Westlake 18, Lackey 6
It sure seemed like Aaris Reed and Pha'Terrell Washington were multiplying as Westlake was pulling away from Lackey in its 18-6 victory in Indian Head on Friday night.
As the hot, humid air wilted nearly everyone on the field, Westlake's offensive backfield looked remarkably fresh. That's because the Wolverines consistently rotated in several backs who themselves were fresh, and Westlake's two standout ballcarriers stayed rejuvenated.
"When it came down to it, we've got so many guys who can run," said Reed, who led the Wolverines with 89 yards on 19 carries. "I was cramping up since the second quarter, but I wasn't worried."
Junior Sean Allen had six carries for 86 yards, including a 24-yarder in the first quarter to set up Westlake's first score -- a one-yard sneak by quarterback Mike Pegues. Junior Albert Hanks had three carries for 26 yards, and senior Derrick Dias rushed four times for 25 yards.
Throw in senior Darius Harris's 18-yard catch, junior Carl Bowman's 33-yard reception and a 19-yard catch from Ronnell Sanders, and Westlake had nine players who touched the ball on offense in their biggest regular season game of the year.
"The platoon helped us," Westlake Coach Dominic Zaccarelli said. "We were able to use a lot of guys and spell kids when we could."
The rotation also worked psychologically against a tired opponent, which Lackey was Friday. Not only do the Chargers have less depth, they also had several players play on both sides of the ball. As they sucked wind in the second half, they were further deflated seeing fresh bodies entering the lineup and carrying the ball.
"When the defense gets worn down and they bring in guys who are 100 percent fresh, it's tough playing against that." said Lackey senior defensive back Dante Page, who scored the Chargers' only touchdown -- a 56-yard punt return in the first quarter that tied the game at 6.
The rotation can help throughout the season. As the Wolverines found out last year in the Maryland 3A South semifinals, injuries to Reed and Washington did not spell doom. They just turned to other backs such as Allen and Dias to get them a 35-20 victory over Severna Park.
"Coach Zaccarelli wants us to have a good rotation," Allen said. "He told us how important it is for us."
The depth can also help in the cold or rainy weather late in the season as easily as it does in the hot early-season conditions.
"It's a major key against anyone who we play," Reed said. "We pound it on you the entire game."
Said Pegues: "We're going to be fresh all the time. When the fourth quarter comes and the other team is fading, we've got other backs who can step in there. We're not going to have to use Aaris and Pha'Terrell all the time."