Gwynn Park's Adrian Moten was assessing his team's defense after another smothering playoff performance and tried to identify its most prominent strength.
"It's hard to say," the senior linebacker and Maryland recruit said. "We've got speed. We've got power. At Gwynn Park, we've got everything right now."
The fourth-ranked Yellow Jackets also have the Maryland 3A South Region title following a 26-6 victory over two-time 3A runner-up Lackey before approximately 3,000 in Brandywine. Gwynn Park, which is playing in the postseason for the sixth straight season, is in the state semifinals for the first time since 2000 and will host River Hill on Saturday.
Gwynn Park (12-0) held Lackey, which had averaged 37 points over a seven-game winning streak, to 96 yards of total offense and sacked Chargers quarterback Aaron Smith eight times. Twenty-five of Lackey's plays from scrimmage went for zero or negative yardage. Lackey gained more yardage (128 yards) from Gwynn Park's 19 penalties.
"They attack more than any team I've seen," Smith said. "They were just quick. It knocked my whole focus off."
With both teams trading punts on the game's first five possessions, Gwynn Park broke through on the sixth punt. Yellow Jackets senior William Little blocked the punt, which senior Ben Bennett recovered at the Lackey 2-yard line and rolled into the end zone to make it 6-0.
On the second play of the next possession, Lackey (9-3) fumbled a snap, which Phillip Higgins recovered at the Chargers 33. Three plays later, William Johnson's 12-yard run made it 12-0.
"We just want to make them feel uncomfortable," said Little, who had seven tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and also rushed for two touchdowns. "A good quarterback needs at least three seconds, and he wasn't getting that at all."
Little's first score, a one-yard run six minutes before halftime, made it 19-0. That was plenty for the Yellow Jackets' defense.
"They're just extremely strong and physical," said Lackey Coach Scott Chadwick, who likened the Yellow Jackets' defense to Linganore's in 2003 that beat Lackey in the 3A title game. "But [Gwynn Park is] a lot more athletic. They just put so much pressure on you.
"We couldn't establish a running game, and when we couldn't they just teed off on Aaron."
Gwynn Park committed two third-quarter turnovers, including one that gave Lackey first and goal at the Yellow Jackets 5. Both times Gwynn Park's defense came up big, forcing Lackey to turn it over on downs and punt the other time.