No more than five minutes had passed after South County’s 31-0 win over Madison in the opening round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 5 playoffs when a throng of mothers carrying boxes of donuts arrived onto the Lorton school’s field.
Junior linebacker Oren Burks, who helped power the Stallions to their third shutout of the season with two sacks, quickly grabbed a chocolate donut covered with green sprinkles (part of the Stallions’ color scheme). The mothers have been providing snacks for the players after games, and for the past eight weeks the pastries have tasted that much sweeter as the Stallions have reeled off an eight-game winning streak.
Friday night, the donuts in the boxes were matched by a big zero for the visitors on the scoreboard. And the Stallions’ defense enjoyed their just desserts.
“The parents have been great,” said senior defensive end Jeremy Haynes, who had two sacks. “They hook us up after every game, win or lose. We’ve just been on a streak recently, so I guess it’s just wishful thinking.”
The game featured one of the of the region’s hottest teams in South County against one of the region’s traditional playoff teams, Madison, making a reappearance in the playoffs after a 2-8 campaign last fall.
But the Stallions (8-3) held the Warhawks (7-4) to 50 total yards, forced two fumbles and nabbed four interceptions en route to the first home playoff win in the seven-year history of the school. Senior Ryan Taylor, who had an interception, also had a sack.
The defense, which has allowed more than 13 points in a game only once during the streak (Oct. 14 to Lee), has been such a strength of late that the Stallions attempted three onsides kicks on Friday figuring its defense would hold.
“We played a lot of sophomores and I think eight of us started last year as juniors so this year it kind of all came together,” Haynes said.
The Stallions jumped out a 21-0 halftime lead on the Warhawks. Senior quarterback Shane Foley threw three touchdown passes, two to senior receiver Michael Ferguson, who finished with 91 receiving yards. Ferguson also added a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter.
As he walked off the field, Burks chewed on his chcolate donut, much like his teammates. But when reporters asked to speak with him, he stored the treat inside his helmet until after we was done talking.
“We have a great coaching staff that gets us in the right place at the right time and that helps us make plays,” he said.