West­lake foot­ball edges La Plata

Wolver­ines stay in play­off hunt with win

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

In his rookie sea­son at the helm of the West­lake High School foot­ball team, head coach Tony Zac­carelli is al­ready ac­cus­tomed to dis­re­gard­ing the win- loss record of any op­po­nent in the Southern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

Fri­day evening, West­lake kept its play­off hopes alive by up­end­ing La Plata, 32- 29, in a Southern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion game that many would have con­sid­ered lop­sided on pa­per. But Zac­carelli is not will­ing to fall into the trap of view­ing an op­po­nents record as a ba­sis for its abil­i­ties or ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“La Plata is def­i­nitely much bet­ter than their record in­di­cates,” said Zac­carelli, whose team ( 5- 3, 2- 2 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake) will host Calvert at 7 p. m. Fri­day. The Cava­liers shut out Thomas Stone in Week 8, 41- 0. “They def­i­nitely were ready to play. In the end, I thought our of­fen­sive line and de­fen­sive lines both won in the trenches, but it was a very close game through­out.”

La Plata ( 2- 6, 0- 4) has now had nar­row misses against two Charles County ri­vals. They al­lowed a 30- 8 se­cond- half lead to slip away in a 31- 30 set­back

against Stone and were in­volved in another dog­fight against West­lake.

“We’re def­i­nitely much bet­ter than we were a year ago at this time,” Mil­stead said. “We’re get­ting there, but we still have a long way to go. The kids have been ded­i­cated and they’re buy­ing into what we’re teach­ing them. We’ve def­i­nitely taken great strides since last year, but we’re not there yet. But we’re go­ing to get there.”

West­lake man­aged to stay bal­anced on of­fense against La Plata as quar­ter­back Chad Palmer com­pleted 6 of 11 passes for 118 yards, in­clud­ing a 61- yard strike to Cur­to­nio Mar­shall. The Wolver­ines ground game col­lected 235 yards on 38 at­tempts, with Ma­lik Opiyo lead­ing the way with 60 yards and one rush­ing touch­down on 10 car­ries.

The teams were tied at 14 at halftime and after three quar­ters.

West­lake went ahead 24-14 only to see La Plata get back to within one pos­ses­sion at 2421. The Wolver­ines went back

up 32-21 with 1 minute 36 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion, but just 12 sec­onds later the War­riors trailed just 32-29 and that would be the even­tual fi­nal score.

West­lake’s con­test with Calvert is a game that will de­fi­fifinitely have play­off im­pli­ca­tions for both squads, then the Wolver­ines will travel to Patux­ent

to face the de­fend­ing Class 2A state cham­pi­ons in the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale.

La Plata hosts Lackey (which de­feated McDonough in Week 8, 41-6) at 7 p.m. Fri­day in a game that has dual mean­ing for Mil­stead, a Lackey grad­u­ate who played for the Charg­ers’ state cham­pi­onship team and then came back as an as­sis­tant coach at his alma mater when Lackey made con­sec­u­tive ap­pear­ances in the state ti­tle game the pre­vi­ous decade.

“Lackey has an out­stand­ing foot­ball team and it’s never easy, emo­tion­ally, go­ing up against your alma mater,” Mil­stead said. “Me and three of my as­sis­tant coaches are Lackey grad­u­ates and for­mer Lackey as­sis­tant coaches, so any­time we take the field against them its al­ways presents a chal­lenge from a coach­ing stand­point as well as emo­tion­ally. But we’re all about the blue and white of La Plata High School now.”

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