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December 8, 2012
Lake Taylor Wins 20-14
3:55 PM: Well, we are done with today's VHSL Group AAA Division 5 State Championship Blog as the Lake Taylor Titans have defeated the Stone Bridge Bulldogs 20-14 in an exciting battle that had people breathless until the final minute when the Titans recovered a fumble deep inside their own territory to pull out the victory.
There will be plenty more reaction to come from those games, including Recaps by Rod Johnson and Tom Garrett as well as Photos, Postgame Video and much, much more!
Want Updates from the Division 6 State Championship between the L.C. Bird Skyhawks and Ocean Lakes Dolphins? There's no need to fear, the link below is your place to go.
3:40 PM: We're just a little less than a half hour away from kick-off in the VHSL Group AAA Division 6 State Championship between the Ocean Lakes Dolphins (14-0) from the Eastern Region and the Central Region's L.C. Bird Skyhawks (13-0). Before we get to that, let me note that the Live Blog for that game will be in a second link which we'll have up in a bit.
Here are the Postgame Press Conference links from Lake Taylor's 20-14 win over Stone in the Division 5 State Championship as the Titans claimed their first state title in school history.
2:25 PM: Some Final Stats from this entertaining VHSL Group AAA Division 5 State Championship bought between the Lake Taylor Titans and Stone Bridge Bulldogs, where both teams left everything on the field and put it all on the line for 48 minutes in a great matchup of powerhouses.
Final Stats: *** Courtesy of STATVA (www.statva.com) ***
Taylor Titans 20: 15-0 Overall
Bridge Bulldogs 14: 14-1 Overall
Lake Taylor finishes its season with a perfect record of 15-0 overall. This marked the Titans' third win by six points or less on the campaign. Stone Bridge closes out the year at 14-1 overall, falling the Eastern Region in the AAA title game for the fourth time since 2005.
*** DON'T FORGET - - kick-off set for 4:07 PM in the VHSL Group AAA Division 6 State Championship between the Ocean Lakes Dolphins (14-0) and L.C. Bird Skyhawks (13-0), so keep checking back today for updates and full coverage!
2:14 PM: It is now over in the VHSL Group AAA Division 5 State Championship. The Lake Taylor Titans hang their hat on that great defense of theirs and it was the defense that saved the day in the end with senior captain Jamel Spellman, the co-Eastern District Defensive Player of the Year, recovering a fumble at the end for a Titans win.
FINAL SCORE: LAKE TAYLOR 20, STONE BRIDGE 14
Coach Hank Sawyer now has won his first State Championship, also the first for Lake Taylor in football and the first for a Norfolk school since Granby's title in 1966. Hank also joins his wife, Girls Basketball Coach Saundra Sawyer, with a ring. Her basketball team won the title 2010 when they beat Princess Anne.
Stick around for some Final Stats, more from this excellent battle and we've got kick-off from the Division 6 title game between L.C. Bird (13-0) and Ocean Lakes (14-0) a little bit after 4 o'clock. Stay tuned!
2:07 PM: Stone Bridge continues with its power running game behind their large offensive line and QB Ryan Burns as well as tailback Sterling Dailey. The move the chains and then go to the air, where a pass is incomplete, but a pass interference gives them 15 more yards to the 41-yard line with 2:34 left.
D'Ante Yarborough rips off a 19-yard run down to the Lake Taylor 40-yard line, getting outside in a hurry. Great run by Yarborough as the Bulldogs are playing with terrific energy late in this one, and a missed extra point may come back to bite Lake Taylor. We're nearing the 2 minuet mark and the Bulldogs continue to run the ball on Lake Taylor, getting inside the 35-yard line.
On third-and-4 from the 34-yard line of Lake Taylor, Dailey gets the ball, reads his block and pushes forward for another first down. Coach Hank Sawyer of Lake Taylor has won oh so many games over the years with his defense and he needs a time-out with 1:15 remaining to re-group and re-focus his guys, maybe even let them catch their breath. The Bulldogs have it at the 28-yard line.
On third-and-2 from the 20-yard line of Lake Taylor with 24 seconds left, Stone Bridge snaps the ball, they run it and fumble, recovered by the Titans, believe it was Jamel Spellman on the recovery. Lake Taylor will win its first state title!
2:02 PM: If Lake Taylor somehow loss this game after building a 20-0 third quarter lead, it will be absolute heartbreak hotel, even more than their hard to swallow region playoff losses to Phoebus in previous years. The Titans begin at their own 35-yard line with 6:20 to play after a Stone Bridge kickoff goes out of bounds. Stone Bridge has responded with 14 unanswered points, can the Titans answer and shut the door to win their first ever state title?
