Westlake football edges La Plata
Wolverines stay in playoff hunt with win
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.”