What was a cold South River offense in its first three football games is cooking finally -- thanks to the efforts of the head chef and his assistants.
Third-year coach Dave Summey and assistant coaches Jim Henne, Chuck Golch, Tom Newman and Lance Evans gradually added more spice to the Seahawks' offense.
"It took a little while for things to jell," said Summey, whose 5-1 Seahawks are ranked No. 17 in the metro area. "It was just a matter of time."
It took time, specifically, to stir things up on the offensive line after watching the Seahawks' lukewarm attack in victories over Broadneck, 6-3, and Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference champion St. Mary's, 6-0, and in a 14-7 loss to Linganore.
TheSeahawks defeated Broadneck in overtime after a scoreless regulationand gave up a touchdown against Linganore with two minutes left in regulation.
"In my experience, the defense usually develops faster and that part was fine, but the offense usually comes along a little slower," said Summey, whose Seahawks racked up 384 yards to trounce homestanding Lansdowne, 54-0, Friday night in Baltimore County.
TheSeahawks burned the 0-6 Vikings behind K.C. Palmer (five carries, 86yards, two touchdowns) and Joe Messenese (three carries, 47 yards, two touchdowns).
By halftime, South River had rushed for 170 yards and built a 34-0 lead while holding the Vikings to just 12 total yards.
Chris Messineo (six carries, 70 yards) had a big first quarter,scampering 61 yards for the Seahawks' second touchdown, scoring the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead and intercepting a pass to help set up Ricky Brookman's 11-yard jaunt, which, followed by Jimmy Wilson's kick, put the visitors up, 21-0.
Early in the second quarter, Messineo's blocked punt rolled into the end zone where Wilson recovered. It was 28-0 after Wilson's kick.
Kevin Ferguson ran for the Seahawks' first score -- his third touchdown this year.
"We had our doubts about our offense at first, but it's finally clicking," said Messineo, who now has three touchdowns. "Now we're really putting somepoints on the board."
Two weeks ago, the Seahawks simmered in a 26-0 shutout of Prince George's County's Bladensburg. A week later, they sizzled against defending Class 4A state champion Randallstown, taking a 27-14 victory.
Against Randallstown, Messineo (15 carries, 101 yards) and Ferguson (17, 102) -- both rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jake Cameron passed five times, hitting Wilson for a 21-yard TD on one of his two successful attempts.
Prior to Friday night, Ferguson, at 5-feet-10, 190 pounds, had 72 carries for 288 yards (4.0 avg.) and the 5-7, 152-pound Messineo had 271 yards on 57 tries (4.8). Craig Hopkins had covered 127 yards with atouchdown on just 22 attempts (5.8).
Cameron has 49 rushing yardsand three touchdowns on 20 carries and is 11-for-36 passing for 238 yards and three TDs.
"Both the running and passing games have improved," said Summey, whose clubs were 6-4 last year and 7-3 two years ago. "Now the offensive line is coming off of the ball and staying low. They understand their jobs more."
The defense always has understood, skewering the opposition in the first five games behind the leadership of players such as senior linemen Robert Schmaldienst (35 tackles, 12 solos), and senior defensive backs Brookman (11 solo tackles), Trevor Perkins (seven) and Ferguson (six).
Messenese (24 tackles, 17 solos) and Edmund Hicks (23, 15) round out a defensive backfield, which has more than held its own under pressure.
Messenese leads the Seahawks with three interceptions.
Although the defense is playing steadily and the offense is heating up, Summey hopes things haven't reached the boiling point.
This week, the Seahawks face a tough Perry Hall squad, which also has a victory over Randallstown. South River closes with Lackey (Oct. 25), Northeast (Nov. 1) and Southern (Nov. 9).
"Randallstown was a big win, but that's just a singular game," said Summey. "We're either going to get better or worse eachweek -- hopefully, we'll continue to get better."