Lake Taylor begins with QB Delmon Williams completing an 11-yard pass to junior tight end Jalyn Holmes, showing off the great hands on the catch down the right sideline. On the next play, Williams somehow, some way slips away from a defender, including Alabama commit Jonathan Allen of Stone Bridge and pitches it to Brandon 'Pork Chop' Moore for a gain of 11 yards down to the 43-yard line. Play of the Game thus far!!!
However, Stone Bridge gets the stop they needed with Cameron Reynolds wrestling down Williams on third down, forcing Lake Taylor punt it away with 2:15 to play. The Bulldogs will take over at their 16-yard line after a 30 yard punt.
Can Stone Bridge complete the comeback?
1:57 PM: On first down at the Lake Taylor 31-yard line, Stone Bridge tries to go to a trick play of their own and can't quite convert. Shiheem Johnson then stops Sterling Dailey on a run play that gains nothing. Ryan Burns on third down picks up only a yard. That now sets the stage for fourth-and-9 from the 30-yard line as we tick under seven minutes to play.
Stone Bridge will go to the air and Burns finds his receiver down the middle to the 1-yard line of the Titans. It was Rassaun Goldring, the senior, on the reception for 29 yards. On the very next play, Burns spins off a defender and punches it in for a touchdown. This one now looks to be going down to the wire. Extra point is up and through.
6:20 to play - - Lake Taylor 20, Stone Bridge 14
All the momentum on the side of Stone Bridge right now . . . the Titans do no want to give the ball back and give the Bulldogs a chance to win.
1:51 PM: Quite possibly the biggest play of the game defensively for Lake Taylor, at least on that will thwart momentum for now for Stone Bridge, comes on third-and-5 with the Bulldogs at their own 30-yard line. Junior defensive end Jalyn Holmes totally stuffed the Stone Bridge ball carrier and he gained no yards on the play. Stone Bridge is forced to punt and now Lake Taylor has the ball at its own 22-yard line in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
Stone Bridge's defense is buckling down, though. Lake Taylor is now looking at third-and-109 from their own 22-yard line and the Titans are getting a little on the conservative side, opting for a screen pass dump off to Brandon 'Pork Chop' Moore that results in a six yard loss, tackled by Gunner Blacksaw of the Bulldogs. Lake Taylor then gets off a very poor punt that has Stone Bridge at the Titans' 31-yard line with 8:15 remaining.
Now, things are really going to get interesting as Stone Bridge is in position to trim this deficit down to six with a touchdown.
1:45 PM: This is a very important series for Lake Taylor, believe it or not, even with a 20-7 lead because you don't want to give a team as talented as Stone Bridge new life and have them right back where they can potentially tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter with the football in their possession. The Titans need to move the chains and chew up clock at the very least because a three-and-out might rev Stone Bridge up even more after the Bulldogs' first touchdown on a drive carried by Ryan Burns moments ago.
The Titans move the chains once on a run by Brandon 'Pork Chop' Moore. A pitch out on second down results in only two yards by Daquan Davis with another tackle made by Jesse Mizell, a player who has been in on quite a few stops for the Stone Bridge defense today. On third down, Lake Taylor throws it and it's incomplete with Cameron Reynolds, a senior linebacker for Stone Bridge, making a jarring hit to prevent a completed pass.
Lake Taylor punts it away on fourth down, nearly getting it blocked, but the Bulldogs will have it at their own 25-yard line, trailing 20-7 with four seconds left in the third quarter.
END 3rdQ - - LAKE TAYLOR 20, STONE BRIDGE 7
12 minutes away from crowning a new Division 5 State Champion!
1:39 PM: It's not quite over for Stone Bridge just yet as QB Ryan Burns, the Stanford commits, breaks off a 53-yard run against a tough Lake Taylor defense. The Bulldogs are now in the red zone and threatening at the 4-yard line with just under three minutes to go in the quarter.
Burns caps off a mighty fine drive with a 4-yard TD run up the middle. The Stone Bridge fans who have been pretty quiet this afternoon, now having something to cheer about. PAT is good. Worth noting - - the Bulldogs didn't out-think themselves that series, running the same play five times in a row essentially.
2:17 left 3rdQ - - Lake Taylor 20, Stone Bridge 7
We now have a game. It'll be interesting to see if Lake Taylor answers with a drive of their own or if the Bulldogs cut into that deficit further.
1:33 PM: Disaster hits Stone Bridge on a punt return when they fumble inside their own 20-yard line, recovered by Lake Taylor junior Dyshorn Askew. The Titans are set up with fantastic field position and they capitalize immediately with senior tailback Daquan Davis, a transfer from Norview, on an 11-yard touchdown. Extra point is no good, however.
