By Joe Skinner
Ashburn (Nov. 22, 2014) – The Stone Bridge High School football team (10-2) put up all the points they needed in the first 24 minutes to dismiss visiting North Stafford High School, 44-29, in a VHSL 5A North region quarterfinal on Friday, Nov. 21 in Ashburn.
An early scare for the Bulldogs ensued as Stone Bridge fumbled the opening kickoff which North Stafford covered up.
However, the Bulldogs quickly recovered and got on the board first when junior quarterback Joe Thompson hit senior receiver Chance Frye with a 6-yard touchdown pass just seven minutes into the game. The Wolverines countered promptly, however, driving right down the field to tie it up, 8-8, at the end of the first frame.
“We couldn’t put them away because we had trouble stopping them and that’s the bottom line. We needed to play better defense,” Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson said.
Senior tight end Tanner Karafa ran for his first of two touchdown runs for the Bulldogs 57 seconds into the second quarter, then his second with 6:46 remaining in the first half.
The momentum completely shifted to the home team’s side following an interception by junior defensive back Matt Grillo and a 60-yard touchdown connection from Thompson and senior receiver Andrew Ciampini, giving the Bulldogs a comfy 30-15 lead going into the locker room.
“The big thing is that we got up early,” coach Thompson said. “We ran the ball to occupy the clock and keep [the Wolverines]offense of the field. We also took our shots when we got the chance and our kids did a good job of executing.”
A stagnant third quarter led to an exciting fourth which saw the Wolverines pull a little closer to the Bulldogs, but never close enough to make this one interesting. A 4-yard touchdown run by Stone Bridge senior fullback Collin Buckley and a matching 23-yard touchdown by North Stafford senior receiver Jalen Sarratt in the fourth quarter rose the score to 38-23. Yet, the Wolverines were stopped short on a promising drive by none other than Karafa who made a big interception late in the game.
“[Buckley] ran the ball fantastic, and Tanner played well running the ball so we had a good power game going,” coach Thompson said.
Three plays from scrimmage after the turnover by the Wolverines, Buckley lived up to his coach’s praise and broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run to find the end zone for the second time on the night.
On Friday, Nov. 28, No. 3 Stone Bridge will travel to Fredericksburg to take on No. 2 Massaponax High School in a VHSL 5A North region semifinal at 7 p.m.
“They are an option football team and are difficult to prepare for. We have a tall order in front of us, but this is what we do, and we will be ready and take our best shot,” coach Thompson said.
1Q 4:40 SB Joe Thompson to Chance Frye 6-yard TD pass (Karafa 2-pt good)
1Q 2:19 NS Malachi Harrison 16-yard TD run (Sarrat to Smith 2-pt good)
2Q 11:03 SB Tanner Karafa 3-yard TD run (Frye 2-pt good)
2Q 6:46 SB Tanner Karafa 5-yard TD run (2-pt failed)
2Q 4:05 SB Joe Thompson to Andrew Ciampini 60-yard TD pass (Buckley 2-pt good)
2Q 3:48 NS Naukym Morton 92-yard TD kickoff return (Bochonick PAT)
4Q 11:49 SB Collin Buckley 4-yard TD run (Thompson to Ciampini 2-pt good)
4Q 9:30 NS Jimmy Edwards to Jalen Sarratt TD pass (Sarratt to Harris 2-pt good)
4Q 6:25 SB Collin Buckley 50-yard TD run (2-pt failed)
4Q 5:21 NS Jalen Sarratt 20-yard TD run (PAT missed)
Joe Skinner is a sophomore at Freedom High School in South Riding and is currently a staff member for the Freedom Flyer. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.