Thomas Johnson romps over Westminster, 53-15 Maryland-bound Ambush scores 3 TDs for Patriots as Owls lose first game

September 25, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

FREDERICK -- Members of Westminster's football team knew far in advance they were headed for Ambush country last night at Thomas Johnson. But the Owls of Carroll County could do little to avert disaster.

Leroy Ambush, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound running back who is bound for Maryland on a football scholarship, had 134 yards on nine carries and scored three times to lead last year's Class 3A state runner-up Patriots (2-2) over the Owls (3-1), 53-15, in the Central Maryland Conference opener for both squads.

Ambush had seven carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, along with a 65-yard interception return that gave the Patriots a 12-0 lead.

"Our defense couldn't stop him," said Westminster coach Scott Tobias. "They established themselves and did just anything they wanted to, at will, against our defense."

Westminster (3-1) got a valiant effort from QB Scott Carnegie (11-for-18, 131 yards, two touchdowns) but simply could not establish its first-half running game enough to keep pace with the five-time CMC champs.

Thomas Johnson racked up 430 yards off offense vs. Westminster, which has not beaten the Patriots since 1990 -- the last time the Owls were 3-0.

"They have a strong tradition, which we want to build up to," said Tobias. "Our kids got a taste of what that's like. They got a big taste."

Thomas Johnson led 26-7 after one period and 40-15 at halftime. It was 52-15 with 11 seconds to play after Jared Benoit's 49-yard touchdown.

The Patriots had 329 yards of offense in the first half, when Ambush, quarterback Ricky Roberts (four carries, 89 yards) and DeAndre Gibson (seven carries, 95 yards) combined for 285 yards on only 13 carries.

Westminster's Carnegie found sophomore Jemal Smalls streaking down the sideline for a 69-yard scoring pass to make it 12-7 with 3: 36 left in the first period. But Roberts scored two of the Patriots' next three touchdowns, and the Owls trailed 34-7 at 11: 32 of the second period.

Roberts took a keeper 65-yards for one score, then returned an interception 35 yards for another. The touchdowns -- both down Westminster's sideline -- put the Patriots up 26-7 before DeAndre Gibson (six carries, 101 yards) went 83 yards for his first of two touchdowns.

The Owls' turned a fumble recovery by Brad Baker at Thomas Johnson's 37 into Carnegie's second passing touchdown -- a 15-yarder five plays later -- into a 34-15 deficit 29 seconds before halftime after Carnegie's conversion pass to Ryan Esposito.

Then Ambush made the Owls pay again, turning an off-tackle run into a 60-yard touchdown.

"I don't know how many big plays over 50 yards they had, but the big play hurt us all night long," said Tobias.

Pub Date: 9/25/98

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