McLean (Oct. 31, 2009) - Marcus Harris rushed for 200 yards and scored twice and Kyle Gouveia rushed for a score and threw two TD passes as Stone Bridge High School clinched at least a share of the AAA Liberty District title with a 38-21 win at McLean Friday night.
The first four meetings between these two schools, dating back to 2005, were very one-sided affairs, with the Bulldogs (8-1 overall, 5-1 in district) winning all four by a combined margin of 178-19. However, the 2009 edition of the Highlanders (5-4, 3-3) came into the game with a 5-3 record, a far cry from the 0-10 season they had endured in 2008, so this game was expected to be closer than in the past.
For much of the first half, the two teams traded touchdowns. Stone Bridge won the toss and, to everyone’s surprise, opted to receive the opening kickoff. After a 28-yard Kyle Gouveia completion to J.J. White, the Bulldogs went to work on establishing their running game, taking the ball 58 yards in 7 plays for the first score of the evening. QB Gouveia scored on an 8-yard run, and Abdul Shaba’s kick made the score 7-0, with 08:22 left in the opening period.
McLean responded immediately with a running attack of its own, anchored by Riley Beiro. The Highlanders tied the score on his 29-yard run, capping a 6-play, 89-yard drive. Beiro’s TD was set up by a 37-yard completion from QB William Hecht to receiver Jonathan Fremerman.
Andrew Hunt’s Pat kick knotted the score at 7.
A promising drive by the Bulldogs ended in a fumble; but McLean gave the ball back just 3 plays later, on its own 27. The Bulldogs covered that distance in 6 plays, with Marcus Harris scoring from the 1. With Shaban’s kick, the score was now 14-7.
The “tennis” match continued, with McLean needing just 3 plays to pull even again. QB Hecht found WR Fremerman open in the middle of the field and he outran the Stone Bridge defenders to complete a 68-yard scoring play. Now it was the Bulldogs’ turn.
With Brian Rody at the helm for much of the drive, the Bulldogs moved 83 yards in 12 plays to regain the lead, this time for good. The score came on a 6-yard pass from Kyle Gouveia to Taylor Lambke. Shaban’s kick put the Bulldogs up, 21-14.
On its next possession, McLean moved the ball to the Stone Bridge 30, but then stalled, and QB Hecht was sacked on 4th down. Stone Bridge and McLean then traded interceptions, leaving the Bulldogs with the ball on the McLean 47.
On first down, Kyle Gouveia lofted a pass downfield that settled into the hands of Spenser Rositano, who had gotten past the McLean secondary; Rositano sailed into the end zone to put the Bulldogs up by 2 scores. However, a 2-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Bulldogs with a 27-14 lead.
The Bulldogs threatened one more time before the half, but a 40-yard field goal attempt by Rositano sailed wide right. A quick look at the first half statistics showed that this was yet another workhorse night for Marcus Harris. At this point in the game, he had already carried the ball 23 times for 117 yards and a TD.
Of significance was the fact that, on his 19th carry of the evening, he broke the school record for rushes in a season, eclipsing the 196 carries made by another Harris – Grant – in Stone Bridge’s inaugural season, 2000.
The teams again traded touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. McLean capitalized on an interception of a Kyle Gouveia pass, and RB Beiro capped an 8-play, 26-yard drive with his 2nd score of the night, on a 1-yard run, closing the score to 27-21. It would remain that way for the sum total of 22 seconds.
Adrian Thomas returned the kickoff 33 yards to the McLean 44, and Marcus Harris covered the remaining 56 yards on one play to put Stone Bridge up by two scores. The Bulldogs tacked on a 2-point conversion, courtesy of a Kyle Gouveia run, and the score was now 35-21 in favor of Stone Bridge.
The final score of the night came on a 21-yard field goal by Abdul Shaban in the 4th quarter. McLean could not generate a first down, and Stone Bridge patiently ran out the clock, improving their record to 8-1 (5-1 in the Liberty District), while the Highlanders fell to 5-4 (3-3 in the District).
• Marcus Harris now has 1288 rushing yards for the season, on 211 carries. He has scored 12 rushing TDs. This was Harris’ 4th rushing performance of over 200 yards this season.
• Abdul Shaban’s field goal was his first of the 2009 season, to go with his 29 successful PAT attempts.
• Riley Beiro picked up 142 yards on 27 carries for the Highlanders, and scored 2 TDs. He is the first running back to gain over 100 yards against the Bulldogs this season.
• McLean scored more points against the Bulldogs in this game than it had scored in the first 4 games against Stone Bridge combined.
Prepared by: E. Denis Eaton