Twelve seconds after LaPlata had taken an 8-6 third-quarter lead, sophomore Andrew Woodland returned the kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown that helped Chopticon to an 18-8 victory in a Southern Maryland Atheletic Conference game today at La Plata.
"It was definitely our game after we scored," said La Plata head coach Joe Williams. "We had the momentum. But then that kickoff return broke our back. We seemed to let down after that."
Both Chopticon and La Plata are 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference. Lackey, 4-0 in conference play, has only to win one of its two remaining games to dethrone La Plata.
Lackey goes against Thomas Stone (4-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference) Saturday and plays La Plata next weekend. La Plata has won the conference title four of the last five years.
"That was the big play of the game," said Chopticon coach Steve Oczak, referring to Woodland's touchdown scamper. "But if we hadn't scored then, we would have scored later. I was sure we were going to win. Our kids were ready to play.
"We're going to be around for a while," said coach, who noted that the Braves are a squad predominantly made up of underclassmen.
"Woodland broke it and that turned it around," said Chopticon teammate Dennis Fenwick, who completed the Braves' scoring with a 60-yard romp in the final period. "He kept the team going."
"I was feeling touchdown," said Woodland. Nothing but end zone. The blocks formed the wedge and it opened up and I went for the (left) sidelines. It was wide open."
A run-oriented team, La Plata was stymied by a wet turf and mistakes. The Warriors lost three fumbles and were intercepted three times. Chopticon, which was led defensively by Clint Gohl, Gary Bosse, Chuck Davis and Neal Wrabley, lost two fumbles of its own.
La Plata lost the ball on its first two possessions on fumbles by Larry Winters. The second fumble was recovered by John Owens and his 20-yard return gave the Braves a first-and-goal situation at the La Plata seven. Two plays later, Davis scored from the four to give the Braves a 6-0 lead with 5:20 left in the first period.
Winters, who plays defensive safety in addition to running back, handled most of the offensive plays for La Plata in the opening half. But he bruised his thigh and played on defense only in the second period.
La Plata took its first possession and went 60 yards to score. Brian Souder capped the drive with a 12-yard scamper then quarterback Chris Kennedy hit Mike Gregor for two points and an 8-6 advantage with 1:36 left to play in the third quarter.