When Brad Wilson took over as Westminster's football coach nine years ago, he envisioned building a program that would make an impact on the community. That Westminster's stadium would be a place for families to bring their kids on Friday nights - and those kids would grow up wanting to play football for the Owls.

The 2005 Westminster team received tremendous community support as it won 12 games before falling in overtime at M&T Bank Stadium in the state championship game.

Westminster is one win away from a return trip to the Ravens' home field for another state final, and a significant number of the present-day Owls recall following the team's playoff run back in 2005 and being inspired to one day play high school football.

"I dreamed about it," said senior Dan Johnson. "I was so excited. That was my goal growing up. That's what I wanted to do. I set my goals right there, from the beginning, and it worked."

Johnson was at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 10, 2005 when Westminster lost 20-14 to Gwynn Park in the Class 3A championship.

He's one of a number of fourth- or fifth-graders that were in the stadium that night who are now juniors or seniors on Westminster's 12-0 team, which faces Quince Orchard (11-1) tonight at home in the 4A state semifinals.

"I think most of the kids on our team were at that game," Wilson said.

Westminster quarterback Deryk Kern - who has broken numerous school, county and state records this season that had been held by 2005 Owls QB Kevin Clancy - was there.

"Looking back to that, I remember the feeling that I had and watching them in states, and I always wanted to be the quarterback for Westminster," Kern recalled.

Owls junior linebacker John Morrissey had only recently begun playing youth football in 2005 and hadn't really followed Westminster until that fall.

"When they got in the playoffs, I was really paying attention," he said.

He attended the title game and recalled a great atmosphere on a night Westminster fans far outnumbered those from Gwynn Park.

"Everybody was cheering, the stadium was packed," he said. "It makes you really want to be in that situation."

He'll be in that situation next week if he and the Owls can beat Quince Orchard tonight.

Same for receiver Garrett Bean, who would be duplicating the feat of his older brother, Kyle Bean, who played on that 2005 team.

"I remember Kevin Clancy and Ryan Payne and Ryan Finch and all them. They had a really good team," Bean recalled. "Going to states, [the] Ravens' stadium, that was wild.

"It would be a lot of fun to experience."

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