Stone foot­ball shuts out West­lake to win 301 Clas­sic

Cougars blank Wolver­ines to run win streak to three games

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

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.

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