Playoff hopes dim, Westminster seeks pride, county title

After loss to Linganore, Owls face powerful Urbana

Football notebook

High Schools

October 27, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

On a scarred field moments after Friday night's 37-14 loss to Linganore that all but eliminated Westminster from playoff contention, receiver Jason Stone stood defiantly, sending a message to the rest of the teams on the Owls' schedule.

"I think we've got enough pride in ourselves to keep going," Stone said, pointing to next week's game against four-time defending state champion Urbana and the season finale for the Carroll County title against South Carroll, which won a 42-41 thriller last year.

"When you go up and beat Urbana, that would still make a career right there," Stone said. "And we've got to get South Carroll back for last year."

After a night in which the speedy Stone scored two touchdowns, including one on a 95-yard kickoff return, the future still couldn't help but look brighter than the present.

The Lancers (6-2 overall, 4-1 CMC), coming off a surprising loss to Thomas Johnson, held the Owls to 65 yards of total offense, including minus-10 yards rushing, to stop Westminster's five-game winning streak. They also recovered four of the Owls' six fumbles and all four of their own.

After just 3:10 of play, the host Owls (5-3, 4-1) were down 15-0 with Linganore quarterback Zach Hayes scoring on a 54-yard run on the game's first play from scrimmage.

"We were flat when we came out. I think we underestimated them," Stone said. "We were looking past them to Urbana and South Carroll. We knew they were nice, but I don't think we really understood it."

Despite compiling minus-9 yards of total offense to that point, Westminster, which manhandled Linganore, 50-7, last season, closed to within 15-8 on Stone's kickoff return and two-point conversion catch off a throw from running back Brandon Costley. That, however, was as close as the Owls would get.

"I don't think they were expecting us to play this well," said Linganore linebacker Justin Grubby, who consistently made tackles for losses. "I think they were kind of sleeping on us. They handled us good last year, but we have a whole new coaching staff and a whole new team."

Grubby lent a hand on one of the game's key plays. Driving for what could've been a tying score early in the second quarter, Westminster, on a fourth-and-three from Linganore's 19, failed to convert when Costley was stopped for a gain of a yard.

"We thought we were coming back," Stone said. "Then we drove down and didn't punch it in. We got stopped on that fourth down, and I think that killed our spirits a little bit."

Coach Scott Tobias is counting on the resiliency of his team.

"This was one of those nights when we were the bug and they were the windshield," Tobias said. "But this is a great group of kids. They'll come back. They'll rebound."

Still in the hunt?

Two other county football teams kept their slim playoff hopes alive Friday.

Francis Scott Key (6-2), which began the day 11th in the race for the four at-large playoff berths in Class 2A, broke a two-game losing streak by topping host Brunswick, 40-20. Running backs Josh Rutter and Layton Hersh combined for 396 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

South Carroll (6-2), which began the day tied for 16th for the four spots in 3A, beat North Carroll, 26-8, as quarterback Jake Mead connected with receiver Mike Guerra for two touchdown passes. Up 6-0 at halftime, the Cavaliers scored 20 straight points in the second half.

Both Key and Bowling Brook are 1-0 in the county but won't play enough games to qualify for the county title.

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