Lackey did not miss a beat as the Class 1A South Region playoffs got started Friday night.
The top-seeded Chargers overmatched Prince George’s County’s Surrattsville, the fourth seed, in their region semifinal matchup, sprinting to a 57-6 victory.
Lackey (9-2 overall) will host second-seeded Douglass of Prince George’s County at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Now we’re right in the thick of things,” Lackey head coach John Lush said after Friday’s win. Douglass defeated third-seeded Fairmont Heights, also of Prince George’s, 38-0 on Saturday. “It’s good we get a chance to play here, but it’s gonna be a heck of a battle next Friday night. Everybody’s really good from here on out.”
Junior quarterback Robert Middleton played his familiar role as centerpiece in Lackey’s offense, accounting for six touchdowns, all in the first half. Middleton scored a trio of touchdowns each on the ground and through the air, racking up three scores of longer than 30 yards. Jayson Wilmer added a rushing touchdown, as did backup quarterback Wesley Johnson, who took over for Middleton during the second half.
Surrattsville (3-7) struggled in all phases and was virtually out of the game halfway through the first quarter. The Hornets’ lone highlight came on a bomb by quarterback Ryan Otey for a 76-yard touchdown, briefly cutting the Chargers’ lead to 21-6, only to give up another score three plays later.
Lackey (9-2) dominated in an incredibly efficient manner, as only one of its eight scoring drives took more than four plays. That was a five-play drive ending with a 35-yard passing strike from Middleton to James Wilkerson.
The Chargers used the lopsided score as an opportunity to refine their offense, continuing their trend toward a more balanced attack after notching two passing scores in their previous game against Calvert.
“A couple weeks ago, we made the decision we wanted to be able to throw the ball,” Lush said. “We feel like we’ve been running the ball effectively all year. Last week we threw it pretty well, I think we took another step tonight. We’re gonna have to be able to be multi-dimensional to continue to have success.”
Middleton ran for a 70-yard touchdown on Lackey’s third play from scrimmage to open the scoring, then hit a wide-open Wilkerson for a score after a Surrattsville three-and-out.
The Hornets lost 11 yards on their next drive, then Clement Muhoka returned the ensuing punt inside the 1-yard line to set up Wilmer’s short touchdown, all before the first quarter ended.
The Chargers would score four more times in the second quarter, including on another catch from Wilkerson and a 34-yard reception by Jordan Carter. Middleton completed 3 of 7 passes, but each went for a touchdown.
Expanding the passing game would open up additional holes for the Chargers’ host of talented rushers, who topped 300 yards on just 25 carries against the Hornets.
“It’s difficult,” said Surrattsville head coach Cornell Wade. “[Middleton’s] a player. [Wilmer’s] a player. They definitely got some guys.”
Surrattsville reached the playoffs for the second consecutive season in Wade’s third year, and Otey is still just a sophomore.
“We’ll keep growing and keep building and we’ll be back next year,” Wade said. “We’re trying to build something at Surrattsville. Lackey’s a great program to measure against. We’ve got a measuring stick and we’ll go from there.”