William Little's 2-yard run in the second overtime lifted Gwynn Park of Prince George's County to a 20-14 Class 3A state championship victory over No. 2 Westminster last night at M&T Bank Stadium, ending the Owls' bid to win Carroll County's first state title and earning the Yellow Jackets their first in two appearances.
The loss ended a storybook season for the Owls (12-2), who had won eight straight in their first playoff berth in 24 years and earned their first title-game berth since 1976.
In overtime, each team gets four downs to score from the 10-yard line, with the victory going to the team that outscores the other after an equal number of chances. After stopping the Yellow Jackets' first opportunity, Owls freshman John Hajnos, who had converted each of his extra-point attempts, missed a 21-yard field-goal try wide left.
Gwynn Park chose to allow Westminster to take its second opportunity first during the second overtime series, where replays in the press box appeared to show Ryan Payne's apparent 10-yard scoring catch on third down being ruled out of bounds. Gwynn Park's Phillip Higgins then intercepted Clancy (13-for-27, 148 yards) to set up the winning sequence.
Clancy was sacked nine times for minus-60 yards. Ryan Finch, who entered with 1,237 rushing yards for 14 touchdowns and 797 receiving yards for 10 scores, was held to 30 rushing yards and a reception for 8 yards.
Clancy, a senior, entered the game with 3,186 passing yards for 38 touchdowns. His two 1-yard scoring runs had given Westminster leads of 7-0 and 14-7 at halftime, when he was held to 12 yards rushing and 79 passing.
"The noise level here from the crowd was something we weren't used to. The environment was very loud," said coach Brad Wilson, alluding to a number of botched handoffs and snaps. "They have got some athletes over there at Gwynn Park, but you know what? I'll take my 46 kids and play anywhere."
Clancy's 1-yard run gave the Owls a 7-0 lead at 9:38 of the first quarter. This after teammate Ryan Miller recovered a fumble at the Gwynn Park 16-yard line. Chris Maienshein's subsequent diving catch of Clancy's pass landed him at the Yellow Jackets' 1-yard line.
The Yellow Jackets made it 7- all, however, at 6:10 of the first quarter after Kevin Williams' extra-point kick followed a 73-yard interception return by Maryland-bound Adrian Moten (two sacks, one fumble recovery).
"They had quite a quarterback," Moten said. "We tried to keep him in the box. He got out a couple of times, but I had a couple of sacks."
Clancy helped set up his second score for a 14-7 lead at 5:43 of the second quarter. After Clancy's 40-yard punt landed out of bounds at Yellow Jackets' 2-yard line, the Owls' Jeremy Hines recovered a fumble, caused by the Owls' Brion Dell, at the Yellow Jackets' 4-yard line.
Two plays later, Clancy's 1-yard run was followed by John Hajnos' second extra-point kick. But the Yellow Jackets came back to make it 14-all at 11:29 of the fourth quarter when Little (5 feet 9, 210 pounds) scored from a yard out.
The loss overshadowed an excellent defensive effort by Westminster, which got interceptions from Sean Blake and Andrew Pearce. Pearce also had a tackle for a loss, and Blake a pass breakup on Gwynn Park's first series from the 10. The Owls also had a goal-line stand at their 5-yard line just before halftime, with Blake stopping William Johnson on fourth down at Westminster's 5-yard firstname.lastname@example.org