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GAME OF THE WEEK : Washington Picks Off Locke, 30-14 : Generals capitalize on Saint fumbles. But their season-opener at home is marred by shots fired from a nearby car. No one is hurt.

September 12, 1993|SEAN WATERS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Washington High Coach Edmund Johnson feared playing Locke in his season opener, but it was his opponents who were running from trouble Friday afternoon.

The Generals' defense neutralized the talents of Locke quarterback Akili Roberson and forced six fumbles in an easy 30-14 nonleague win at Washington High.

"I haven't lost to them yet," said Johnson, whose team has won four consecutive games against the Saints. "We'll beat them and then they go undefeated the rest of the way. Locke has a lot of great athletes. They scare me to death."

Locke's best player is Roberson, a returning City Times all star who was stymied by Washington's rush and managed to complete only six of 17 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.

"I wasn't frustrated," Roberson said. "Our offensive line is new. The tackles were not blocking and the backs had trouble picking up the outside linebackers. It was little things that we need to work on. We'll progress."

On the other hand, Washington receiver Jim McElroy had no trouble breaking tackles. McElroy, one of the top five sprinters in the City Section last year, scored three touchdowns, two on kickoff returns.

McElroy returned the second-half opening kickoff 85 yards to give Washington a 12-0 lead. He scored again on a 77-yard kickoff return after Locke took a 14-12 lead.

With 5:09 left in the game and a fourth-and-six situation, McElroy caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from converted quarterback Chris Johnson to give the Generals a comfortable 24-14 lead. Johnson replaced starting quarterback Mark Tong, who sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter.

"All my friends were telling me: 'You are going to lose,' " McElroy said. "(Locke) is bigger and better than us. Well, I said, 'This is my senior year and we're not going to lose our season-opener at home.'

"This game was for bragging rights to the neighborhood."

Some of the excitement was lost when four shots were fired from a car stopped on Normandie Avenue, outside the football field. The gunfire, directed toward a crowd standing near a fire station, halted the game about 10 minutes while school officials directed players and fans to lie down on the field and in the stands until order was restored. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made.

"We've never had problems like this at a game before," Johnson said. "Not in the seven years I've been here."

Locke was in the midst of a potential scoring drive when the shooting broke out, but Roberson did not blame the incident for his team's offensive woes.

"We're pretty used to that stuff by now," he said.

Roberson--6-1, 185 pounds--gave Locke its first touchdown with a 20-yard pass to Sirr Parker. After a Washington fumble, Parker scored the Saints' second touchdown on a six-yard run and Roberson ran in the two-point conversion to give Locke a 14-12 lead. Parker finished with 59 yards rushing, 77 receiving and two touchdowns.

However, the Saints fumbled the ball away during their next four possessions.

"I can't beat Washington," Locke Coach E.C. Robinson said. "I don't know what it is."

Records: Washington 1-0; Locke 0-1

Next week: Jordan at Locke (Wed.); Washington at Roosevelt.

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