Westlake blanks La Plata
Wolverines limit Warriors to four first downs
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.
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