High School Football: North Point 7, Westlake 0

By Katie Carrera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 18, 2009

On the opening drive Friday night, Westlake pounded the ball straight at its neighboring rivals from North Point. Play after play, Antwoine Reese or Davon Taylor ground up yards against the Eagles' vaunted defense, which had allowed no more than seven points in any game this season.

An opening drive lasting 13 plays and nearly eight minutes brought the Wolverines into the red zone, where they would try -- and fail -- to convert on fourth down from the 12-yard line. Westlake started driving again at the end of the first quarter, this time running nine plays using more than five minutes. The Wolverines controlled the clock, field position and had five first downs to North Point's zero.

But when Westlake went for it on fourth and one from the 9-yard line, the Eagles stood strong. North Point tacklers knocked Wolverines quarterback Chris Istvan backward for a loss of a yard and established a tone for an eventual 7-0 win, remaining undefeated this season and extending their shutout streak to 12 straight quarters.

"Those were absolutely huge," senior defensive back Cassius Sendish said. "They got a bit going early, but I knew we could stop anyone on the goal line. It was just a matter of us coming together, and we did. We really picked it up tonight."

According to Coach Dominic Zaccarelli, the Eagles (7-0, 5-0 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) are the first team to shut out the Wolverines (5-2, 3-2 SMAC). That is just the latest in what has become a laundry list of accomplishments for the Eagles' stingy defense this season.

In seven games, they have allowed 27 points. North Point has shut out its past three opponents -- Westlake, Calvert and LaPlata, giving up 291 yards of total offense during that span. No opponent had recorded more than 200 offensive yards against the Eagles this season.

"There's something about North Point," said junior standout Connor Crowell, who plays linebacker and fullback. "We just love defense. No matter how good or bad our offense does, our defense is what we depend on. Being strong defensively is what we always look to do."

In the second half, Crowell and fellow junior linebacker Anthony Zoscak were key in attacking the Wolverines' offensive line and forcing miscues on blocks. They helped hold Westlake to two first downs and 29 yards in the half. All it took were those two key stops to get the defensive machine moving.

"This is a big rivalry right here, and the defense showed up and played for it," Zoscak said. "They were coming right at us, but we did the goal-line stop at Lackey. I just hoped we could do it again. Westlake, they got into the red zone, but we just stopped them because we play as one team on defense."

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