Falling to the champs

Charg­ers de­feat Cava­liers, claim di­vi­sion ti­tle

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

In some ways, there was noth­ing re­ally at stake for Lackey’s foot­ball team when it trav­eled to Calvert on Fri­day night. The Charg­ers had al­ready clinched a spot in the Class 1A South Re­gion play­off field and the right to host their play­off opener.

But a win on Fri­day cou­pled with a West­lake win over La Plata would earn Lackey the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion ti­tle.

The Charg­ers de­liv­ered on their end, de­feat­ing Calvert 35-10 in a SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake con­test, while West­lake came through on the other end by tak­ing down La Plata 21-12 to al­low Lackey to earn the di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship. The Charg­ers also earned the top seed in the 1A South and will open the post­sea­son

at home at 7 p.m. against Sur­rattsville of Prince Ge­orge’s County.

“We played well,” Lackey head coach John Lush said of the per­for­mance against Calvert. “We didn’t play as well de­fen­sively early. We made some ad­just­ments. Of­fen­sively, we said we wanted to throw the ball 10 times. We’re run­ning the ball ef­fec­tively the past cou­ple weeks, but last year we didn’t have that sec­ond gear. We played Patux­ent [in the play­offs] and couldn’t throw the ball. So we’ve put a lot of em­pha­sis on that and made some strides here and there. We’ve still got some work to do, but we have to pick up that part of our game.”

Lackey’s ef­forts to be multi-di­men­sional paid some div­i­dends ver­sus Calvert on Fri­day, as quar­ter­back Robert Mid­dle­ton com­pleted 5 of 10 passes for 95 yards and a pair of touch­downs.

“I feel like we played great,” Mid­dle­ton said. “We stayed to­gether and got the job done. It’s just the first step. Next week we have to go to prac­tice and work hard so we can get the firstround dub.”

Lackey (8-2, 5-1 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake) opened up a 21-10 lead through the first half against Calvert (3-7, 1-5). Jor­dan Bryant took a kick­off back the dis­tance to get the Charg­ers on top early, while Jayson Wilmer scored a rush­ing touch­down and Jor­dan Carter caught Mid­dle­ton’s first touch­down pass to ac­count for all of the vis­i­tors’ first-half scor­ing.

The Cava­liers man­aged to

hang in the game in the first half, scor­ing with Kevin Pitcher’s field goal in the first quar­ter and a TJ Prather touch­down run in the sec­ond quar­ter. But the Charg­ers de­fense stiff­ened in the sec­ond half, while Mid­dle­ton’s 34-yard touch­down pass to James Wilk­er­son late in the third quar­ter in­creased Lackey’s lead to 28-10. Mid­dle­ton then did the hon­ors him­self on Lackey’s fi­nal scor­ing drive, reach­ing the end zone on a 5-yard run with 10 min­utes 52 sec­onds re­main­ing to cap the scor­ing.

It was a tough end for Calvert, which a year ago won the 2A South Re­gion cham­pi­onship with a se­nior-laden group. This year’s team was com­pet­i­tive, but strug­gled to end up on the win­ning side while go­ing through some ex­pected grow­ing pains.

“For us it’s pretty heartwrench­ing be­cause you know what those guys are feel­ing,” Calvert head coach Rick Sneade said. “When you know you’ve played your last game and there is no more foot­ball left ... for me it was one of the top 5 worst feel­ings I’ve had. But I have the lux­ury of get­ting to go out there and coach each week ev­ery sea­son, and we get to spend time with these kids and kind of re-live our dreams vi­car­i­ously through our play­ers. There’s a great deal of joy when we get to see them go out there and do what they do. I know they’re go­ing to be able to do that one day, too. It may not be through coach­ing foot­ball, but it’s go­ing to be through some­thing. They’re go­ing to go out and have a great im­pact on the world. Those dreams and the things

that they achieved here on the foot­ball field will have a big part in how suc­cess­ful they are in life.”

For Lackey, the sea­son marches on. Com­pet­ing in the 2A South a year ago, the Charg­ers were elim­i­nated in the post­sea­son’s first week in a 28-14 loss at Patux­ent. Now in the 1A South, Lackey will look for a longer play­off stay, open­ing with Sur­rattsville with a po­ten­tial clash with Dou­glass, of Prince Ge­orge’s County, loom­ing in the re­gional fi­nal.

“It’s ex­cit­ing,” Lush said. “It’s the play­offs and any­thing can hap­pen.”

“If we just stay to­gether, I be­lieve in our team,” Mid­dle­ton said. “We have to catch passes, I need to get bet­ter drops, but if we work on it, we’re go­ing to do good things.”

PHOTO BY DEBBIE MCINTOSH

Calvert’s TJ Prather runs in the open field dur­ing the Cava­liers’ game with the vis­it­ing Lackey Charg­ers on Fri­day night. Lackey de­feated Calvert 35-10.

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