Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No. 17 Stone Bridge stays rock solid

By Jim Halley, USA TODAY

VIENNA, Va. — Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) quarterback Patrick Thompson looked unflappable, maybe even bored, as he dropped back to pass. Just one play earlier, after a low snap, he had been sacked for a 13-yard loss. Given plenty of time to throw, he checked everything but his watch before finding John Blandel for a 25-yard touchdown pass.
When you're winning games by an average of 42 points, as the Bulldogs, No. 17 in the USA TODAY Super 25 high school football rankings, have been, you don't get rattled easily.

Thompson completed 13 of 21 passes for 197 yards and touchdown passes to three receivers en route to a 35-0 defeat Friday of James Madison (Vienna). Stone Bridge softened up James Madison early with the running of Daniel Allen, who twisted his way to 171 yards on 25 carries, mostly up the middle. He also had an 11-yard TD reception. Michael Prince had three touchdowns, including runs of 9 and 95 yards and a 20-yard reception.

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As lopsided as the game was, it was the closest one Stone Bridge (8-0) has played since its opener, a 41-28 defeat of West Springfield (Springfield).

"We sputtered a bit offensively compared to what we've been doing," said Mickey Thompson, the Bulldogs' coach and father of Patrick. "But you have to give them credit. They've always been one of the better defensive teams that we've played."

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Stone Bridge runs so many different plays out of the Single Wing that eventually one of them catches a defender unawares. Late in the game, after the Bulldogs had stopped the War Hawks on downs at the Stone Bridge 5, the speedy Prince broke open a 95-yard run that took the air out of James Madison.

"We ran in a lot of packages this week," Prince said. "We have a lot of good receivers, so somebody is going to be open, even if I'm double-teamed."

"He's one of our fastest guys and that's why he's on the wing, so he can get on the weak side," coach Thompson said.

The Bulldogs finished 14-1 last season and won the state AAA title, but were not tested much until late in the season. Now that they're getting into the heart of their schedule, coach Thompson says he hopes the players realize it won't always be easy.

"Tonight, the guys had to play a whole game. In our district, the tough games have always been Madison, Langley (McLean) and Woodson (Fairfax). That's who we're playing now, so the games are much better and you can't expect to score on every other play."

USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc

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