Luster leads South Carroll by Westminster, 27-21

November 12, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

South Carroll quarterback Tom Luster kept his word last night to fallen teammate Greg Mihalko.

Moments before Mihalko, who had carried the ball 36 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns, left the field in an ambulance with a neck injury, Luster leaned over to Mihalko and told him: "I love you Greg. We're going to win this game for you."

Mihalko reached out and squeezed Luster's hand in an emotional scene in the middle of the field before the door closed on the ambulance.

A teary-eyed Luster went back into the huddle with his team, facing a second-and-seven at the Westminster 47-yard line with four minutes left in the game and the score tied at 21.

Luster took charge and five plays later, he tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Esworthy to lift the Cavaliers to a 27-21 victory and the 1994 Carroll County championship at Westminster last night.

The Cavaliers (5-5 overall, 3-0 in the county) entered the game off four straight losses and appeared to be in for a tough challenge against a bigger Westminster team (5-5, 2-1).

But Mihalko threw his 5-foot-10, 165-pound body at the big Westminster tacklers all night long before he took a clean hit from linebacker Eric Zepp on a 3-yard run.

Zepp's shoulder pad hit Mihalko's helmet, sending Mihalko to the ground with pain in his neck and upper back.

Mihalko was immobilized and taken to a hospital for what South Carroll trainer Brad Stickler said was "precautionary measures."

"Hopefully, he'll come back out of the hospital in a few hours with nothing but a sprained neck. There was some tenderness in his spine but there were no indications of anything serious."

Luster said: "Greg didn't want to go to the hospital. He wanted to stay with us."

For a few minutes after the ambulance left the field, it appeared Mihalko might be getting his way as the ambulance slowed up before moving on.

"That's the best game I've ever seen Greg play," said South Carroll coach Gene Brown. "I patted Greg's arm before he left. I know he was in a lot of pain."

Mihalko not only rushed for 207 yards but also had 55 yards return yardage to fend off a strong effort by Westminster quarterback Steve Mays and Owls running back Eric Jones.

Jones rushed for 115 yards on 16 carries and scored on a 3-yard run, and Mays tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Justin Skolkoff and scored on a 1-yard run.

Mays made several determined runs to keep Westminster drives alive. He took the Owls to the South Carroll 9-yard line with 14 seconds left in the game.

But South Carroll's Todd Henry made two big defensive plays in the final seconds and Mays couldn't connect with Skolkoff on the final play of the game -- a pass into the left corner of the end zone.

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