Lackey 13, Westlake 7
In its biggest game yet, Lackey might have finally shaken its label of being a one-dimensional team.
With All-Met running back Morgan Green on the sideline with another hamstring injury after three first-quarter carries against rival Westlake, the Chargers played some of their most inspired defense and mixed in enough big offensive plays to pull out a 13-7 victory before approximately 5,000 in Waldorf. The win gave Lackey its second consecutive Southern Maryland Athletic Conference title and the top seed in the Maryland 3A South Region.
"We've shown Morgan's not our whole team," senior linebacker-fullback Bryan Gibbons said. "We've shown we could pass. We've shown we have a second team. We've shown we have a defense that can stop anyone."
Lackey, last year's 3A runner-up, completed its first undefeated regular season since 1986, when it won the Class B title. Lackey has won 13 consecutive home games, dating from the 2002 season finale against Calvert Hall.
"The biggest thing now," senior lineman Jeremy Hairston said, "is all teams have got to come through Lackey if they want to get to" the 3A title game.
Lackey earned the 3A South's top seed and Westlake will be No. 2, so both teams will host games next week. McDonough and Severna Park will be the third- and fourth-seeded teams, but it was unclear last night which team would get the higher seeding. Both the Chargers and Wolverines were missing the legs of their offenses. Westlake's backfield tandem of Aaris Reed and Pha'Terrell Washington did not play in the second half after suffering ankle injuries. Westlake Coach Dominic Zaccarelli said both should be ready for the playoffs.
When Chargers Coach Scott Chadwick went to shake Zaccarelli's hand after the game, he told him, "It was like the survival of the unfit. We were basically missing our entire offenses. It was a strange game."
With the game tied 7-7 at halftime, the teams combined for seven second-half turnovers (four Westlake, three Lackey), but struggled against each other's menacing defensive front. Lackey had six sacks, and held Westlake to 48 second-half yards.
Without Green (week-to-week, according to Chadwick), the Chargers managed a season-low 59 rushing yards. After Gibbons stripped the ball from Westlake's Joe Neal and recovered at the Lackey 39 with just over a minute to go in the third quarter, the Chargers put together their best drive of the game.
On the eight-play drive, Green's backup, 155-pound senior Avery Lancaster, rushed for 42 yards on seven carries, including a four-yard scoring run that made it, 13-7 with 10 minutes 1 second to play.
Sandwiched between those carries was a crucial 21-yard pass from junior Aaron Smith to senior Devonte Williams on a third and nine from the Lackey 40.
Westlake's last chance came when senior Mike Lassiter recovered a fumbled Lackey snap at the Wolverines 18.
Four plays later, after a Westlake first down, Lackey senior Andy Beckett, who played the second half with what was initially diagnosed as a broken right hand, sacked Westlake quarterback Buck Smith and forced a fumble. Hairston recovered and took it to the Lackey 1, where the Chargers downed it to end the game.