Westlake survives versus Thomas Stone in 301 Classic
Wolverines come back to knock off Cougars in 301 Classic
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.”
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.