Lackey 21, Westlake 7

At halftime of Lackey's Maryland 3A South final against Westlake, the Chargers paced their locker room using every cliche they could think of to pump up one another. They were outplayed by the Wolverines, which they had defeated three times in the past 12 months.

Then, it hit the entire team.

"We were winning," Lackey Coach Scott Chadwick said.

No. 5 Lackey knew it had no business holding a touchdown lead at that point, and after "hanging on for dear life" in the second half, according to Chadwick, the Chargers earned a 21-7 victory and their second straight region title before approximately 5,000 at Lackey.

The Chargers (12-0) won their 15th consecutive home game and matched the school record for victories set last year when they lost in the 3A title game, and in 1986 when they won the Class B title, the program's lone state championship. Lackey will host a semifinal next weekend, either against Bel Air, which defeated Randallstown last night, or Douglass, if it defeats Gwynn Park today.

Lackey overcame a first-half stat sheet that appeared to be a joke. The Chargers fumbled on two of their first three plays from scrimmage, ran just 15 plays from scrimmage, to Westlake's 45 before halftime, and sacrificed a 14-minute time of possession edge to the Wolverines in the first half.

But those numbers obscured the two biggest plays of the half.

With just over seven minutes to go in the half and Lackey having second and 10 at its 39, the Chargers exposed a hole in Westlake's defense. Junior fullback Bryan Gibbons lined up in the left slot completely uncovered. Quarterback Aaron Smith took a three-step drop and hit Gibbons, who went untouched for the tying touchdown.

After Westlake's next drive stalled on downs at the Lackey 32, the Chargers attacked Westlake again on second and 10. Facing a furious blitz, Smith uncorked a wild pass deep down the right sideline that Smith said he "didn't see go off."

Somehow, senior Devonte Williams was all alone waiting near the Westlake 30. After waiting for it to come down, he ran the rest of the way to make it 14-7, where it stayed entering intermission.

"I knew if I dropped it," Williams said, "I would never hear the end of it."

All-Met running back Morgan Green, who had missed almost all of the past four games with a hamstring injury, played about half the game for Lackey, but was used most effectively as a decoy to set up the play-action.

Note: The game ended with 26 seconds on the clock after Westlake senior linebacker Mike Lassiter collapsed on the sideline following a play. Although he had full consciousness, paramedics were worried about a potential heart problem, and he was taken via ambulance to Civista Medical Center in La Plata, where he was held overnight for observation.