Ashburn, Va. — On a beautiful evening under the Friday Night Lights, the Stone Bridge High School football team prepared for a clash with rival Briar Woods High School in a game with potential playoff-seeding implications. In a highly anticipated VHSL Region 5D showdown, Stone Bridge senior athlete Myles Turpin rose to the occasion, leading the No. 2 Bulldogs (4-0, 4-4) past the No. 1 Falcons (3-1, 8-1), 29-12, on October 27 in Ashburn.
“We are playing better every week and that’s the goal,” Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson said. “You want to play well at the end.”
The battle between the top two teams in the VHSL Region 5D did not disappoint. In a night that began with Stone Bridge’s senior night festivities, the Bulldogs did not waste any time to find the endzone. On their very first possession, Stone Bridge marched down the field led by their dominant run game, before Turpin—a Wake Forest-commit—found the endzone on a 3-yard rush to cap off a statement drive for the Bulldogs.
“We have to make sure Myles stays healthy,” Thompson said. “He’s taken some big hits, and he’s what makes us go.”
The following drive for Briar Woods seemed promising, taking the ball all the way down to the Stone Bridge 21-yard line. However, after a failed 4th-and-2, the Falcons didn’t come away with any points from the drive.
With the ball back and momentum on their side, the Bulldogs continued to extend their lead, needing only four plays to go 79 yards and score another touchdown. This time it was senior running back Troy Marquez’s turn to find the endzone. Turpin converted the ensuing two-point conversion to put the Bulldogs up 15-0 midway through the second quarter.
“We needed to get some momentum going after playing that early schedule,” Thompson said. “Doubts start creeping in your head so you have to get that roll going and start playing well.”
It was as good of a start as Thompson could have asked for against a good region foe, however, the Falcons’ weren’t going down without a fight.
After a three-and-out, Briar Woods junior cornerback Anthony Joyce recovered a muffed punt, which shifted the momentum towards the side of the navy and orange.
Briar Woods junior quarterback Brady Carmical then led his offense down the field and converted a clutch 3rd-and-8 on a 16-yard pass to junior wide receiver Colin Capistrant and a 4th-and-7 on a 9-yard pass to junior running back Trey Dudley, before carrying in a 13-yard touchdown himself to cut the Stone Bridge lead to 15-6.
Both sides picked up key defensive stops coming out of halftime, but the momentum shifted again when Turpin intercepted Carmical’s pass and returned the ball deep into Falcons’ territory.
“Our expectation for him is he plays well every week,” Thompson said. “He’s going to make the picks that need to be made. He’s a great player.”
The Bulldogs quickly converted the turnover into points when junior quarterback Brandon Pena found senior wide receiver Na’eem Abdul-Rahim Gladding for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Briar Woods failed to get their pass game going beyond Capistrant in the second half. A quick 6-play drive gave the ball back to the Bulldogs, who, with the momentum, scored their second touchdown in as many drives. This gave the Bulldogs a 29-6 lead and put away the game in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons were able to score one more time before the game came to a close with Capistrant catching a screen pass from Carmical and taking it 64 yards to the house. This cut the lead to 17, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Briar Woods will look to bounce back when they host Independence in a crucial Week 11 game on November 3 in Ashburn. Stone Bridge will look to stay on a roll as they travel to Riverside on the same night.
“We want to win the district,” Thompson said. “We don’t care about records, we just want to win championships.”
|1Q||6:19||Stone Bridge||Myles Turpin 3-yard TD run (Connor McLaughlin PAT)||7-0|
|2Q||11:14||Stone Bridge||Troy Marquez 11-yard TD run (Myles Turpin 2-pt run)||15-0|
|2Q||2:59||Briar Woods||Brady Carmical 13-yard TD run (2pt failed)||15-6|
|3Q||0:18||Stone Bridge||Brandon Pena to Na’eem Abdul-Rahim Gladding 18-yard TD pass (Connor McLaughlin PAT)||22-6|
|4Q||4:45||Stone Bridge||Jordan Kaiser 2-yard TD run (Connor McLaughlin PAT)||29-6|
|4Q||2:12||Briar Woods||Brady Carmical to Colin Capistrant 64-yard TD pass (2pt failed)||29-12|