Westlake finishes season with loss at Patuxent
Wolverines end with 5-5 record
Heading into Week 10 in 2015, the Patuxent Panthers needed to win at Westlake just to make it in the playoffs. The Panthers responded to the mustwin situation by winning 42-6, and just kept right on winning for four more weeks to claim the Class 2A state championship.
Having already clinched a postseason berth prior to this year’s regular season finale against the Wolverines, the pressure Patuxent was under was different. The result was similar. A 49-14 win in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division contest in Lusby.
With the win, coupled with Lackey’s 17-14 loss to Calvert, Patuxent (9-1, 5-1 SMAC Chesapeake) earned the top seed in the 2A South Region playoffs. The Panthers will host fourth-seeded Lackey at 7 p.m. Friday, and will look to avenge its only loss of the season, that a 3-0 set- back to the Chargers on a soggy Sept. 30 night. Friday night’s results also meant that Calvert and Lackey and Patuxent all share the SMAC Chesa- peake Division crown.
It was the sixth straight season that Patuxent earned a postseason berth.
“Westlake’s a good team with a lot of athletes and we had to come ready to play. We didn’t want to look past them with the playoffs a week away,” said Patuxent head coach Steve Crounse, whose offense has scored 40 or more points five times this season. “The kids ex- ecuted well especially in the passing game and got our running game going to where we kept them honest.”
Defensively, Patuxent pressured Wolverines quarterback Chad Palm- er all game long, holding him to just 47 yards pass- — completing 12 of 19 ing on four completions. passes for 280 yards on
“They did a good job three touchdowns, while on Palmer. He is a very rushing for a 4-yard score. elusive athlete,” Crounse Patuxent led 14-0 af- said. “We just got in his ter the first quarter and face, hurried his throws, pushed the lead to 28-0 made him get off his landmarks at halftime. It had a com- and tackling him manding 35-point lead when he scrambled. Our early in the third after kids really contained him, Crounse hooked up with so overall it was a great senior wide receiver Jael- effort heading into the en Gross for a 35-yard playoffs.” touchdown to force a run-
Junior starting quarter- ning clock for the rest of back Reese Crounse ac- the game. counted for four of Patux“Without a doubt I think ent’s seven touchdowns that Jaelen is the best wide receiver in the con- ference and Vonnie [Wat- kins] is the best tight end in SMAC, so passing is easy when you have those two guys,” said Reese Crounse, who has thrown for over 1,900 yards this season. “We are just taking it one game at a time and it feels good to have a playoff game at home.”
Gross had four receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the game, including a 79-yarder to end the first quarter. Patuxent sophomore Tazman Davis (11 carries, 83 yards) had a 51-yard touchdown run for the first points of the game.
“We’ve been looking forward to get back to the region playoffs since the offseason and we are blessed to be in position again,” Gross said. “Reese was putting the ball on the money tonight. All I had to do is just run a good route and catch the ball.”
Patuxent led 42-0 early in the fourth quarter after senior Reyquon Holland’s 15-yard touchdown run.
Westlake (5-5, 2-4) scored twice in the fourth on a 49-yard run by AJ Jackson and a 65-yard run from senior Diondre Greer.
“We played our hearts out, Patuxent is a very good team and are going to be able to defend that state title and I will look forward to watching them do that,” Westlake head coach Tony Zaccarelli said. “We have a lot of our skilled kids coming back next season, so we are moving in the right direction.”
Watkins, also the team’s defensive end, and senior linebacker Dwayne Smith had three sacks each in the victory.
“Westlake had a very good quarterback and we just locked everything down and kept good containment,” Watkins said. “We are just as confident this year as we were last year to get back to the state championship.”