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Jul
27

Back In The Fall Of 2011, I Just Had A Feeling About These 2

We all, as sports fans, do it.

We watch our favorite high school and college teams and think to ourselves “that guy is going to play in the pros one day,” as if somewhere inside us is some hidden NFL GM gene that just hasn’t been given the chance to see the light of day.

Most of the time, to be honest, we’re wrong.

But I seem to recall one weekend in September of 2011, where, as my Dad would say, “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.” 

It started on a warm Friday night here in Ashburn. The two local high school football powers – Stone Bridge and Broad Run – were finally playing each other for the first time. As I live one mile from Broad Run and a mile and a half from Stone Bridge, I can tell you it was an electric evening on September 23, 2011. The game was at Stone Bridge, and it’s the most packed that field has even been or ever will be.

Walls of people were on both sides of the field, people were ringed around the fence, and local media, former players, and just about anyone who was anyone in Ashburn were standing on the sidelines. So were a number of players from what was then called the Washington Redskins, including Santana Moss.

Despite the huge buildup for the game, it started off looking like a dud. Broad Run sprinted to a 24-0 lead at halftime, and it looked like the huge gathering was going to see a rout by the upstart Spartans when Broad Run took the second-half kickoff and drove down to the Stone Bridge 1, facing a third and goal.

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Sep
24

Now THAT Is How A HS Football Game Should Be Played...

The Broad Run crowd was loud and proud in the first half...
(Photos Courtesy Of Marianne Thiede)
...but Stone Bridge's crowd went home happy after 31-30 win

It’s after 2 a.m., I should be in bed, and yet I can’t stop thinking about tonight’s Broad Run-Stone Bridge game.

It’s not because of who won – I live a mile from each and think the world of both coaches. But I’m smiling because the area finally got to see what really good high school football is all about.

Andy Hayes over at GameDay and I once had a conversation about the “good old days” when we grew up and a good high school game was packed with people in every seat and lined up around the fence three deep. It was a game where both sides shouted their lungs out, all fans were in a perpetual state of nervousness, and when the final gun sounded, one team celebrated. The other side was on the edge of tears.

This area hasn’t really seen that. Yeah, there have been state championships, and there have been a few games where the crowds have been intense – Phoebus-Stone Bridge in 2007 and the last three Broad Run-Briar Woods games come to mind – but they didn’t quite pack the energy seen tonight.

The best high school game I ever saw was in 1980, when Giles County beat Park View 33-32 for the state title. Two hours before the game, the parking lots were packed. It was bitter cold, but nobody kept their hands in their pocket. Park View had a great player in Allen Pinkett, who scored all 32 of Park View’s points, but it wasn’t individual performance that made it a great game. It was the atmosphere, the tension in the air, the realization that just about every other play was crucial to winning.

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Sep
23

This One Lived Up To The Hype: SB Beats Broad Run In OT

Dorian Jenkins makes catch that put Spartans ahead in OT...
...but Stephen Trivieri answered with tying TD run...
(Photos Courtesy Of Marianne Thiede)
...and Ben Lambourne kicked winning XP for the deciding margin

The first half of what was billed as “The Battle Of The ‘Burn” between Stone Bridge and Broad Run Friday night had little sizzle, and certainly did not live up to its billing as the visiting Spartans rolled to a 24-0 lead.

But the second half made up for any first-half shortcomings, featuring an incredible Stone Bridge comeback, bone-crushing hits, big offensive plays all around, and a miraculous 31-30 Bulldog win in overtime.

In an electric atmosphere boasting the biggest crowd to ever see a football game in Ashburn, Broad Run came out firing while Stone Bridge made mistakes most teams make in their first-week scrimmages.

Stone Bridge fumbled on its first offensive play, leading to a Broad Run field goal. Then the Spartans added two touchdown runs of 7 and 43 yards by Derrill Thomas, plus a 54-yard pass from Connor Jessop to Dorian Jenkins to make it 24-0 as Broad Run fans chanted “over-rated” at the Stone Bridge stands.

If that first half stung them, the Bulldogs did not come out of the locker room to start the second half looking like a rejuvenated team hell-bent on a comeback. Instead, it appeared as if the beating would continue in the second half, as Broad Run drove the ball down to the Stone Bridge 1 with five minutes left in the third quarter.

But facing third and goal, the Bulldogs’ Jonathan Allen stuffed the Spartan run to leave Broad Run with a decision: kick a field goal and go up by four scores, or go for it and turn the game into a rout.

Broad Run decided to gamble, but instead of driving the heel of their cleat through Stone Bridge’s heart, they instead got the toe of a Bulldog hobnail boot in their teeth. Allen stuffed the fourth down run, and the Stone Bridge attack finally showed some life.

Bulldog quarterback Ryan Burns - who got a lot of preseason publicity for the interest he’s received from major colleges - did not display any of that potential in the first half. Stone Bridge Coach Mickey Thompson seemed more intent on using him as a runner than a passer, and of the few passes he threw, all were short throws, with most having a recurring theme of bouncing in the mud a foot in front of his receiver.

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