Morgan Green can't believe what he's hearing from his friends around Charles County. Lackey's senior running back said they keep expecting him to relax this season, now that he has accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Maryland.
To Green, it almost seems his unofficial commitment was more of a bother than a reward. That's how excited he is about this season.
It certainly could be a big year for Green. Last year, the All-Met rushed for 2,630 yards, the second-highest single-season total in Maryland history. He helped lead Lackey, which had not won a playoff game in 17 years, to the state 3A final, where the Chargers lost to Linganore, 28-0.
Green said he was humbled in that loss, rushing for 80 yards on 30 carries. It was the only time he failed to reach triple-digits in yards last year and the second time he did not reach the end zone.
Now, Green has two clear goals -- run behind his two most experienced linemen, senior guard Jeremy Hairston and junior tackle J.B. Walton, toward Sherron Gudger's single-season state rushing record of 2,741 yards, and bring Lackey a victory in the state final.
"That's my motivation right there," said the 6-foot, 210-pound Green, who also needs 2,021 yards to break Marcus Mason's Maryland state career rushing record of 5,790 set in 2002 at Georgetown Prep. "Seniors that are committed [to college], sometimes they take it easy. Not me. I've got to go after that record and win the state championship."
Last year, Lackey may have been a year ahead of itself. Green and Hairston were part of the core of the team -- 15 juniors -- who had never played in the postseason. After losing to Linganore, those players talked less about the game and more about how reasonable it seemed for them to be back there this season.
No team from Charles County has won a state title since 1990, when Gudger led McDonough to the 3A championship in his record-setting season.
"Everybody says you're going to be good," Hairston said, "but hype hurts you because it puts false beliefs in your head. The thing is, we can realistically reach all of our goals."
-- Alan Goldenbach