4:20 to go 3rdQ - - Lake Taylor 20, Stone Bridge 0
Stone Bridge's comeback hopes on the shoulders of their offense and QB Ryan Burns if they want to win their first state title since 2007 and not fall to 0-4 against the Eastern Region in AAA State Championship matchups.
1:25 PM: To start the second half, Lake Taylor gets the ball and begins at the 20-yard line, leading Stone Bridge 14-0. The Titans empty their bag of tricks with a halfback pass from Marquise Poole, a sophomore that started at quarterback as a freshman last year at Booker T. Washington, connecting with Jakale Pinkney for 34 yards. That puts Pinkney over 100 yards receiving today and he's really been sharp.
Fortunately for Stone Bridge, their defense comes up with the stop they need and a bad snap by Lake Taylor contributes to it - - several fumbles both ways, the Bulldogs haven't been overly opportunistic though and more on the mistake-ridden side. Lake Taylor on fourth-and-10 from the Stone Bridge 38-yard line chooses to punt and the Bulldogs get it back at their own 23-yard line.
A couple solid runs for Stone Bridge, followed by a defensive pass interference on Lake Taylor has the Bulldogs near midfield. On third down and manageable, Poole makes another timely play for Lake Taylor. Coach Mickey Thompson of Stone Bridge decides to go for it on fourth-and-7 from their own 48-yard line, and for the third time this afternoon, the Bulldogs get stopped by that tenacious Titans defense.
Under Coach Hank Sawyer for many years, Lake Taylor has one of the best defenses around and they've been nothing short of superb today with all the marbles on the line.
1:07 PM: It is half-time here at UVA's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville in the Group AAA Division 5 State Championship and Lake Taylor has grabbed control in a major way to close the after 21 minutes of scoreless football to start.
HALF: LAKE TAYLOR 14, STONE BRIDGE 0
Some numbers at the break courtesy of the good folks from STATVA (www.statva.com), doing the official statistics for the VHSL.
To sum up the first half . . . the pass on the pump fake by Williams to Pinkney was an enormous play, not only putting points on the board, but shifting field position for the Titans and then their defense made three straight stands to force punts to end the half, and special teams wasn't exactly special for Stone Bridge, which has had a mistake-ridden first half.
Lake Taylor has not run the ball tremendously well in the first half, so Stone Bridge still has to feel like if they can get one touchdown in the third quarter without letting the Lake Taylor lead grow, they are right back in this one.
12:57 PM: Stone Bridge begins its fifth offensive series of the first half on their own 30-yard line and QB Ryan Burns, the Stanford commit, throws an incomplete ball. Burns then gets absolutely rocked by Lake Taylor sophomore defender Marquise Poole, the hero in last week's State Semis win over North Stafford with the game-winning field.
Strange play on fourth down as a punt by Burns for Stone Bridge either bounces off his teammate or gets blocked by Jalyn Holmes (hard to tell from my angle and on the TV replay). Moments later, after the Titans get the ball at the Stone Bridge 25-yard line, Lake Taylor strikes with Delmon Williams firing a 19-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Nhyre Quinerly.
1:00 to go 2ndQ - - Lake Taylor 14, Stone Bridge 0
Lake Taylor has clearly found its groove and now their defense has the Stone Bridge offense a bit shaken and pressing, which could be disastrous before the half. Big credit to guys like Holmes, Pinkney, Poole, Williams and Quinerly for making play to allow the Titans to grab control in what was a scoreless game for a long time in this first half.
12:50 PM: Lake Taylor moves the chains on third-and-3 from their own 17-yard line with QB Delmon Williams, the junior who has been so efficient this year, keeps the ball out of that twin-veer offense on the option play and gains 11 yards. Brandon 'Pork Chop' Moore, the star running back for Lake Taylor was the Eastern District Offensive Player of the Year with nearly 2000 yards on the ground, moves the chains again for the Titans down to their own 44-yard line.
You have to feel good about this series for Lake Taylor until a bad snap sends them backwards 13 yards to bring up 3rd & 22. Just when we were wondering if we'd ever get a big play in this game, the Titans strike first with Williams fooling a defensive back for Stone Bridge with an outstanding pump fake and senior wideout Jakale Pinkney breaks free, scoring on a 68-yard touchdown pass.
2:45 to go 2ndQ - -- Lake Taylor 7, Stone Bridge 0.
