Lackey 45, Chopticon 6
On most nights, Lackey junior quarterback Aaron Smith understands what he needs to do to keep the Chargers' offense moving: turn and hand the ball to All-Met tailback Morgan Green. But on Friday night at Chopticon, with Green forced to the bench with a sore hamstring in the second quarter, the game plan changed.
With the offense in his hands, Smith took charge of the game, completing 13 of 23 passes for 180 yards and four touchdowns in the Chargers' 45-6 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference victory over the Braves (0-2, 0-2 SMAC).
"Tonight we had to take a different route [offensively]," Lackey Coach Scott Chadwick said. "We needed [Smith] to move the offense, so today I think his focus was a little bit different."
From the opening kickoff, eighth-ranked Lackey (2-0, 2-0) asserted its dominance as Smith, a first-year starter, moved the team effortlessly down the field. Green rushed three times for 25 yards before Smith found wide receiver Devonte Williams streaking down the right sideline for a 26-yard touchdown pass. After a blocked extra point, the Chargers had an early 6-0 lead.
Two possessions later, tight end Andy Beckett scored on a 39-yard reception from Smith off a play-action pass.
"When they give me the opportunity, I know I have to come through to make the whole offense successful," Smith said. "As long as I step up and do my part, I know Morgan is going to step up and do his."
Before leaving the game, Green found the end zone when he took a handoff and ran through the middle of the Chopticon defense for a six-yard score that put Lackey up, 20-0, by the end of the first quarter. In his limited work, Green carried the ball 16 times for 83 yards.
Chopticon's lone bright spot was the return of wide receiver Matu Threatt, who sat out the Braves' loss to La Plata last week. Threatt was used as a receiver, running back and quarterback and completed a four-yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Somerville for Chopticon's lone touchdown late in the second quarter.
Green's injury allowed Chadwick to get a look at all of his offensive weapons. Avery Lancaster played well after taking over at tailback, rushing for 92 yards on 11 carries. Smith's 13 completions went to eight receivers.
The performances of Lancaster and Smith are vital to the team as its star running back nurses his injury. Through two games, Smith has five touchdown passes, compared with nine all of last year, and he has thrown for 340 yards, more than half of the 542 amassed by the Chargers last year.
"Slowly but surely my confidence is building," Smith said. "We are a very confident team. We just have to come through every week."
Chadwick believes Green's injury will benefit the team in the long term.
"It will make us better in the long run knowing that we have other ways to move the football than Morgan, but don't get me wrong, we need Morgan healthy," Chadwick said. "Without Morgan it takes a lot away from what we do offensively. We're not a one-man team. People think we're a one-man team, but we're really not; we have other weapons."