Each week, Lackey Coach John Lush picks a theme for his team, a point of emphasis on which the Chargers focus each week in practice. This week's theme was “finish,” so Lush couldn’t help but laugh after his team’s 14-12 win Friday over Thomas Stone.
When the Cougars went for two on each of their touchdowns, the Chargers (8-2, 7-2 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) stopped them both times. When Thomas Stone (6-4, 4-4) threatened with two fourth-quarter drives, the Chargers ended them both with sacks.
“You know,” Lush said. “I couldn’t have drawn it up much better than that.”
The win clinched the No. 2 seed in the Maryland 3A South playoffs and a first-round home game for the Chargers, who earned their first postseason berth since 2009.
Lackey’s defense provided a solid finish, but the game didn’t start too badly for the Chargers, either. On their first play from scrimmage, running back Eriq Fadahunsi took a handoff 47 yards for a touchdown.
But Thomas Stone played solid defense in its own right, forcing five Lackey punts from senior Trayson Thomas, who pinned the Cougars inside the 10-yard line twice.
Following one of those punts, the Cougars were forced to start near their own goal linefor the final drive. The Chargers’ linebackers had repeatedly broke through to force quarterback Keiron Morsell from the pocket all evening, but on this drive, Morsell found time to convert four consecutive passes.
Then linebacker Lacey McMillan-Kenney sacked Morsell to end the drive — and the best regular season anyone on the Lackey roster had ever experienced.
“We have a tendency to not finish games, not play to our full effort“ said McMillan-Kenney, who scored the Chargers’ other touchdown on a seven-yard run in the third quarter. “We just wanted to finish the game.”
The Chargers failed to finish against No. 13 Patuxent two weeks ago, collapsing in the fourth quarter in a 28-20 loss to the undefeated SMAC leaders. In the postgame huddle, Lush praised his team for learning the lesson the tough-to-swallow defeat had to teach.
“We were clutch in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t like Patuxent where we crashed in the fourth quarter," said Lackey linebacker Delondo Boyd, who came up with a key sack to end the Cougars’ penultimate drive. “Everybody stayed focused.”