Lackey football rolls past La Plata; NP, St. Charles win
Chargers excel in all three phases against La Plata
After committing turnovers on each of its first two possessions at La Plata High School on Friday night and actually trailing briefly, the Lackey football team went back to basics and countered with 42 unanswered points en route to its seventh straight victory in the SMAC Chesapeake Division contest.
Lackey (8-1, 5-0 SMAC Chesapeake) will host Calvert (8-1, 4-1), a 21-14 winner over Westlake in Week 9, at 7 p.m. Friday in a game that could determine home field advantage for their potential meeting one week later in the Class 2A
South Region semifinals.
Versus La Plata, Lackey got scores in varying ways, which pleased head coach John Lush, who anticipated an improvement in one area.
“We put a really big focus on special teams in practice the last week and I was glad it paid off tonight,” said Lush, whose Chargers blocked two kicks and nearly returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown. “We blocked that field goal in the sec- ond quarter and that was a big turning point. We put an emphasis on special teams this week and I was glad that showed up tonight.”
Lackey could not have started the game more listlessly as quarterback Wesley Johnson threw an interception on his first attempt of the night and running back Malik Burns fumbled on his fourth carry of the night. But both players would eventually atone for those early miscues in a big way, although only after La Pla- ta (2-7, 0-5) had forged an improbable lead.
After Burns near midfield, fumbled La Plata needed only three plays to convert. Junior quar- terback Jordan Sinclair connected with William Meadows on a 40-yard scoring strike for a 6-0 lead, but Meadows’ ex- tra point attempt was blocked. In the long run, the point after was hardly a factor but it was not lost on Warriors second-year
coach Rod Milstead.
On the Chargers’ very next play from scrim- mage, Burns atoned for his turnover by racing 50 yards for a touchdown and Brett Culhane added the extra point that gave the visitors a 7-6 lead they would never relinquish. Before the first quarter expired, Burns found the end zone again, this time from 39 yards out off left tackle. Another Culhane point-after made it 14-6.
La Plata promptly coun- tered with another good drive which finally stalled in the red zone. Milstead had some misgivings about sending Meadows out for a 37-yard field goal try and his feelings were warranted when the Char- gers blocked the kick and Tre Gulley picked up the loose ball and returned it to the Warriors 9-yard line.
“When they blocked our first extra point, I thought that cost us a little momen-
tum,” Milstead said. “Then before we tried that field goal, I thought we had corrected the blocking up front, but their guy came right up the middle and they returned it to set up another score. That was the turning point of the game. Give credit to Lack- ey. They executed well in all three phases tonight.”
Lackey was unable to ride Burns for another score, so it displayed a different tactic. This time it was Johnson who connected with James Wilk- erson on a 20-yard strike on fourth down to extend the lead to 21-6. Then on the penultimate play of the second quarter, John- son again connected with Wilkerson on a 56-yard toss that gave the Char- gers a 28-6 lead at halftime.
“Malik has been running hard for us all year,” Johnson said. “The offensive line has been doing a great job opening holes, but it was great being able to drop back and throw a few passes tonight. When I saw where the safeties were playing, I knew the middle was going to be wide open for James.”
La Plata mounted another good drive to start the third quarter, but it turned the ball over on downs deep in Lackey territory. On the Chargers’ first play from scrimmage, Burns again found daylight off left tackle and raced 78 yards for another score and a 35-6 lead.
On the Warriors’ second play from scrimmage on its subsequent possession, the Lackey defense forced a fumble and Nathan Proctor returned the bouncing ball 55 yards for a touchdown that extended the Chargers’ lead to 42-6 late in the third quarter and invoked the running clock for the entire fourth quarter.
Lackey wide receiver James Wilkerson heads up field after catching a pass from quarterback Wesley Johnson in Friday’s contest at La Plata. Wilkerson caught three passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Chargers past the Warriors 42-6.
La Plata High School quarterback Jordan Sinclair drops back to pass against Lackey on Friday as running back Aaron Hernandez stays in to block. Sinclair completed 16 of 24 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown as the Warriors lost to the Chargers 42-6.