Stone football shuts out Westlake to win 301 Classic
Cougars blank Wolverines to run win streak to three games
Thomas Stone’s Taejon Gray made an instinctive play on the football late in the second quarter in Friday night’s Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division contest.
With host Westlake backed up on its own 20yard line, senior Raeshad Herriott took the carry and scampered down the right side and appeared to to be gone for an 80-yard touchdown run.
But the Cougars senior cornerback used his blistering speed to run down Herriott inside the 5, stripped the football and recovered it on the 1.
A Herriott touchdown would have cut a 15-0 deficit down to a one score game. Instead, Gray’s heads-up play to save six points helped the Cougars force one of Westlake’s five turnovers en route to 23-0 shutout of the Wolverines to win the 301 Classic trophy.
That long run by Herriott was the longest offensive play of the game for Westlake due to a stifling Stone defense that brought immense pressure up the middle all night.
“When he first hit the edge I was like, ‘He’s moving,’” said Gray, referring to the speed of Herriott. “He was 20 yards ahead of me and I had to put it in another gear. I finally got to within five yards of him and ended up stripping the ball and he fumbled. It was a big play because if they scored, they would’ve had a lot of momentum going into halftime.”
It was third straight victory for Stone (4-3, 3-1 SMAC Chesapeake), which heads into a 7 p.m. Friday showdown at Calvert (6-1, 2-1 after a 40-14 win over La Plata in Week 7) with momentum.
“We’re just trying to get to [9 p.m.] every week and our defense is getting better and are disciplined,” said Cougards head coach Danny Ripple, whose defense held the Wolverines to just 75 yards rushing on 21 carries. “We had a great week of practice and worked on tackling. “Our defensive coordinator Charlie Brown is doing a heck of a job. Taejon made a great effort on that play and saved a touchdown. And we just have a core of kids that just care and give effort on every play.”
Senior running back De’John Broadwater scored the first points of the game early in the first quarter when he
saw a gaping hole and got through the Wolverines’ defense for the 83-yard touchdown run, giving Stone the 8-0 lead after converting the two-point conversion.
“I didn’t think the hole was going to be that wide open,” said Broadwater, who finished with 122 yards on 13 carries. “So I was like let’s go and get my squad this dub. It’s not about me. We’ve been working since the summer time and it has been tough, but we been coming through and getting better.”
The Cougars had another 100-yard rusher on the night as senior fullback EJ Thompson, who had 11 carries for 100 yards, bulled his way for a 22yard touchdown run with 7 minutes 6 seconds left in the first half to push the lead to 15-0 after the extra point.
On Westlake’s final drive of the first half, it was forced to punt on a fourth down and long situation and the Stone punt return team scored two more points when senior outside linebacker Ryan Workman blocked the punt in the back of the endzone for a safety to give Stone an eventual 17-0 halftime lead.
“The game was all about big plays and Stone had four of them that made the difference,” Westlake head coach Tony Zaccarelli said. “Hats off to them, they played hard and deserved to win.”
Halfway through the third quarter, the Cougars capped off the scoring when senior quarterback Jonathan Harris found Gray (4 catches, 53 yards) for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
The Cougars defensive unit brought pressure all night on Westlake senior quarterback Chad Palmer as the secondary consisting of seniors Josh Newman, Darren Williams and junior Delonta Nunnally all had one interception each.
Palmer completed 11 of 16 passes for 100 yards.
Westlake (4-3, 1-2) dropped its second straight game by shutout and will be at La Plata in a division matchup at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Thomas Stone Cougars football team celebrates with the 301 Classic trophy after defeating the Westlake Wolverines 23-0 in a SMAC Chesapeake Division game on Friday night in Waldorf.
Thomas Stone quarterback Jonathan Harris waits for the snap in the shotgun, along with running back De’John Broadwater in Friday night’s 23-0 win over the Westlake Wolverines in Waldorf for the 301 Classic trophy.