N. Carroll hits Owls, and rally hurts, 28-19 Two fourth-quarter TDs give Westminster 5th loss

October 25, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

North Carroll won its opening game of the season in overtime, then had its next two won and let them get away. Going into last night's game at Westminster, the losses had stretched to six in a row, and the Panthers were facing a 3-4 team that had to believe this was a game it could win.

Things didn't work out that way. North Carroll turned out to be the hitter rather than the hit-tee, taking an early lead, then rallying for the last 14 points and a 28-19 Carroll County/Central Maryland Conference victory.

The home team had rallied from being down 14-3 to go ahead 19-14, and seemed to have things going its way early in the fourth quarter. On this wet, raw night, North Carroll, which had seen leads disappear before, was not to be denied.

Sophomore Steve Suter, who seems able to run and catch with equal ability, turned an Eric Etzel pass reception into a 20-yard play, and Adam Crowl broke loose on a quick opener for a 29-yard touchdown run. An attempted pass for the extra points was knocked away by Chris Gibson.

Protecting a one-point lead, the North Carroll defense refused to yield on Westminster's ensuing series, stopping Billy Arnold for no gain on a fourth-and-three play.

North Carroll wasted no time putting the clinching points on the board. From his own 40, Suter slanted to his right, broke through the line and swung outside for a 60-yard dash, stepping away from Chad Hayes, the final defender at the 5-yard-line.

"Emotion -- we've been telling our players they have to play with emotion, and they finally did it," an exhuberent coach Bill Rumbaugh said of his North Carroll charges. "We made some adjustments in the line, and it gave us some opportunities."

Crowl cited the adjustments in blocking down so the holes were there for himself, Suter, and Rick Brown. Defensively, Eric Wilhelm, Todd Aspien, and Jeff Painter led the way up front.

Westminster's Quintin Woodyard kicked a 29-yard field goal to end the opening drive of the game, after stalling inside the North Carroll 5-yard-line.

Brown and Crowl scored North Carroll's first-half touchdowns, as the visitors built a 14-3 lead.

A recovered fumble at the Westminster 46 set the Panthers in motion midway of the quarter, and Brown capped a four-play drive when he took a pitch and swept left for the final yard. A 34-yard run to the Owls' 12 by Crowl was the big gainer.

A fourth-and-one call for Westminster saw Arnold hit for a one yard loss and North Carroll went 42 yards in seven plays. Crowl got 17 on a third-and-12 run, ran for 29 more, and then accounted for the last two.

Two later offensive chances for North Carroll were blunted by fumbles. The first was at the Owls' 15, and the second followed an interception and the home team recovered to retain possession.

Westminster closed the gap three minutes into the third quarter when North Carroll quarterback Eric Etzel was hit, fumbled, and Mark Gonzalez scooped up the loose ball and ran 36 yards to score.

The Owls moved in front in the opening moments of the fourth quarter when Billy Arnold raced 61 untouched yards.

Pub Date: 10/25/97

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