South Lakes High School
|South Lakes High School||42|
By Chris Colston
RESTON, Va.—Although The Washington Post ranked South Lakes No. 8 among all high schools (public and private) in the Washington Metro area, there remained some skeptics after the Seahawks’ first three blowout wins against middling opposition. Landon High assistant coach Charlie Harley—a Post panelist—said, “Are (they) Milli Vanilli, or the real deal? Either way, we will know if it’s live or Memorex in a few weeks.”
For those who understood Harley’s old-school references, the verdict won’t be in until after South Lakes hosts Centreville on September 22. But in their first true challenge of the year, the Seahawks hardly looked like imposters, walloping the tough 4A Titans 42-10 to improve to 4-0.
Ranked No. 12 among all 4A schools in Virginia, Dominion (2-2) had shut out its last two opponents—and was bigger than South Lakes up front. Living up to their nickname, the Titans averaged 263 pounds along the offensive line, compared to 237 for the Seahawks. On defense Dominion featured two senior tackles, Jayde Pierre and Joel Campos, who weighed 300 and 260 pounds, respectively. On the flip side, South Lakes’ defensive line averaged 214.
“We just don’t have that scary height and size, like we had with David Kroll last year,” running back Spencer Alston said of the former 6-7, 325-pounder now on scholarship at the University of Delaware. “We just do our job and play fast.”
Alston—who ranks No. 4 in the Washington Metro area in rushing yardage with 532 and No. 2 in receiving yardage with 400—plays the fastest. He was spectacular against Dominion, rushing for 310 yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries. He scored three times on the first plays of three different drives, on runs of 80, 80, and 68 yards.
“He just out-ran the defense,” said Coach Trey Taylor.
Almost forgotten amid Alston’s heroics was fellow senior running back Albert Mensah, who ranks 15th in the Washington Metro area in rushing with 397 yards. He gained 104 yards on just 10 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Seahawks got a strong game from junior outside linebacker Izaiah Williams-Baffoe, who had 2.5 sacks and pressured Titans quarterback all night. “We had to find a way to defend teams who have a really good receiver—but still pressure the quarterback,” Coach Taylor said. “We got out of our four-man front after (Dominion’s) first touchdown, and went to a three-four alignment, where Izaiah could drop into coverage or rush the quarterback. They key is disguising it so they don’t know what he’s going to do. I was proud of the way our kids played, because that was something we worked on in the offseason.”
Senior linebacker Chris Logan led the way with six tackles, while junior linebacker Sage Beuchert-Irvine had an interception.
Quarterback Devin Miles, who entered the game ranked No. 7 in the Washington Metro area in passing yardage with 468, let his running backs do most of the work Friday, but he did draw Dominion offside twice in a row to pick up a key first down in the first half. Also outstanding were a pair of senior kickers. Khalil Dover consistently boomed his kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks, while senior placekicker Connor Madden has made 26 consecutive extra points, tops in the Metro area and double the number of the two kickers behind him.
Next is that big matchup with Centreville (3-1), a Clifton, Va., school that was “on the bubble” for the Washington Post Top 25 last week. The Wildcats, coming off a 33-15 win over Forest Park, will look to avenge a 22-20 loss to South Lakes last season. There will be a pregame party at South Lakes High starting at 5:45 p.m. with food, games, and music. Kickoff for the game is 7 p.m.