12:43 PM: Big break for Stone Bridge as the Bulldogs recovered a fumble on a backwards pass that went off the fingertips of Lake Taylor's Nhyre Quinerly, scooped up just along the sidelines by what looked to be junior Kyle Palmer.
The Lake Taylor defense hangs tough again and forces a punt at midfield. A great hit by Jalyn Holmes, the Class of 2014 standout for the Titans rated among the Top 100 prospects in the country. Thus far, the two studs in Holmes for Lake Taylor and Jonathan Allen of Stone Bridge have come to play and put their fingerprints on this game. The Titans won't have excellent field position as they are now at their own 10-yard line nearing the midway point of this second period. We're still scoreless in Charlottesville in this hard-hitting battle at UVA.
12:35 PM: The snap exchanges have been anything but inspiring for the Bulldogs as they start to get near midfield, but putting the ball on the carpet keeps them from advancing further. Fortunately for Stone Bridge, they haven't given the pigskin over to Lake Taylor's offense with good field position. The Bulldogs punt it away and the Titans take over at their own 36-yard line with 9:34 to play in the second period.
Lake Taylor is now into Stone Bridge territory for the first time today with a couple of quick screen passes from Delmon Williams to Jakale Pinkney and Donovan Powell effectively moving the ball for the Titans. They are now faced with a key third-and-4 at the Bulldogs' 47-yard line, and if nothing else, the Titans have tilted field position in their favor for now. Nice deep in curl pattern run by Pinkney, good for eight yards and a first down to the Stone Bridge 39-yard line.
12:31 PM: On first down, Lake Taylor nearly gets a big pass play with Delmon Williams targeting Donovan Powell, but he can't hold on for the catch and officials call offensive pass interference anyways. On third-and-23, Williams goes to junior star tight end Jalyn Holmes, a sure-fire BCS talent, and he gains 16 yards. The Titans close the period with a punt.
Through one quarter of play, we're scoreless and the story so far has been the defenses buckling down when they need them to make a play.
END 1stQ - - Stone Bridge, Lake Taylor 0
Stone Bridge ball at their own 31-yard line to start the second quarter, and twice so far the Bulldogs have driven into Lake Taylor territory, coming up empty each time. So far, Stone Bridge has 75 total yards compared to Lake Taylor's 32.
12:25 PM: The Stone Bridge offense is starting to bite off chunks of yardage running the football against a mighty Lake Taylor defense that gave up less than 100 yards rushing on the season going into the playoffs. On third-and-4 from their own 46-yard line, Ryan Burns goes up the middle to move the ball into Lake Taylor territory for the second time in this opening quarter.
On second down, however, the Titans flex their muscles with Marquise Poole making a stop for a loss and then Brandon 'Pork Chop' Moore and Jakale Pinkney come up with a key stop on third down. Stone Bridge once again has a decision to make on fourth-and-7 from their own 44-yard line and it looks like Coach Mickey Thompson will leave the offense on the field again. Coach Hank Sawyer of Lake Taylor, trying to win his first state title today, has great faith in his defense and they get it done with Pinkney making a deflection.
Not sure about that decision to go for it on fourth down; I might've punted and pinned Lake Taylor deep because offensively they've yet to do anything unbelievable.
12:20 PM: On fourth down with four yards to go from the Lake Taylor 36-yard line, the Stone Bridge Bulldogs go for it, but failed to move the chains as a run up the middle is stuffed short.
Lake Taylor gets the ball back around the 6 minute mark, and on second down it's Alabama commit Jonathan Allen, the Gatorade State Player of the Year from the defensive side of the ball, who sacks Titans QB Delmon Williams. The Titans are staring at third-and-18 from their own 25-yard line and Williams will scramble away from the pressure to gain 13 yards, though not enough for a first down and Lake Taylor is forced to punt away.
Allen has made his presence felt already, and for Lake Taylor to be successful offensively today, they have to be able to keep him from wrecking the game, which he's definitely capable of doing.
12:14 PM: After gaining eight yards on a bubble screen pass out of four wide from QB Delmon Williams to Nhyre Quinerly, Lake Taylor doesn't gain anything positive on second or third down with Stone Bridge senior outside linebacker Jesse Mizell blowing up the Titans' option play.
Lake Taylor will punt it back to Stone Bridge, where the Bulldogs will begin its second offensive possession at their own 36-yard line with a little more than eight minutes to play in this opening quarter.
Interesting note so far - - three fumbles combined by both teams so far, none of those fumbles scooped up by the other team though.
