CAPTIOL HEIGHTS – The running back tandem of junior Larry Williams and senior Malik Griffin lifted Largo High School over Central High School during a high school football match on Sept. 1.
The torrential downpour of rain overshadowed the entire first half. However, Largo brought a storm of its own offensively on the road as they shutout Central 28-0 to win their first game of the season.
“We were a little rusty in the first half, but the line held their blocks good,” Williams said, who finished with 16 carries for 91 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
“We need to run more and execute more plays. I could have stayed a little lower when I was running through the holes. I felt like we underachieved and that we could have put up way more points. My freshman year, we put up 50 against Central and last year, we put up 40 against them. We know we should have done way better.”
The first quarter was messy both literally and figuratively, due to weather conditions and sloppy play to go along with it. Largo fumbled a punt, and then, on the very next play Central gave the ball right back with a fumble during an exchange in the first quarter. That essentially summed the ineptitude of both squads in a scoreless first frame. In the second quarter, the weather got better as well as the play of Largo.
Williams set the tone in the second quarter with his first of three rushing touchdowns of the evening with a five-yard run. Griffin gave Largo even more momentum after he broke off a 58-yard run and capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run that gave Largo a 14-0 lead going into halftime.
“I felt like we handled adversity well,” Largo Head Coach Derron Thomas said. “We had a lot going on today. It was very hot and humid. To start off, we had the game delayed an hour and then the first half was a monsoon, which left the field in bad conditions.
“Obviously, we have a lot of work to do. The defense was a little leaky for my taste when the game started, and we just have to secure our run game. It was kind of hard to get anything accomplished in the air today, so I can’t really evaluate where we are in that sense, but we just have to get better one day at a time.”
In the third quarter, both teams came out a little rusty as they both went scoreless in a quarter for the second time. The highlight of the period was Griffin, not with his legs on offense, but with his hands as he grabbed an interception on defense right before going out of bounds and kept his balance along the sideline.
“I felt like the defense stopped their offense up front, and then it made it easier for me to do my job,” Griffin said.
“On offense, I was just reading my blocks and hitting the holes. I felt like when I had that (58-yard run), that set the tone for the offense to score more points. I felt we did well at executing and fighting through adversary like the weather.”
Williams ended the game in the fourth quarter as he scored his second and third rushing touchdowns of the game.
“The execution has to be a lot better,” Thomas said. “We started really slow. I don’t want to make excuses, but I think the weather did play a role in that early on because it was kind of tough to get anything going from a run game or a pass game standpoint. We just have to tighten up some loose ends, and I feel like we can score more points to be a more explosive offense.”
Largo will start the season 1-0, after winning just two games last year. Their next game is their home opener on Sept. 7 against Perryville High School.
As for Central, the Falcons have not had a winning season since 2008. However, first-year Head Coach Angel Garcia thinks that the time for change is now.
“We need to just work on our discipline and being more consistent,” Garcia said. “I’m trying to turn around the losing ways around here and the losing mentality. I feel our kids have the ability, but we just have to learn how to be a winning team.
“It’s going to take time with this group. We are very young and we have a lot of sophomores and juniors. I only have maybe four seniors on this team so we are still learning how to play the game of football and we learning how to be a champion. I love their initiative. Now I just have to teach them to be consistent.”