Atholton's defense knew which Wilde Lake player it had to stop -- Mike Green. So the visiting Raiders taped Green's number, 35, to the backs of their helmets for inspiration.
The idea backfired, because when Green saw the numbers, he was the one who was inspired and led Wilde Lake to a 49-6 victory yesterday.
Green rushed 18 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns, including Wilde Lake's first two scores. He caught three passes for 45 yards. And he intercepted a pass on Atholton's first play from scrimmage and returned it 30 yards to Atholton's 16.
Then he ran five straight times until he scored on a 4-yard run.
"Mike Green is one of those guys that you don't want to get mad at you because it makes him play so much better," Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall said.
Wilde Lake (4-3, 2-1), playing inspired football after last week's loss to Hammond on a last-second field goal, then stripped Atholton quarterback Jason Albert as he attempted to pass on the Raiders' next play from scrimmage. Tony Lewis recovered it for the Wildecats at Atholton's 28-yard line.
Seth Willingham passed to Green for 14 yards on second down, and Green ran 14 yards on the next play for a touchdown.
Wilde Lake (5-2, 1-2) scored again on a 52-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Willingham to Tarkese McDonald with 9:08 left in the second quarter.
Atholton cut the 21-0 deficit to 21-6 on a 4-yard run by Carlando Love. A 38-yard pass from Albert to Matt Treese set up the score.
But Wilde Lake put the game away with a nine-play, 63-yard drive that ended with Green's 3-yard touchdown run. The Wildecats led 28-6 at halftime.
Atholton had 76 yards rushing on 17 carries but lost three fumbles.
In addition to Green, Mark Davis had an interception for Wilde Lake. Lewis, John Johnson and James Simmons had fumble recoveries for the Wildecats.
Johnson ran 57 yards for a touchdown with his fumble recovery that put Wilde Lake ahead 35-6 with 8:04 left in the third quarter.
"Wilde Lake is a good team that forced turnovers and scored after them," said Atholton coach Don Van Deusen, whose team hasn't beaten the Wildecats since 1979. "They are no worse this year than any of their state championship teams."
DuVall thought his team played its best game of the season.
"We think our up-and-down season is over now, and we're up the rest of the way," said DuVall.
"We have a lot of players who never played before, and it has just taken time to put everything together."