Stone Bridge is starting to move the ball effectively with D'Ante Yarborough gaining 11 yards on an end around play to the Bulldogs' 47-yard line, followed by a pick up of 11 from QB Ryan Burns, the Stanford commit who attacks the Lake Taylor defense effectively on the quarterback keeper/draw play. However, on 3rd & 4, Burns' deep pass is incomplete with the Lake Taylor blitz coming from Brandon Lynch, an All-Eastern Region First Team performer.
Stone Bridge lines up in its power formation, looking like they will go for its on 4th & 4 from the Lake Taylor 36-yard line with 6:11 to play in this first quarter. Coach Mickey Thompson will think things over and use a time-out.
12:06 PM: Stone Bridge has won the toss and elected to receive. We are underway. The Bulldogs return the kickoff to their own 26-yard line. First play from scrimmage sees QB Ryan Burns, the Stanford commit, operating out of three-wide and connecting with tailback Sterling Daily for a 21-yard screen pass. That's a nice start for Coach Mickey Thompson's Bulldogs, approaching midfield on their first possession.
Lake Taylor sophomore Shiheem Johnson with a good stop for the Titans as the Bulldogs pick up only one yard on the next play, followed by a bad snap for Stone Bridge, sending them backwards with Marquise Poole making the tackle for loss. Stone Bridg nw is looking at 3rdd & 19 from their own 39-yard line, the Bulldogs fumble, go forward eight yards, but it's not enough or a first down. The Bulldogs will punt it away to Lake Taylor with juts under 10 minutes to go in this opening quarter.
The Titans have it at their own 23-yard line with 9:44 to play in this first quarter. Lake Taylor now gets a chance to grab the lead if they can put together a scoring drive on its opening possession.
11:55 AM: We are ten minutes away from kick-off between the Lake Taylor Titans (14-0) and Stone Bridge Bulldogs (14-0) for the VHSL Group AAA Division 5 State Championship. As mentioned earlier, the weather couldn't possibly be any better if you asked me with the sun out, nice contingency from both Stone Bridge and Lake Taylor in attendance here at UVA, and two teams hungry for a title about to square off in what hopefully will be an epic clash battle that many are anticipating.
As for the Predictions, Rod Johnson, my VaPreps colleague, is taking Stone Bridge 21-20. I'm going with Lake Taylor to pull it out 26-20, but won't lie, when it comes to football, I'm a bit of an Eastern Region homer. We both agree on one thing though and that is this game should be decided on a fourth quarter play and it could go either way with these two very evenly matched on both sides of the ball.
Kick-off coming shortly, keep it locked right here all day and night!
11:30 AM: Welcome to Charlottesville and Scott Stadium at the University of Virginia for the 2012 VHSL Group AAA State Championships. It's a gorgeous, sunny day here, not too cold and fans are starting to trickle in on this Saturday where two new Champions will be crowned, one in Division 5 and one in Division 6.
In the Division 5 title game set to kick at 12:07 PM, it'll be the Northern Region Champion Stone Bridge Bulldogs (14-0) taking on the Eastern Region Champion Lake Taylor Titans (14-0). This figures to be a classic confrontation with two smothering defenses, teams that can throw the ball effectively and pound it out on the ground. Each squad has been dominating this year, and anything other than a close game would be a surprise. Stone Bridge is seeking its first state title since 2007 as they have lost in this game three times since 2005 ('05 to Hampton, '09 and '10 to Phoebus), while Lake Taylor is trying to win its first, playing in the title game for the first time in 30 years.
Over in the Division 6 AAA Championship, it'll be Eastern Region Champion Ocean Lakes (14-0) facing Central Region Champion L.C. Bird (13-0). Neither team was considered the favorite to begin the regional playoffs, but much like Stone Bridge and Lake Taylor, have been extremely impressive all year long. Bird rushed for over 400 yards last week in their State Semifinal victory over Oakton, whereas Ocean Lakes comes in with a defense that gave up fewer points in the regular season than in last year's playoffs. Ocean Lakes is in the State Championship game for the first time ever and Bird is here for the first time since 1991, also trying to win its first.
This should be an unbelievable day of football as it is the first time in the VHSL State Championships since the split to Division 5 and Division 6 that all four teams playing for the title are undefeated. We've got the best of the best here without a doubt.
My VirginiaPreps.com colleagues, State Football Editor Rod Johnson and Central Region Football Analyst Tom Garrett, are no hand here as well and will be providing coverage from these games throughout the weekend, so stay tuned for stories, photos, postgame reaction and a whole ton over the next few days on The Internet Resource for High School Sports throughout the state of Virginia!
To see their in-depth Previews, check out the links below.
Also, you can follow updates periodically on Twitter @ hatfieldsports.
Matthew Hatfield has covered Eastern Region Football since 2005 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him Saturdays from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1 plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.