T.C. Williams linebacker Willie Sydnor is known for making big hits and yesterday he made two that proved crucial as the fifth-ranked Titans beat fourth-ranked West Potomac, 7-0, in a Virginia AAA nonleague contest played at T.C. Williams.
The loss was the second straight for the defending Division 6 state champion Wolverines, who fell by 7-0 to Gar-Field a week ago. The Titans, who were playing their season opener, avenged a 7-0 defeat to West Potomac in last season's opener.
Sydnor, a three-year starter on defense, was a decisive factor in two key plays. Late in the first quarter, the 5-foot-9, 165-pound linebacker-tight end caused a fumble to set up the game's only score. Then, with 2:30 left in the game, Sydnor dropped tailback Barry Overby for a six-yard loss on fourth and two after the Wolverines had driven 65 yards in 13 plays to the T.C. Williams 3-yard line.
"West Potomac had been running to the left side and I thought they'd go to their bread-and-butter play," Sydnor said. "I was supposed to play the line, but I blitzed."
T.C. Williams Coach Glenn Furman anticipated a play designed to go outside after the Wolverines had utilized fullback Lamont Gooding for much of the drive. "We didn't think they'd go to their fullback," Furman said. "Willie did a nice job making the play. He had containment and forced the play outside at the same time."
T.C. Williams' lone touchdown followed a booming spiral by punter Scott Bailey from midfield. Sydnor had a clear shot at Shawn Freeman, who fumbled upon impact, and Steve Smeltzer recovered at the 11.
"I don't think he was concentrating," Sydnor said. "When I made the hit he lost the ball."
Two plays later, quarterback Ezra Whorley brushed aside a tackler in the backfield, turned the corner and dove across the right endline for the 10-yard touchdown. Robert Williams kicked the extra point with 1:44 left in the first quarter.
"We were never in bad field position, but we never could find the seam to break the big play," Furman said. "They're a good defensive football team, but our defense got the shutout."
The Wolverines outrushed T.C. Williams, 113-69, and had twice as many first downs, 10-5. But after the game, West Potomac Coach Dan Meier, huddling with his assistants, was still trying to decipher Sydnor's penetration on the fourth-down play that stopped Overby.
"I could second-guess myself forever," Meier said. "But the sweep is our base play and we have to be able to execute it when the money's on the table. Now it's a character-check time for us."