Eagles Win at Westlake for a Share of the SMAC Title

Eagles Win at Westlake for a Share of the SMAC Title

Murugi Thande

Benjamin McKnight III, Sports Editor

On October 15, 2010, the Westlake High School Wolverines came to Eagle Stadium to play North Point in one of the most anticipated SMAC Football games that year. As always, the game between these two schools was a hard fought, physical battle for both teams, and a thriller for both the players and the fans. That game left the Eagles heartbroken, though, when they failed a two point conversion in the closing minutes of the game, giving them their first loss to Westlake since 2007.

This year, the anticipation going into the matchup was still high. However, this year, there was more on the table than bragging rights for the year. For North Point, a win would give them at least a share for the SMAC Title. For Westlake, they would need a win, as well as a loss by Huntingtown High School, for the same reward. Coming off of a 44-0 blowout against La Plata on Homecoming Night, the Eagles were getting back into their flow on offense and retaining their reputation for having a stout defense. The matchup against Westlake presented a different challenge, as the Wolverines are substantially better than the Warriors and averaged 205 rushing yards per game going into the night. “All week, we heard what happened last year,” stated defensive tackle Jalen Adams (’12). “We knew we had to step up and play our game [defensively].” And that they did. Limiting the Wolverines to 134 rushing yards, 71 below their season average, the Eagles put on a show for their fans with a 27-15 victory.

Early on, North Point immediately took control of the game. The first drive for the Eagles stalled, but they were able to get the ball back right away when a Westlake player muffed a punt return. After a missed 40 yard field goal by Bryce Fugitt (’12), North Point’s defense went on the field and began to shut down the highly touted Wolverine rushing attack. By the quarter’s end, the game was deadlocked at 0-0.

In the second quarter, the Eagles shook off the rust and got to work. After getting the ball back from Westlake, they began to methodically move the ball down the field with the help of their own running game, as well as multiple penalties by the Wolverines. Eventually, running back D.J. Briscoe (’12) ran the ball into the endzone from five yards out for North Point’s first points of the game. After Fugitt’s extra point, the Eagles were up 7-0.

Westlake then began to heat up on offense as well. Much to their dismay, their biggest play of the drive was taken back by yet another Wolverine penalty. On the ensuing play, defensive tackle Ke’Juan Perez recovered a Westlake fumble to bring the North Point offense back on to the field. The Eagles wasted no time moving the chains. The drive ended with Fugitt making a 33 yard field goal, and adding to the Eagles lead. By halftime, North Point was up 10-0.

After the halftime break, Westlake received the ball and, once again, were threatening to put together a scoring drive. However, the North Point defense came through again, stopping the Wolverines before they could get into the end zone. But the Eagles offense sputtered, going three and out, and the Wolverines had the ball again. Westlake soon scored their first points of the game, decreasing the score margin to 10-7. On the following possession, the Eagles needed to score to take away from the momentum that Westlake had gained. Blake Monroe (’12) did just that for North Point, providing big plays on the drive. Following a 48 yard run by Monroe, the Eagles were faced with a fourth-and-one on the Westlake 12 yard line. With a great push by the offensive line, quarterback Connor Young (’12) was able to get the first down. Shortly after, Monroe came through for North Point again, running the ball in from 11 yards out for a touchdown, and putting North Point up 17-7.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles continued to best the Wolverines. After Fugitt put the Eagles up 20-7 with a 28 yard field goal, linebacker Curtis Gibson (’12) intercepted a Westlake pass to put North Point back on offense. The very next play, Young completed his only pass in the game for 50 yards to Charles Reid (’12), giving the Eagles a 20 point lead. As the game winded down, Westlake finally put themselves back on the board with a kick return touchdown and two point conversion. That would be the last time that Westlake scored, and North Point was able to run the clock en-route to victory.

After the win, the Eagles solidified their spot as the #3 Seed in the Maryland 4A East Playoffs. Their next game will be against Arundel High School. Last year, the Eagles fell apart in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats won the game 28-17. This year, with a better defense, the Eagles hope to shut down the high powered offense of Arundel. “Our defense always comes to play, and we don’t lay down for anyone,” Adams said.