West­lake blanks La Plata

Wolver­ines limit Warriors to four first downs

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Af­ter watch­ing sev­eral promis­ing drives come away empty, the West­lake High School foot­ball team fi­nally found its of­fen­sive prow­ess just be­fore half­time on Fri­day night against vis­it­ing La Plata en route to a 29-0 South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion vic­tory sparked by two dif­fer­ent quar­ter­backs.

West­lake (2-2 over­all, 1-0 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake) has re­lied heav­ily on the arm and legs of se­nior quar­ter­back Jalon Spencer through much of the last two sea­sons and Fri­day evening he would even­tu­ally throw two touch­down passes for the tri­umphant Wolver­ines. But sopho­more Jeremiah Maxwell also got am­ple play­ing time in the sec­ond half and made the most of his chances, throw­ing two touch­downs as well.

“It was great get­ting a chance to go out and make some plays with my team­mates,” said Maxwell, who com­pleted all seven of his passes for 51 yards and two scores. “Coach gives me a lot of time in prac­tice on scout team and I get a lot of reps that way.”

Spencer had led West­lake on long drives on each of their first two pos­ses­sions, but the Wolver­ines came away empty both times. On the first drive, West­lake just missed con­vert­ing

on fourth down and 16 when Spencer rushed for 14 yards on a keeper, then on the next drive he was sacked on fourth down.

La Plata (1-3, 0-1) then coun­tered with its best scor­ing chance of the night. On a sec­ond down play near mid­field, quar­ter­back Da’mani Brown con­nected with Nico Stout for 38 yards down the right side­line to set up the Warriors with a first and goal sit­u­a­tion. But two rushes net­ted noth­ing and a hold­ing penalty took the vis­i­tors out of field goal range and

they turned the ball over on downs fol­low­ing two Brown in­com­ple­tions.

“It al­ways seemed like we were just one missed block away from a big play,” said La Plata firstyear head coach John Len­nartz, whose team will host Lackey at 7 p.m. Fri­day. The Charg­ers (22) fell to Calvert in Week 4, 27-6. “We didn’t make the plays and West­lake did. We’re young and we have a lot of new play­ers and some­times it just comes down to miss­ing a block or a tackle and those things hap­pen. But the ef­fort was there and the guys never quit and that’s some­thing pos­i­tive to take away from it.”

West­lake again turned the ball over on downs in La Plata ter­ri­tory in the sec­ond quar­ter be­fore fi­nally break­ing the score­less dead­lock just be­fore half­time. The Wolver­ines went 65 yards in seven plays and found the end zone when Spencer con­nected with Devin Wil­liams on a 39-yard strike and Cheyswan Coates added the 2-point con­ver­sion for an 8-0 half­time lead.

“We re­ally kept hurt­ing our­selves with penal­ties and bad snaps on our other drives,” said West­lake coach Tony Zac­carelli, whose team will travel to Great Mills (0-4) for a 6 p.m. kick­off Fri­day. The

Hor­nets were edged late by North­ern in Week 4, 22-21. “Get­ting that touch­down right be­fore half­time was a big turn­ing point. I think our guys played with a lot more con­fi­dence of­fen­sively in the sec­ond half and our de­fense played re­ally well.”

West­lake’s of­fense opened the sec­ond half with a 13-play, 65-yard drive that again came up empty, but the Wolver­ines de­fense would quickly get the ball back. Wil­liams in­ter­cepted a Brown pass at the Warriors’ 23-yard line and, two plays later, Maxwell con­nected with Cur­to­nio Mar­shall for 19 yards and Ryan Lloyd’s ex­tra point made it 15-0.

On its first pos­ses­sion of the fourth quar­ter, West­lake needed only four plays to go 52 yards as Spencer con­nected with Kevin Hugh­ley on a 27-yard strike and an­other Lloyd ex­tra point lifted the Wolver­ines to a 22-0 lead with 7 min­utes 26 sec­onds re­main­ing. A 48-yard kick­off re­turn by Stephen Cobb gave La Plata the ball in West­lake ter­ri­tory, but four straight Brown in­com­ple­tions ended the drive there.

West­lake re­sponded by go­ing 61 yards in just six plays. Se­nior An­dre Jack­son had the game’s long­est play when he raced off right tackle for 55 yards, and three plays later, Maxwell con­nected with Dagod Lawrence for a 13-yard touch­down toss in the right front cor­ner of the end zone and Lloyd’s third ex­tra point capped the scor­ing.

West­lake con­trolled much of the game on the ground as it rushed for 215 yards on 37 at­tempts, with Mar­shall rush­ing 13 times for 77 yards. The Wolver­ines also amassed 18 first downs, while the de­fense lim­ited La Plata to four first downs for the night and only one in the sec­ond half and that oc­curred with two min­utes re­main­ing and one play be­fore Brown threw his third in­ter­cep­tion of the night.

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

West­lake High School se­nior run­ning back An­dre Jack­son goes in mo­tion as se­nior quar­ter­back Jalon Spencer awaits the shot­gun snap on Fri­day night. Spencer threw two touch­down passes and the Wolver­ines blanked the Warriors, 29-0, to get back to .500 on the sea­son

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