Un­able to fin­ish

Late turnover dooms Wolver­ines in loss to Cava­liers

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Through­out Fri­day night’s South­ern Mary- land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­sion foot- ball game, host West­lake had suc­cess mov­ing the chains deep into Calvert ter­ri­tory.

How­ever, as has been its cus­tom this sea­son, the Calvert de­fense lived off of cre­at­ing turnovers.

With West­lake backed up to its own 1-yard line and lead­ing 14-13 in the fourth quar­ter, the Cav- aliers had per­haps their big­gest one of the game.

On sec­ond down, West- lake ju­nior run­ning back Jor­dan Brum­field re­ceived the hand­off, but as he was look­ing for run­ning room to the out­side, Calvert se­nior line­backer Levi Brick­ner stripped the foot­ball and se­nior Cody Ma­son re­cov­ered it in the end zone for the go-ahead touch­down with 6 min­utes 58 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion.

Se­nior run­ning back Shamar Gray scored on the two-point con­ver­sion, push­ing Calvert to an even­tual 21-14 vic­tory on the Wolver­ines se­nior night.

In ad­di­tion to the fourth-quar­ter fum­ble, Ma­son re­cov­ered a Wolver­ines fum­ble at the Calvert 1 in the first quar­ter. An in­ter­cep­tion early

in the sec­ond by Da­juan Wil­lett stopped an­other scor­ing drive with the hosts at the Cava­liers’ 18.

With the win, Calvert (8-1, 4-1 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake) clinched a play­off spot in the Class 2A South Re­gion for the sec­ond straight sea­son and will travel to take on Lackey (8-1, 5-0) in a divi­sion show­down for its reg- ular sea­son fi­nale. Lackey, also clinched a post­sea­son berth with its 42-6 win at La Plata in Week 9.

“It is im­por­tant for us to win when your back is up against the wall like that,” Calvert head coach Rick Sneade said. “We got ev­ery­thing that you could pos­si­bly get from West­lake and

their se­niors. They played in- spired, but our kids re­sponded well and it was a great de­fen­sive strug­gle tonight.”

Mid­way in the fourth, West- lake drove 50 yards in 10 plays, but the drive was halted on a false start at the Calvert 2 on a fourth down and 1. The Wol- ver­ines turned the ball over on downs on the next play with 1:55 re­main­ing.

Af­ter forc­ing Calvert to punt on the en­su­ing drive, West­lake (5-4, 2-3) had one fi­nal chance to score with 0.7 sec­onds left in the clock, but se­nior quar- ter­back Chad Palmer’s deep throw to­ward the end zone was knocked down by sev­eral Cava- liers to end the game.

Ear­lier, af­ter Calvert fum­bled the ball away on the open­ing drive of the sec­ond half, West­lake took a 14-13 lead with

3:52 left in the third on a 16yard touch­down throw from Palmer to ju­nior wide re­ceiver Johnathan Barnes (6 catches, 71 yards), who made a leap­ing grab over the Cava­liers se­condary on a third and long.

“We knew this was our chance to make play­offs right here and when Levi stripped that ball I was able to re­cover it for the score and that set the tone for the rest of quar­ter,” Ma­son said. “We couldn’t lose tonight. It was a big game.”

Fol­low­ing a Calvert fum­ble on the open­ing drive of the game, West­lake marched all the way down to the Cava­liers’ 1, but run­ning back Brian Lee Jr. fum- bled the hand­off and Ma­son took the ball away and re­turned it 92 yards.

“We left 14 points on the board. We were on the goal

line twice and couldn’t score,” West­lake head coach Tony Zac- carelli said. “Our kids played their hearts out. Our of­fense made big plays tonight to keep it and found some holes in the de­fense.”

Ma­son’s early fum­ble re­turn set up the first points of the game as Calvert se­nior quar­ter- back Jack Lan­ham plunged in for a 7-yard touch­down run to give the Cava­liers the 7-0 lead af­ter the ex­tra point at the 6:07 mark of the first.

Later in the quar­ter, Lan­ham scored his sec­ond touch­down of the game, this time from 10 yards out to give Calvert the 13-0 lead af­ter one.

West­lake re­sponded with a 10-play, 42-yard drive that was capped by a Brum­field 2-yard touch­down run as time ex­pired in the first half.

“We knew if we won then we were in [the play­offs],” Lan­ham said, “so we wanted to come out strong and set the tone early. West­lake’s de­fense bounced back and was able to ad­just to our of­fense. It was close, but I’m glad we pre­vailed.”

The West­lake de­fense re­cov­ered two fum­bles in the loss.

“We just came up a few plays short, we just had to ex­e­cute more in the red zone,” said Palmer, who was 8 for 20 for 110 yards.

West­lake, which was elim­i­nated from play­off con­tention in the 2A South, will travel to Patux­ent in Week 10, with kick­off sched­uled for 7 p.m. Fri­day.

Patux­ent, which also clinched a post­sea­son berth in the 2A South, won 43-6 over Stone in Week 9.

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