By Michael Pittinger
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Sterling (October 28,2016) – On a night when Potomac Falls High School honored their seniors the team from Stone Bridge High School looked to make a statement with two weeks left in the regular season. The Bulldogs did just that by rushing for a total of 383 yards to lead the way to a 35-23 victory on October 28 in Sterling.
“Winning is great but it’s not just about me,” junior fullback Bradley Block said. “It’s about everyone.”
The Panthers opened up the scoring with a 23-yard field goal by senior kicker Alex Nemer. The field goal was set up by the Potomac Falls defense making a big stop on 4th-and-short in Stone Bridge territory early in the first quarter.
“We had some mistakes in special teams and handling the ball,” Block said. “That’s what really hurt us in the first half.”
Later in the first quarter,the Panthers special teams Blocked a punt attempt by the Bulldogs special teams. Potomac Falls Junior Grant Misch recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown with under 30 seconds to play in the first quarter, giving Potomac Falls a 17-7 lead after the first quarter.
“We had a slow start on offense,” Block said. “Our defense was playing really good from the start.”
After the first quarter, Stone Bridge tightened up on defense only allowing six points over the next three quarters;the offense got going by scoring 28 points.
The Bulldogs cut into the Panthers lead midway through the second quarter, when Block scored a 1-yard touchdown – his second of three touchdowns – to make it a four-point game.
Block’s score would be the last one in the first half as both teams stepped it up on the defensive side of the ball, forcing multiple punts and making key stops in critical moments to keep the score at 17-13 in favor of Potomac Falls.
The Panthers started the second half with the ball but ended up punting the ball after running only a few plays early in the third quarter.
“In the second half we really stepped it up on offense,” Block said.
The Bulldogs started to really run the ball up the middle of the ensuing drive that lasted about six minutes. This eventually allowed them to get to the outside and break off some bigger runs on the drive.
Stone Bridge scored an 11-yard touchdown thanks to the speed of senior running back Joshua Breece – who ran for 192 yards and 2 scores on 25 carries. The Bulldogs would then make a two-point conversion to put them up by 4 midway through the third quarter.
“I’m really proud of our offensive line,” Block said. “They played wonderful tonight.”
Potomac Falls would regain the lead on their next drive when junior quarterback Hunter Lawall scored on a 2-yard QB sneak to go up by 2 points with just over two minutes to play in the third quarter.
Stone Bridge would respond with two seconds left in the third quarter with Block’s third rushing touchdown of the game from four yards out. The Bulldogs went for two and converted to put them up by six going into the final quarter of play.
“My three touchdowns, they were nice,” Block said. “But it was a team effort tonight.”
The fourth quarter was a battle for both teams: the hits seemed harder than any other quarter of the game since it was a one-score game. The Panthers and Bulldogs both realized who ever scored next would probably win this football game.
Stone Bridge drove down the field midway way through the fourth quarter and capped the drive off with a 20-yard touchdown run by Breece,however, the two-point conversion attempt was no good. The score with just over 6 minutes was 35-23 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Panthers offense was driving down the field on the following drive. Lawall was throwing the ball and connecting on some big plays with senior wide receiver Kaevon Chase and junior running back Jad Raqi.
Stone Bridge’s defense looked to be faltering under the pressure of holding on to the lead before Potomac Falls made it inside the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line.
The Panthers’ Lawall threw a pass to the end zone for his receiver Chase. Chase appeared to catch the ball while he was in the air, but the defensive backs of Stone Bridge knocked the ball out of his hands before he finished the process of completing the catch.
The Bulldogs defense then appeared to stop the Panthers on 4th-and-5 when Lawall threw an incomplete pass, but there was a flag on the play for defensive holding which extended the Potomac Falls drive by giving them a fresh set of downs.
The Bulldogs defense, however, redeemed themselves when they sacked Lawall to seal the victory for Stone Bridge.
The Panthers travel to Alexandria to face the Eagles of Thomas A. Edison High School on November 4, while the Bulldogs host the Falcons of Briar Woods High School in Ashburn.
1Q 8:47 PF Alex Nemer 24-yard FG
1Q 4:12 SB Bradley Block 1-yard TD run (Block PAT)
1Q 1:47 PF Kash Jackson 22-yard TD run (Nemer PAT)
1Q 0:18 PF Grant Misch block punt recovery TD (Nemer PAT)
2Q 7:43 SB Bradley Block 1-yard TD run (2pt failed)
3Q 5:40 SB Josh Breece 10-yard TD run (2pt good)
3Q 2:03 PF Hunter Lawall 2-yard TD run (PAT failed)
3Q 0:02 SB Bradley Block 4-yard TD run (2pt good)
4Q 6:14 SB Josh Breece 20-yard TD run (2pt failed)
Easton Turner 1-for-5, 4 yards
Hunter Lawall 11-for-17, 152 yards
Joshua Breece 26 attempts, 208 yards, 2 TD
Bradley Brock 14 attempts, 97 yards, 3 TD
Leland Girdy 11 attempts, 59 yards
Easton Turner 4 attempts, 9 yards
Josh Lawyer 3 attempts, 10 yards
Kashmier Jackson 14 attempts, 48 yards, 1 TD
Hunter Lawall 12 attempts, 1 yard, 1 TD
Jad Raqi 5 attempts, 5 yards
Clemont Mpanya 4 attempts, 18 yards
Grant Misch 3 attempts, 5 yards
Daniel Thompson 1 catch, 4 yards
Kaevon Chase 6 catches, 95 yards
Jad Raqi 3 catches, 46 yards
Clemont Mpanya 2 catches, 11 yards