Catonsville rode a strong defensive effort and punishing ground game to a 27-7 victory at Boys' Latin in the season opener for both teams Friday afternoon in Roland Park.
Senior DeAndre' Lane gained 203 of the Comets' 321 rushing yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns.
The Comet defense held the hosts to 156 total yards, including 65 on a pass from Frederick Bopst to Myles Cohen after the offense built a 27-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"It's a good defense this year," said Lane, who played defensive back. "We are all hungry and we all like to go out there and hit and we just play together."
The Laker defense was designed to keep Lane, who will play for the University of Maryland next year, in check and was solid in the first half, holding him to 96 yards on nine carries.
Lane only had two carries over 10 yards in the first half, although his 4-yard score and Garrett Wack's extra point gave the visitors a 7-0 lead at intermission.
"We did an excellent job on defense in the first half," Laker coach Ritchie Schell said.
Laker linebacker Greg Scheetz was the leading tackler in the first half.
That ended quickly, though when Lane raced off left tackle for a 71-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half.
"You can contain him all game, but that dude makes plays on his own," Schell said. "He's bigger and stronger, and we made some adjustments. We just missed a couple tackles, and he got outside."
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Lane admitted the halftime break helped him recover from the 90-degree-plus temperatures in the first half.
"The first half was draining," he said. "I felt like I had no energy, but after halftime I started to cool down and that's when we opened it up."
The rest of the backfield contingent contributed 118 rushing yards, led by Joseth Hylton (57 yards, 1 touchdown) and Keon Webb (29 yards, 1 touchdown) running behind a line — freshman center Jake Faircloth, senior guard Brandon Dixon, sophomore guard Zack Delker, junior tackle Julian Robinson and senior tackle Mason Klompus — that became more cohesive as the game unfolded
"Patience was the key," Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said. "We didn't change anything at halftime. We probably ran less variety in the second half. We just stayed with what worked."
Hambor and Lane both praised the play of senior quarterback Justin Sprankle in his varsity debut.
"He had a lot of pressure on him and he did a great job," Hambor said. "He kind of got the cobwebs out a little bit in the first half, but he was a cool guy out there."
Boys' Latin only committed two turnovers — a fumble recovery by Julian Singletary and an interception by Lane — but had trouble containing the pass rush of T.J. Henry, Darius Williams, Cheldon Simon and Marvin Lambert.
Laker quarterbacks Andrew Roswell and Bopst completed just 7 of 17 passes. When their receivers did catch the ball, punishing hits were delivered by Lane, Hylton, Webb, Dom Johnson and Delray Ragland.
"I think they are a little bit better hitting secondary than we had last year," Hambor said. "They are not quite as fast, but we were comfortable with our pass coverage, we just made one mistake, but that happens."
Hambor was ever more impressed that his squad committed just three penalties and was turnover-free.
"You can't ask for any more than that," he said.
Still, Schell was satisfied with his team's effort as he prepares for the conference season.
"The kids stepped up," he said. "It was 7-0 at halftime and we had chances, but we didn't make them and they've got a lot of really good football players."
Last year, the Lakers lost the opener, 27-6, to Catonsville, but bounced back to eventually reach the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship game.
Schell feels the team will do the same this year.
"It's good to open up against a good team, and it's an out-of-conference game, so I'm pleased with the effort. But we've got to improve on the little things to beat good teams," he said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun