With four-receiver spreads, pirouette handoffs and short jump-passes, Stone Bridge quarterback Terence Glenn is no stranger to elaborate play calls. But last night on a muddy field at home, the Bulldogs quarterback kept it simple.
A nondescript hand-off and two-yard plunge in overtime by tailback Shamar Knight-Justice provided the winning points as Stone Bridge edged Madison, 15-7, and gained sole possession of first place in the Virginia AAA Liberty District.
The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-0) moved closer to clinching their third consecutive district title, and first in Group AAA. The fifth-year varsity program from Ashburn in Loudoun County joined the Northern Region's Liberty District this year after previously playing in Group AA.
Madison (3-3, 2-1) failed on its overtime possession, which ended with consecutive incomplete passes into the end zone.
"Things were tough running our offense and running the ball all night," said Glenn, who rushed for 49 yards on 15 carries and passed for 69 yards. "Madison was stacking the box. But my line got the job done and [Knight-Justice] found a hole to get through."
The extra-point try following the touchdown was wide, but the Warhawks were called for roughing the kicker, though the infraction actually involved Stone Bridge holder Mike Barta, who was hurt on the play. Bulldogs Coach Mickey Thompson said the officials told him Barta could not return for the next play because of the injury, which meant Stone Bridge would have had to use a second-string holder. Thompson opted for a two-point try, which Glenn converted with a similar inside run.
"After that penalty brought us half the distance closer to the goal line [putting the ball one-and-a-half yards from the end zone], I begged the coaches to go for two," Glenn said. "And I wanted to carry the ball and make up for my turnover."
Glenn, scrambling to his left on a second-down play with 3 minutes 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter, fumbled the ball on a tackle by Taylor Callsen. Madison then gained seven yards on three carries and chose to go for it on fourth down. On that play, with 1:36 remaining, Warhawks quarterback Warren Anderson was stopped for no gain by a gang of tacklers, led by Andrew Holoman and Matt Irwin.
Thompson said a week of rain leading up to the game created conditions that would limit his play-calling choices. "Our double tight end set seemed to work best, especially in the end," he said. "We had seen the film on Madison and knew they would be the most physical team we would face in our district. This is such a big win."
The victory was Stone Bridge's second in a row in the district in poor conditions. Stone Bridge, whose only loss was to No. 12 Oakton, beat Langley last week in overtime in a driving rain.
Last night, it found itself trailing 7-0 after one play, when Aaron Lambert ran 80 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. The Bulldogs answered in the second quarter, marching 52 yards on five plays. The key play was a 32-yard run by Glenn, who finished the drive with a two-yard scoring run.
Glenn, suffering cramps, sat out parts of the third and fourth quarters and was replaced by Tony Mazur, who completed his only two attempts for 32 yards.