Lackey Defeats Westlake in Crucial SMAC Football Matchup
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Lackey could have made this season easier, a fact most of the Chargers recognize. Yet they also realize that they thrive when trapped in a corner -- which is exactly where Lackey was heading into last night's game against Charles Country rival Westlake.
The Chargers had to win both of their remaining two games if they hoped to reach the Maryland 3A playoffs, and the first of those came against at Westlake, which entered 7-1.
Just when it appeared safe to count Lackey out, the athletes that make the Chargers such a compelling team on paper stepped up in a convincing 23-7 win.
"We knew if we didn't win we were done," said Chargers defensive back and wide receiver Darrell Givens, who has committed to Penn State. "For some reason when our backs are against the wall it really brings out the best in us."
Despite being preseason favorites to win the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, Lackey (6-3, 5-2) faltered early this season. The Chargers weren't winning in the convincing fashion most expected, then fell to Urbana, Chopticon and SMAC-leading North Point. It looked similar to the Chargers' 2007 season when, as one of the early favorites, they lost their first two games before finding a rhythm.
But against the Wolverines (7-2, 5-2), Lackey played with desperation and intensity. As the teams grappled through a scoreless first 17 minutes, the Chargers' defense forced two Westlake fumbles to end drives and recorded two sacks.
Lackey's mobile quarterback, Malcolm Willis, had started the game, but the Wolverines' defense crowded the box and keyed on stopping the run. When Coach Doug Lamb put Amir Smith, a more traditional passer, under center the results were immediate.
Smith completed his first two attempts -- first a 20-yard pass to Givens and then a 44-yard touchdown to Jerrell Jordan to break the stalemate.
"Amir's got a strong arm and he's not afraid to sling it," Lamb said. "Amir had some tendinitis in his shoulder, during the week he didn't throw a whole heck of a lot and Malcolm got the bulk of the snaps. We knew we were going to play Amir it was just a matter of when."
Smith finished 6 of 11 for 174 yards, including three completions on the Chargers' second touchdown drive that put them up 14-0 with 2 minutes 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter and help ensure that Lackey would win its first "playoff" of the season.
"This really is the biggest game all year," Smith said. "We had no choice, it might as well have been a playoff game. We had to come out and play as hard as we could -- all of us. And we did."
Lackey 23, Westlake 7
Held In Check: Westlake running back Devon Smith finished with 20 carries for 90 yards. It was only the third time all season Smith had been held to less than 100 yards.
Full Steam Ahead: Wolverines fullback Evan Harris had 10 carries for 126 yards in the first half but as Westlake tried to come from behind he became less of a factor and had only three rushes for minus-2 yards in the second.