West­lake sur­vives ver­sus Thomas Stone in 301 Clas­sic

Wolver­ines come back to knock off Cougars in 301 Clas­sic

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

There was no need to waste any time try­ing to im­press upon West­lake’s Luquay Wash­ing­ton how sig­nif­i­cant his team’s foot­ball game against the vis­it­ing Thomas Stone Cougars was on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

“Last year this team broke our hearts in the play­offs,” said Wash­ing­ton, ref­er­enc­ing the Cougars’ 24-21 over­time win over the Wolver­ines in the first round of last year’s Class 2A South Re­gion play­offs. “They won by a field goal and knocked us out of the play­offs.”

In what es­sen­tially amounted to an­other play­off game on Satur­day, West­lake came from be­hind to beat its cross-town ri­val 21-19 in the an­nual 301 Clas­sic ri­valry. Nigel Har­ri­son’s 20yard touch­down run with 2 min­utes 41 sec­onds re­main­ing in the game pulled the Wolver­ines even, while Wash­ing­ton fol­lowed with what proved to be a game-win­ning 2-point con­ver­sion in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Chesa­peake Di­vi­sion con­test.

“Play­ing Stone is al­ways go­ing to be an up and down game,” West­lake head coach Tony Zac­carelli said. “They’re go­ing to bring their ‘A’ game. They’re coached very well. They play hard and be­lieve in the sys­tem. To­day, our guys just found a way to fight through.”

Wash­ing­ton’s clinch­ing 2-point run pro­vided West­lake (7-2, 5-0 SMAC Chesa­peake) with its only lead of the game, as Stone (4-5, 2-3) had jumped in front in the first quar­ter on Jaylen Kel­ley’s 81-yard touch­down re­cep­tion from Cole Lu­cia.

Mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod, West­lake pulled even on Har­ri­son’s 40-yard touch­down run. With Ryan Lloyd’s suc­cess­ful point-af­ter the score stood tied at 7.

“I read my blocks well and just scored,” said Wash­ing­ton, who car­ried the ball twice for 60 yards and scored on both runs. “I had some good blocks on my wing from An­dre Jack­son, and that was it.”

Mo­ments later, Stone con­nected on

an­other long pass, this time with Kire Hines on the re­ceiv­ing end of an 80yard touch­down pass from Ron­nie Carter. The touch­down put the Cougars in front 13-7, which stood as the half­time score.

West­lake tied the score quickly once the third quar­ter com­menced, with Wash­ing­ton car­ry­ing the ball into the end zone on a 36-yard run for the score while the missed ex­tra point pre­vented the Wolver­ines from edg­ing ahead.

The tie re­mained un­til mid­way through the fourth quar­ter, when Stone cap­i­tal­ized af­ter tak­ing pos­ses­sion at the West­lake 36-yard line. Ben­e­fit­ting from a West­lake pass in­ter­fer­ence penalty, the Cougars even­tu­ally surged back in front on Trent Gask­ins’ 18-yard dash to the end zone, though the sub­se­quent ex­tra point try was no good, leav­ing Stone’s lead at 19-13 with 6:14 left to play.

West­lake’s en­su­ing pos­ses­sion ended with the Wolver­ines turn­ing the ball over on downs on their own 40 with 5:03 still on the clock, but Stone was un­able to take ad­van­tage.

Fac­ing fourth-and-6 from the West­lake 36, the Cougars elected to run an of­fen­sive play rather than try to punt on the soggy field, and the Wolver­ines came up with a sack for a 14-yard loss that set their of­fense up with an­other chance start­ing at mid­field. Two plays later, Har­ri­son was cel­e­brat­ing in the end zone and the hosts ul­ti­mately went ahead on Wash­ing­ton’s con­ver­sion.

“We re­ally locked in de­fen­sively,” Wash­ing­ton said. “We couldn’t give up. We couldn’t let any­thing get out­side of us. We played through our keys, played dis­ci­plined foot­ball and made plays when we had to.”

Stone still had life, get­ting the ball back with 2:41 re­main­ing. The Cougars drove across mid­field, but an in­ter­cep­tion by West­lake’s Devin Wil­liams with just 41 ticks re­main­ing sealed the Wolver­ines’ vic­tory.

It was an ob­vi­ously dif­fi­cult loss for Stone, which will look fin­ish its sea­son at the .500 mark when it hosts Patux­ent at 7 p.m. Fri­day. The Pan­thers (27, 2-3) lost to Lackey in Week 9, 20-14.

“They were able to con­vert on PATs and 2-point con­ver­sions af­ter touch­downs and we didn’t do a good job of it,” Stone head coach Danny Rip­ple said. “That was the dif­fer­ence between two teams that re­ally played hard all af­ter­noon . ... No­body thought we had a chance to­day and we gave a great team a heck of a game. There’s no rea­son to be­lieve the kids won’t come out and work hard on Mon­day. We’re look­ing for­ward to get­ting back to work. It’ll sting tonight, but we’ll wake up to­mor­row and get go­ing.”

While West­lake head a siz­able ad­van­tage in to­tal yardage, rolling up close to 400 yards to of­fense, the Wolver­ines strug­gled to fin­ish drives and also were pe­nal­ized for in ex­cess of 100 yards. Ul­ti­mately, West­lake re­mained in po­si­tion for a berth in the crowded 2A South play­off field.

The Wolver­ines play their reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale at Calvert (6-3, 5-0) at 7 p.m. Fri­day in what amounts to an elim­i­na­tion game, with the win­ner earn­ing a spot and the loser reach­ing the sea­son’s end. The win­ner also clinches the SMAC Chesa­peake Di­vi­sion ti­tle. The Cava­liers lost their Week 9 matchup 43-0 to North Point.

“We just have to re­ally lock in and play phys­i­cal foot­ball,” Wash­ing­ton said. “Calvert is not a small team. They’re go­ing to come and play phys­i­cal. Af­ter what hap­pened to them against North Point they’ll re­ally want to get this win back. We have to lock in and play fast, phys­i­cal foot­ball.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

West­lake’s Luquay Wash­ing­ton, right, and his team­mates cel­e­brate af­ter Wash­ing­ton’s third-quar­ter touch­down run in the team’s game against the vis­it­ing Thomas Stone Cougars on Satur­day af­ter­noon. The Wolver­ines de­feated Stone 21-19.

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