Zaccarelli nabs first career win in shutout
Wolvs score all points in second half, down Spartans
During his tenure, Dominic Zaccarelli won a ton of games as head coach of the Westlake High School football team. Son Tony drew a bit closer when he won his head coaching debut after the host Wolverines shut out St. Charles 22-0 in both teams’ Southern Maryland Athletic Conference season openers on Friday.
After a scoreless first half during which both teams had plenty of chances, senior quarterback Chad Palmer tossed a pair of touchdowns over the final 24 minutes to give the younger Zaccarelli his first career victor y.
“The guys fought through a lot of adversity to come out and get the win, so it’s pretty exciting,” Tony Zaccarelli said. “The guys deserve it. Overall, I was pleased. We have work to do, but I’m pleased with the performance.”
“It’s amazing to give Coach Zac his first win as head coach. It’s real relieving because we worked real hard and we know the scoreboard showed it for us,” Westlake senior defensive end Diondre Greer said. “Hard work pays off. It’s
effort, that’s all it is.”
The Wolverines (1-0 overall) put their first points on the board midway through the third quarter. Palmer tossed a pass down the right sideline and it appeared the pass was intended for a wide receiver, but senior running back Anthony Johnson II snagged the pass and scored from 13 yards out. Palmer zipped a pass to senior Raeshad Herriott for the 2-point conversion.
“I was going to the side of the field to [sophomore receiver] Jalon Spencer, but my running back took it to the end zone,” Palmer said.
Palmer began the 7-play, 41-yard drive with a 10yard strike to Herriott, his first completion of the game after nine incompletions. Palmer (4 of 19 for 46 yards) made the key play of the drive with his legs, however, when he scampered for a 15-yard gain on a quarterback draw on fourth down and 10.
Opportunity knocked early in the fourth quarter to set up the second score of the game. Westlake punted and, when the Spartans muffed the catch, junior cornerback Desmod Harrod recovered the ball at the St. Charles 4.
“Huge,” Zaccarelli said of the fumble, one of three recoveries for Westlake on the night. “That was a complete momentum change for the guys. That’s when the tide moved for us and momentum for St. Charles was gone. It took the breath out of them.”
“That was a big play and momentum shift,” Palmer said.
Five plays later, senior CJ Clements fought off a defender and hauled in a 9-yard pass from Palmer, who then ran in the 2-point conversion.
Alexander Opiyo added an insurance touchdown late in the game when he ran it in from 10 yards out to cap a 6-play, 29-yard drive. Westlake scored 16 points off turnovers. The two teams committed 22 penalties for 208 yards.
“Westlake played an excellent game,” St. Charles head coach Avery Williams said. “They executed better than we did. We just have to go back to the drawing board and work on our execution and our mental focus.”
On 11 drives, the Spartans (0-1) were held to less than 10 yards on eight of them.
“Energy,” Greer said of the key to the Westlake defense. “They come out loud, they like to try to tempt us to make mistakes, so we had to settle in and get hyped. We had to understand what was at stake and we sure did the second half.”
Twice in the first half the Wolverines drove down inside the St. Charles 11yard line but turned the ball over on downs.
“We were definitely frustrated,” Greer said of the opening 24 minutes. “[We saw] too many mistakes on the board and we tried to clear it up and we did.”
“The offense started off real slow getting three and outs, so it was up to the leader of the team and the quarterback to be more calm and poised and be a leader on the field,” Palmer said. “We knew we needed to come out fast and hard every play and try every play to score.”
Zaccarelli added, “With the way our defense was playing I wasn’t too concerned with the way they were driving the field. I was definitely concerned that if we couldn’t punch it in every time we got down there, that we’d be in for a long fight. But our guys turned it on in the second half.”
The Spartans reached the Westlake 28 late in the first half, but the half ended. St. Charles’ deepest penetration in the second half was the Wolverines’ 46.
“They played great defense tonight,” Williams said, “but at the same time we made a lot of mental errors we have to fix on ourselves.”
St. Charles is scheduled to host McDonough at 7 p.m. The Rams defeated Great Mills in Week 1, 229. Westlake is scheduled to be at Great Mills at 6 p.m. Friday.
St. Charles quarterback Marlon Brown is sacked by Westlake’s Rexford Edlen, left, and John Barnes in Friday night’s contest. Westlake shut out St. Charles, 22-0.
St. Charles fullback Zion Dinkins runs for yardage in Friday night’s contest at Westlake. The Spartans were shut out, 22-0.