As the victories keep piling up, Southern-Anne Arundel continues to shy away from premature talk of an undefeated season, a playoff berth, and especially, a Class 2A state championship.
But after last night's 19-7 victory over Lackey in Harwood, the 12th-ranked Bulldogs are forcing the issue.
Senior Wayne Small caught six passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns, as Southern rallied from its first deficit of the year to go 4-0 for the first time in Buck Gardner's 20 years as coach.
Small also intercepted a pass, returned two kickoffs for 50 yards and saved at least two touchdowns with clutch tackles. "His name may be Small, but he has a big heart," Gardner said. "Not only can he catch the ball, he knows what to do with it."
Southern hadn't allowed a point in more than 14 quarters, until Lackey's Tony Gray scored from 7 yards out four minutes into the second half. Bill Buckingham's conversion kick made it 7-0.
Southern came right back, going 76 yards in five plays. Corey Contee (109 yards) ran for 28 yards, and a personal foul on Lackey put the ball on the visitors' 33. Two carries didn't net a yard, but on third down, Small reached out to catch a pass over the middle and sprinted into the end zone. Contee's conversion kick was blocked, leaving Southern behind, 7-6, with 5:40 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs took the lead on their next possession, however. Small caught three passes for 63 yards on the drive, including a 9-yarder that senior Joe McCafferty threaded between a couple of defenders for the go-ahead score with 11:16 left in the game.
Small struck again with one minute left. McCafferty crossed up the Chargers on third-and-six from the 14 by faking the handoff, looking to his right and hitting Small in the end zone.
Falling behind "kind of made us want to win more," said Small (5-foot-6), who tied a school record for touchdown receptions in a game. "We knew it was going to happen sooner or later."
The Chargers had the ball in Southern territory twice the first half and out-gained the hosts, 135-59, but they couldn't score.
"I was stunting a little too much in the first half," said defensive coordinator Jeff Cranford. "In the second half I played more of a read-type defense. Our linemen just hit and read and we were able to keep people off our linebackers, so they could come up and start making some plays.
"I don't think I've ever been prouder of a team as I am tonight."