Once-tame Northwestern Wildcats roar to top Forest Park falls, 14-6, as 'Cats take 4th straight

October 11, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Baltimore City changed its league format to East and West, some thought Northwestern could be competitive in the West League.

Not only are the Wildcats, who were long-time also-rans, competitive now, they may be on their way to the league title.

The Wildcats claimed their fourth consecutive victory and moved into sole possession for first place yesterday, defeating visiting Forest Park, 14-6.

Sophomore running back Leroy Satchell bullied his way to 175 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown as Northwestern (4-2) rushed for 222 yards against the Foresters (3-3).

The four victories are one more than Northwestern had all of last season. With three games remaining (Edmondson, Southern-Baltimore and Walbrook), the Wildcats are in good position to finish with a winning record.

Winning seasons have been few for Northwestern, once a dominant program in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Wildcats may still have some to go before matching those years, but they are quickly gaining respect.

"I still can't believe it myself," said Northwestern quarterback Taron Reed, who threw a 32-yard touchdown to Khondre Tyler in the first quarter. "This team has come together, and we're playing as one. There are no individuals."

Looking worn down at times in the second half, Northwestern's defense -- led by Brian Starks (10 tackles, sack), Eugene Harris (nine, two pass breakups) and J. R. Gray (five, seven pass breakups) -- was still able to thwart two fourth-quarter drives by Forest Park.

The Foresters' only score came at the end of the third quarter on a 9-yard run by Tamah McCray. Forest Park did have the ball in the waning moments with an opportunity to tie but ran out of time with the ball resting on the Northwestern 45.

"Our defense kept us in the game," said Northwestern's first-year coach, Leroy McKenzie. "Our offense needs to be a little bit smarter, but we have done the necessary things to win games."

McKenzie, 51, a former semi-pro player with the Baltimore Rams and varsity football coach at Lake Clifton, returned to coaching three years ago after spending seven years recovering from a massive heart attack.

McKenzie, who also coaches the varsity track teams, has brought a calm yet stern demeanor to the sidelines, and the players have responded.

With a line that averages close to 270 pounds, consisting of Joey Marine (319 pounds), Rufus Davis (260), James Hughes (250), Donte Thompson (310), Willie Sanders (275) and Saheed Abdul Samad (240), Northwestern has been able to run the ball consistently with Satchell carrying the load.

The 5-foot-8, 170-pound running back gave Forest Park fits, bouncing off, carrying and breaking away from would-be tacklers. In the second quarter, Satchell appeared to be down after a short gain but broke free, carried a tackler, and got down to the Foresters' 1-yard line. Satchell went in off right tackle on the next play, giving Northwestern a 14-0 lead with 1: 52 remaining in the first half.

"They came with the power offense and we were prepared for them, but we just couldn't stop Satchell," said Forest Park coach Obie Barnes. "They had some wrinkles, but they went with the run and it won the game for them."

No. 1 Loyola 43, Carver 7: Brant Hall passed for 86 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dons (3-1). Paul Daley returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown and Kyle Bell added a 2-yard touchdown run for host Loyola.

St. Alban's 21, No. 7 St. Mary's 7: The Saints (3-3) fell to the Washingtonians (5-1) despite 134 rushing yards on 18 carries from quarterback Ryan Metzbower. Metzbower also completed 10 of 22 passes for 110 yards.

Dunbar 22, No. 11 Patterson 12: Thomas James scored his second touchdown from 2 yards out to pad the victory, and defensive efforts from linebacker Kirk Williams and end Naeem Harrison made it stand as the unranked Poets scored the upset. Dunbar improved to 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the City's East Division, and Patterson dropped to 4-2, 1-2.

No. 14 City 36, Mervo 0: Vincent DeLoatch completed 13 of 20 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns as the Knights (4-2) topped the Mustangs (3-3). Warren Smith had five catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns and also intercepted a pass for City.

Pub Date: 10/11/97

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