It was a run his South Williamsport teammates, coaches and fans have seen repeatedly.
But it was the kind of replay that never gets old. And this one was historic.
Brandon Stonge took an inside handoff, literally ran over a defender, broke into the clear and outran a series of speedy defensive backs for a 50-yard touchdown Friday against Bloomsburg. This one helped pave the way for a dominant 32-16 District 4 Class A semifinal win. It also made Stonge the king of the rushing mountain at the school that resides at the bottom of one.
South Williamsport’s Brandon Stonge runs through a Bloomsburg tackler during Friday night’s game. Stonge has been the driving force for a strong Mounties offense.
Stonge ran for 227 yards Friday and that touchdown run made him the program's all-time leading rusher. The four-year starter now has 3,220 career yards and is a big reason the Mounties are playing for their first district championship since 1997.
"This year I made a goal that I was going to break it but we're just looking forward to Southern right now," Stonge said.
Stonge always has put the team ahead of himself. He is just one of many quality players who has helped a team that won three games combined in 2009-10 become a district force and a district finalist.
But what a player he is.
One who meets Stonge for the first time might think he is an offensive lineman or a blocking fullback. He is 5-foot-9, 235 pounds but can run like a freight train. Stonge has massive legs and can squat between 600-800 pounds. He looks like the kind of player who could bulldoze over defenders and gain key first downs in short-yardage situations.
But watch him run and one realizes, Stonge has the whole package. Once he hits the open field, Stonge is rarely caught. He runs a 4.6 40 and used his overall arsenal to run for a career-high 227 yards and three touchdowns against a Bloomsburg defense that had held District 4 Class AA's top two seeds, Danville and Central Columbia, to 24 combined points the two previous weeks.
The bigger the games, the better Stonge seems to play. This was the third time he topped 200 yards this season and the previous two came in pseudo-league championship games against Sayre and Muncy. In two games against Bloomsburg that have helped define South's tremendous season, he has run for 416 yards and five touchdowns. He also has seven 100-yard games this season.
"To rush for the yards he's rushed for is outstanding and so much of Stonge's yardage comes after contact," South coach Chris Eiswerth said. "Bloom really tried to stick him and after a while those guys didn't want any part of him. I can't say enough about him."
Running behind a punishing offensive line, Stonge takes his toll on defenders. Throughout the second half, Bloomsburg defenders looked anything but enthusiastic about getting in Stonge's way. The bruising fullback broke off runs of 63, 50 and 28 yards, capping his brilliant performance with a game-clinching 28-yard score in which he again ran over a defender before outrunning the secondary.
Bloomsburg was just the latest in a line of teams that has grown weary of Stonge. He is the ultimate workhorse and his work ethic and strength make him the ideal running back late in games. After he made game-saving tackles at the goal line against Canton and Hughesville while playing linebacker, it might also be wise to call Stonge the ultimate closer.
"I felt as the game wore on a lot of guys didn't want to hit him or anybody on our team," South lineman Marco Estrella said. "I think we wore them down."
After flirting with 1,000 yards the last two years, Stonge broke that plateau in a dominant 50-20 Week 8 win at Muncy and has just kept going. The senior enters Friday's game at Southern with 1,430 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averages 8.8 yards per carry, is one of three quality South running backs, and can block as well as he runs.
"As the game goes on he keeps pounding and pounding until teams can't take it anymore," said South tight end Heath Newcomer.
Stonge is receiving Division II and III interest and could be quite a pickup. But after helping this program improve each of the last three years he is hardly ready for that collegiate career to begin. He and his team have had a storybook season and now Stonge hopes to write the ultimate ending.
If Stonge closes this book the way he does his runs, that is a definite possibility.