Westminster quarterback Christian Etchison and running back Jaden Louis agreed that the Owls’ defense is difficult to get by.
The offense has to make attempts to get through them each day at practice.
With that, the Owls used a second half surge to defeat Century 33-6 Westminster on Friday and remain undefeated in county play.
“That’s what makes us better as an offense, knowing they’re probably the best defense we’ll face all year,” Etchison said. “They do a phenomenal job every week in and out and I just feel comfortable knowing I can take some risks that I probably wouldn’t if I didn’t have that defense out there. We’ve almost posted a shutout in these games so it’s a phenomenal defense.”
The first half did not go quite as smoothly as the Owls (5-1, 3-0 county) would have liked.
Century (1-5, 1-2) picked up a pair of first downs on their second series when senior quarterback Collin Ende found senior receiver Aaron Wolcott for a 12-yard gain. Ende picked up 11 yards on the next two drives, enough for another Knights’ first down. Senior running back Stephen Shinholt took the next handoff, but the ball slipped out of his hands and he lost about 10 yards on the play.
Westminster had the ball for the next 14 drives but the Knights forced a turnover on downs on fourth-and-goal with a little over nine minutes left in the first half.
Knights senior Jake Schneider set up to punt on a three-and-out with 8:43 to go when the punt was blocked in the end zone, good for a Westminster safety. The Owls had the ball at the Knights’ 25-yard line and used eight drives to gain yardage.
On 3rd-and-goal, Etchison ran 3 yards in for a touchdown. Aaron Golberg then tossed a pass to Tavian Montgomery, good for a two-point conversion, and the Owls led 10-0 with 5:21 to play in the first half.
“We have a lot of talent, receivers, running backs, quarterbacks,” Owls coach Matt Study “It’s on the O-line and that’s where we’re going to win or we’re going to lose.”
Evan Warren kicked a field goal for the Owls in the third quarter to put the team ahead 13-0, the lone points of the quarter.
Etchison ran in for a score on the opening drive of the final quarter and Ende answered with a 2-yard keeper of his own nearly four minutes later to put the Knights on the board.
“I like blocking for him,” Louis said about his QB.
“I enjoy when he blocks for me,” Etchison added. “It’s not just us two and we have to give credit to our line up front. They work hard all week long and have to go against our defense, one of the best defensive lines in the state. They make it easy for us to find those holes. If I was a little bit faster, I could have probably gained more yards and I apologize to them but they do a great job up front.”
The Owls (5-1, 3-0) added two more scores, one on a 1-yard run from Louis and another on a 41-yard connection between Etchison and senior receiver Cole Prodoehl.
Despite a few “hiccups," Study was pleased with the way his team stayed together to pull out the victory.
“We overcame some adversity that was a little bit out of our control and I’ll keep it at that,” Study said. “Our guys responded positively and it’s all about that attitude and that effort and the things that the coaching staff harps on.”
Century 0 0 0 6 — 6
Westminster 0 10 3 20 — 33
W-Christian Etchison 3 run (2 pt. conversion good)
W- Evan Warren 19 field goal
W-Etchison 1 run (Kick good)
C-Collin Ende 2 run (2 pt. conversion failed)
W-Jaden Louis 1 run (Kick good)
W-Cole Prodoehl 41 pass from Etchison (2 pt. conversion failed)