Stone Bridge 28,
Park View 21
The emotion was overflowing last night at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn for the 16th-ranked Bulldogs' first-ever home game against rival -- and unbeaten -- Park View. The Bulldogs stood caged behind a pseudo-garage door that leads from their field house to the stadium and screamed as they pounded on the door more than six minutes before kickoff waiting to be unleashed.
They brought that same emotion to the field and, by game's end, nearly every player wearing the home dark blue jersey had collapsed to the field from both exhaustion and in exhilaration of a dramatic, come-from-behind 28-21 victory played in front of about 4,000 fans.
"I have to tell you this is one of the most special wins I've ever been a part of," Stone Bridge Coach Mickey Thompson told his players. "You should be very proud of what you did. But you have also got to understand that you could be on the other side of this. That right there is a great football team."
Park View led by nine points late in the third quarter, but Stone Bridge rallied, getting the winning points on tight end Brian Calloway's touchdown catch with 20 seconds left.
Park View had extended a lead it held most of the game to 21-12 with 2 minutes 26 seconds left in the third quarter on a five-yard run by sophomore speedster Deric Dudinski. The play capped a 70-yard drive that was halted midway by a neck injury to junior tight end Joey Stefanacci, who, after the injury, had his helmet cut off on the field and was transported to Reston Hospital at his parents' request.
Stone Bridge trainer Jenn White described Stefanacci's movement on the field as "minimal," but his father, Ron Stefanacci, later said that his son was not seriously injured.
"Neck injuries, they're just overly cautious and you can't blame them," Ron Stefanacci said. "He's going to be fine."
Stefanacci was released from the hospital late last night, his father said.
After the injury, the Patriots went right back to work and Dudinski's touchdown run seemed a perfect tribute. So, too, did senior tackle Eric Stanley's tackle of Stone Bridge senior quarterback Sean Ryan for a seven-yard loss on fourth and inches of the Bulldogs' ensuing possession.
But as time began to wind down in the fourth quarter of what proved to be a nearly three-hour affair, Stone Bridge re-ignited itself -- and got back into the game -- on a bizarre play. Facing first and goal at the 10-yard line, the ball was snapped well over the head of Ryan. He raced back to near the 35-yard line before scooping up the loose ball, and then scrambled and heaved a pass to senior James Timbers. Dudinski tipped the ball, but Timbers got his hands on it and, after bobbling it once, secured it as he stepped over the goal line.
A two-point conversion made it 21-20, and a blocked punt with just 35 seconds remaining put the Bulldogs in position to complete the comeback. Four plays later Ryan found Calloway in the back corner of the end zone to seal the win.
Staff writer Josh Barr contributed to this report.