While the rest of the Stone Bridge basketball team was in an early Saturday practice on Nov. 30, seniors Nick Welti and Sean Williams were preparing to play football against Fauquier in the Virginia AA Division 4 Region II final.

The football team won, 40-21, and advanced to the state semifinals, so Welti and Williams, along with as many as 12 other football players who may try out for the basketball team, have missed all preseason practices. Coach Mark Alexander (third season, 6-36) had to reschedule the team's first two games.

After winning three games in each of the past two years, the Bulldogs need every player possible. Senior guard Eric Pearson averaged 15.3 points per game last season to lead the Bulldogs and has added muscle to his 6-foot-2 frame to better withstand the pounding this season.

"He worked to add more bulk because he physically wore down over the season," Alexander said. "We're hoping that he can be more of a physical presence than he was in the past."

Seniors Derrick Navas, forward, and point guard J.D. Smith help to make up Stone Bridge's most experienced team in its three-year history, but everyone was itching for action.

"We've got 30 kids who are ready to go," Alexander said. "But the football team is having a great season, so we'll just wait on them."

-- Colin Fitzgibbons