Lackey foot­ball rolls past La Plata; NP, St. Charles win

Charg­ers ex­cel in all three phases against La Plata

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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.

PHOTO BY JERRY BAL­LENGEE

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.

PHOTO BY JERRY BAL­LENGEE

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.

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