Could a lost fight yield title might? Football: Lake Clifton set a state scoring record last fall, but then came unglued and was embarrassed. The players remember and are seeking another championship shot.

October 10, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

It was a bittersweet ending.

First, Lake Clifton set a state record last fall with 52 first-half points in a Class 4A state quarterfinal, a 58-30 rout of North County.

But the Lakers' ensuing semifinal game, a 28-8 loss to Prince George's County's Eleanor Roosevelt, was marred by ugliness. Although the Lakers led 8-3 at halftime, they lost their composure, and with two minutes left, officials called off the fight-interrupted contest -- an all-time playoff low.

Lakers coach James Monroe said his players don't want their program defined by that incident.

"I said nothing about it in the first practice, but the kids brought it up," said Monroe, whose unbeaten Lakers (5-0) are ranked No. 2 in the Baltimore metropolitan area and No. 9 in the state. "They're not satisfied. They didn't reach the promised land. They want to win a championship."

The road to a City East Division championship begins today, when the Lakers (2-0 league) play host to No. 6 Poly (4-1, 3-0). Lake Clifton, averaging 24.4 points, will be facing only its second top-15 opponent in coach Augie Waibel's Engineers.

"It's just another game," said Monroe, whose Lakers have remaining division games against unranked Dunbar (1-4), No. 12 Patterson (4-1), No. 14 City (3-2) and Northern (3-2).

"The feeling's the same in practice as it's been all year," said special teams coach Martin Church. "We know there'll be a lot of people at the game, but it's not like we've never been in a big game with these kids. We won't be intimidated."

In addition to three of the nine returning three-year starters being in the backfield, Lake Clifton has added Dunbar graduate and former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Calvin Williams to its coaching staff.

Second-team All-Metro running back-defensive back Darnell Pearsall this season has 663 rushing yards and five touchdowns, and 3,263 yards with 25 touchdowns in his career.

Pearsall (6-feet, 180 pounds) bench-presses 325 pounds and runs a 4.5-second, 40-yard dash. His backfield foil is 5-8, 200-pound bowling ball Robert Carrothers (581 yards, six touchdowns), who hit the weights hard over the summer for a 340-pound bench press.

Quarterback Joe Able (6-3, 175), who transferred from Poly after his freshman season, has thrown for 661 yards and nine touchdowns. Wide receiver-defensive back Eric Thompson has 15 receptions for 387 yards and five touchdowns, and Tavon Ervin has 13 catches, 284 yards, four touchdowns.

Defensively, Thompson's six interceptions are as many as he had all of last season. Wilson and Damien Tucker have three interceptions each.

"Dunbar [a 27-26 loser to Poly] is the closest in similarity to us that Poly has seen in terms of team speed," said offensive coordinator Dave Coward, a 1979 Poly graduate. "They disguise some things in their defenses, so we'll need to finesse more."

Defensively, the Lakers got out of the blocks well with a season-opening 26-14 victory over then-No. 7 Meade, limiting the Mustangs' All-Metro running back Tanardo Sharps (1,765 yards, 19 touchdowns last season) to under 100 yards and two second-half touchdowns.

"[Coach] Augie Waibel's offense offers a new look for us, particularly their double tight-end set," said Monroe, whose defense has allowed 5.2 points a game with two shutouts. "His running backs have some power, so you can't assume they'll just fall down if you hit them."

Sacks leader Jason Carrothers (16 sacks last year) has led the Lakers' defensive line. Though small (5-8, 165), Carrothers (three sacks so far) "has quickness and technique," Church said. "He hasn't been slowed by double-teams."

Carrothers' sacks rank second behind defensive end-running back Eddie Wilson (five sacks, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries).

To survive the Engineers' trench warfare, the Lakers will need optimum work-rates out of two-way linemen Corey Dawson (6-1, 240), Phillip Hayes (6-1, 200) and Winston Chester (6-1, 215)

Pub Date: 10/10/97

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