No. 13 Stone Bridge (7-0, 4-0) at Loudoun Valley (5-2, 3-1)
When: Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
Loudoun Valley's defensive front, led by senior Ben Myers, against Stone Bridge senior quarterback Sean Ryan.
Ryan, who is completing an area-best 63 percent of his passes, has proven time and again that if a defense fails to put pressure on him, he has the ability to capitalize. Against Potomac Falls last week, Ryan went virtually untouched and in turn connected on 14 of 18 attempts in the first half for 179 yards, two touchdowns and a 21-point lead.
"There's no question we have to find a way to make them speed up their passing game," Loudoun Valley Coach Bruce Sheppard said. "He's as good of a quarterback as we're going to see this season and has a great ability to hurt you with his arm and his feet. We can't just let him sit back there and have his pick."
Outlook: Stone Bridge is three wins from securing its second consecutive undefeated regular season, and a win over Loudoun Valley would all but wrap up the Bulldogs' second straight AA Dulles District title. That's because Stone Bridge, which has Dominion and Broad Run remaining, has beaten Park View (6-1, 3-1), and a victory over Loudoun Valley would leave every other Dulles team with at least two district losses.
The Bulldogs' task won't be easy. Loudoun Valley was the only team, aside from eventual Virginia AA Division 4 champion Powhatan, to lead Stone Bridge after three quarters last season. The Vikings held a 13-7 advantage in last season's Region II semifinal before Stone Bridge rallied with 14 unanswered points.
"You look at this game, and basically it's for the district championship," said Bulldogs Coach Mickey Thompson. "So we don't expect it to be easy."
Thompson said his biggest concern is the Vikings' offense, which has continued to improve this season under the direction of first-year starting quarterback Stephen Sheehan. A senior who started at wide receiver last season, Sheehan leads Loudoun Valley with 606 yards rushing, 443 yards passing and 10 touchdowns combined.
"It seems to me he's gotten better and better each game, and so has their team," Thompson said. "He's throwing the ball much better, and he's effective running the option on the corner. We have to play well and contain him on the option but still not give up a big play in the air. To do that, our secondary has got to play better than it has."
Stone Bridge's defense, whose 95 points allowed ranks second behind Loudoun Valley's 91, is yielding 2.6 yards per carry but 12.6 yards per reception.
The Vikings' defense has an even stiffer task of slowing a Bulldogs offense that has racked up 1,347 yards rushing and 1,245 passing.
"The thing with Stone Bridge this season is that they'll spread you out with five wide receivers and then come right back to the single wing, and I think they might actually even be moving the ball more efficiently that way," Sheppard said.
"We've got to be able to control the football," he added. "We've scored a lot on big plays, but we have to be able to maintain possession and keep their offense off the field."