An intense downpour minutes before game time Friday night put a damper on the prolific passing attack of No. 5 Westminster.
Even with star quarterback Deryk Kern struggling early, however, the host Owls hardly missed a beat, with senior Bradley Metcalf scoring three first-half touchdowns as Westminster rolled to a 41-0 win over Carroll County-rival Century.
Metcalf, a senior receiver, scored on an 80-yard run and a 4-yard run in the first quarter, and later added a 22-yard touchdown catch from Kern.
"We definitely showed we can run the ball," Metcalf said. "It's good to have a multi-threat offense, where we don't have to rely on one thing."
Though Kern finished just four of 15 for 136 yards — with three of his four completions going for touchdowns — Westminster (8-0, 4-0 county) now has scored at least 35 points in all eight games this season.
Century (4-4, 3-2), meanwhile, managed just 120 yards of total offense after twice scoring more than 50 points earlier this season. Running back Tyrice Rock, who had entered the night with more than 1,300 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, finished with minus-6 yards on nine carries.
Kern struggled equally early on. After beginning the day with more then 2,300 yards passing and 39 touchdowns this season, he was just 1-for-9 by late in the first quarter before referees stopped the game for a 34-minute lightning delay.
Along the way, however, he got help from senior Metcalf, who broke off an 80-yard touchdown run to put Westminster on top. With the Owls seemingly unable to complete a pass, Kern, in the shotgun, faked a handoff to primary back Dan Johnson and pitched left to Metcalf, who took off untouched down the left sideline with 7:33 left in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, Rock had similar troubles on the wet turf. The senior managed just minus-1 yard over his first four carries. His fifth, a draw from quarterback Brad MacFee, ended in disaster when the exchange fell to the ground, and Westminster's C.J. Birdow recovered at the Knights' 21.
Three plays later, Metcalf broke through a hole in the middle and walked in from the 4-yard-line, extending the lead to 14-0 with under a minute left in the first.
"Contrary to belief, we work on running the ball, too," Owls coach Brad Wilson said. "The field was an absolute mess, and they found a way to win. The credit goes to the kids."
After holding Century to a three-and-out on its next possession, Kern finally connected, finding Johnson — who had gotten a step on defensive back Deion Minor — on a deep ball down the left sideline for an 83-yard touchdown, extending it to 21-0.
The Owls then made it a four-touchdown lead when 295-pound lineman Travis Kesler recovered a fumbled snap near midfield, and Kern completed a screen pass for a 22-yard touchdown at the other end.
Century 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Westminster 14 14 7 6 -- 41
W-Metcalf 80 run (Cohen kick)
W-Metcalf 4 run (Cohen kick)
W-Johnson 83 pass from Kern (Cohen kick)
W-Metcalf 22 pass from Kern (Cohen kick)
W-Bean 17 pass from Kern (Cohen kick)
W-Uhlman 43 run (kick failed)