Westminster `D' is key in victory

Owls dominate No. 14 Winters Mill

Westminster 21 Winters Mill 7

Football

September 16, 2006|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,Special to The Sun

The Westminster Owls have seen the dark side, and it's not so bad after all.

Last year's Owls used a run-and-gun offense to advance to the state Class 3A championship game, but this year it's all about the defense. It certainly was last night as visiting Westminster defeated neighborhood rival Winters Mill, 21-7, before an overflow crowd.

Michael Hill rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries and a late fourth-quarter touchdown to pace the Owls.

"There was a lot of trash-talking all week, but we showed a lot of heart," said Hill of the schools, which are five miles apart.

Although the Westminster defense did give up its first points of the year on Norris Dalton's 13-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, the Owls used a goal-line stand and a bend-but-don't-break mentality to frustrate the host and 14th-ranked Falcons.

"They won the game on the line of scrimmage, especially on defense," Winters Mill coach Ken Johnson said. "My hat is off to their defensive line."

Westminster (2-0) took the lead late in the first half, when Nick Brunner's 5-yard pass found Daniel Cremens in the front of the end zone for a 7-0 lead with just 1:31 left before the half.

Winters Mill (1-1) used a seven-play, 68-yard drive early in the third quarter to advance the ball to the Westminster 2-yard line, but the Owls stopped Winters Mill's Garrett Hill on fourth-and-one to take over on downs.

The Owls used some luck to extend the lead to 14-0 with 4:04 left in the third quarter. On a fourth-and-seven from the Winters Mill 33-yard line, Jesse Astlin ran down the left sideline to the 27, where three Falcon defenders hit him. The ball popped into the air, and landed in the arms of Westminster's Nick Horvath, who ran it to the Falcons' 5-yard line. Ryan Miller scored on the next play on a Brunner pass.

"We diagrammed that one," Westminster coach Brad Wilson joked.

The Falcons finally got on the scoreboard on their second drive of the third quarter, using 15 plays and driving 65 yards to cut the lead to 14-7 on Dalton's touchdown with 10:11 left in the game.

Hill scored on a 16-yard run late in the fourth quarter for the final margin.

"I thought this was a winnable football game for us," Johnson said. "It meant a lot to our kids, and I can see some tears over on our sideline."

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