a row losing to the same team. But also it's a great team we faced and we know they're tough to be beaten."
Trailing 13-0 in the second quarter, Stone Bridge (14-1) got back into the game after a touchdown pass to Dan Chrost and two pooched kickoffs that the Bulldogs recovered. The first led to a touchdown catch by Spenser Rositano, the second to a 21-yard field goal.
But the game turned for good on just a few plays, each a costly mistake by Stone Bridge.
Giving up the long strike to Deloatch before the half was the first. "That touchdown definitely sucked some momentum out of us," senior quarterback Brian Rody said.
But critical errors in the third quarter put Phoebus (15-0) firmly in control.
After forcing a punt early in the third, a holding penalty made Stone Bridge's task of getting back in the game even more difficult. On second and 20 from their own nine-yard line, the Bulldogs called a quick pass. Phoebus had it covered and sacked Rody in the end zone for a safety to make it 22-17.
Five plays later, Phantoms running back Tyree Lee (189 yards on 28 carries) broke free on the right side for a 43-yard touchdown run to make it 29-17.
"They just took the game away from us," Bulldogs Coach Mickey Thompson said.
Stone Bridge started to drive in the fourth quarter, but on first and 10 from the Phoebus 30-yard line, Phantoms cornerback Breon Key picked off a pass and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown to seal the outcome.
"Nobody else has to play Phoebus every year, we do," said Thompson, whose team has only four losses - three of which came against the Phantoms - over the past three seasons. "Some other people win titles on different levels or whatever, but nobody has to play Phoebus. . . . We got beat today; we got beat by a better team. But these [Stone Bridge] guys, to get here every single year and come back every single year and win every game you're supposed to win, year-in and year-out, it's a phenomenal group of players."