Leesburg, Va. – Coming into Week 9 allowing just one touchdown or less in three of their first seven games – and after averaging 45 points on offense over those first seven games – the Stone Bridge High School football team had their hands full with the reemerging Tuscarora High School Huskies in a Potomac District dogfight on October 20 in Leesburg.
After scoring on their opening possession, the Huskies offense continued to chew up clock throughout the game, but couldn’t convert on enough of their scoring chances, falling to the Bulldogs, 14-13.
“We got some stops on defense in the second half,” Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson said. “That gave us the opportunity to have the football a few more times.”
Tuscarora junior quarterback Justin Allen gave his team the early lead when he broke free on the outside, cruising into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown run, after chewing up nine minutes of clock to open the first quarter.
“Stone Bridge is a team that doesn’t give up a lot of points and is used to putting up 40 to 50 points,” Tuscarora head coach Michael Burnett said. “To be able to get that type of offensive yardage and time of possession and to be able to hold them to 13 points, that’s the recipe.”
It didn’t take Stone Bridge long to respond as junior quarterback Mason Tatum connected with junior running back Nick Mell on a 67-yard touchdown pass just two minutes later. With the two-point conversion, the Bulldogs took an 8-7 lead.
“It’s been so easy, and we’ve been scoring so many points,” Thompson said. “Our playmakers now know it isn’t so easy.”
Headed into the half with the same lead, the Bulldogs weren’t clicking on offense and caught a few lucky breaks defensively that kept them in the game.
“We came out knowing every play mattered late,” Mell said. “We knew we had to stop them at the line of scrimmage.”
But the Huskies had different plans as Allen gave his team the lead four minutes into the third quarter on a 1-yard quarterback keeper.
“All in all, I don’t know that there was a difference; I certainly don’t think they outplayed us,” Burnett said. “I feel like it was an even game that came down to a play here and a play there.”
The play that ultimately gave Stone Bridge the points they needed to hold off the Huskies came late in the third quarter when Mell received a shuffle pass from Tatum before finding the endzone eight yards later.
“I’m proud of them at the end for hanging together,” Thompson said. “You have to give credit to our opponent, but we made a lot of mental mistakes.”
The loss drops Tuscarora to 6-2 ahead of their matchup with John Champe High School (6-2) on October 27 in Aldie.
With the win, Stone Bridge improves to 8-0 and will maintain a top-2 standing in the much feared VHSL Region 5C. After a match up with Freedom High School on October 27, the Bulldogs will host Broad Run High School (8-0) on November 3 in what is setting up to be the game of the year in Loudoun.
“We have to continue working harder than everybody else,” Mell said. “We want to prove to everyone in the county that we are the best team here.”
1Q 3:18 T Justin Allen 5-yard TD run (Pauly PAT)
1Q 1:11 SB Mason Tatum to Nick Mell 67-yard TD pass (2pt good)
3Q 7:38 T Justin Allen 1-yard TD run (2pt failed)
3Q 1:43 SB Nick Mell 8-yard TD run (2pt failed)