The Westminster Wildcats 13-under football team has had a great run during its time as part of Westminster's youth football program. And this year, this talented group of eighth-graders could go out in a blaze of glory.
With only Clarksville left to play in this weekend's regular-season finale, the squad is 7-0 in the Carroll County Youth Football League.
Jason Bainbridge has coached the team all but one year since the players were second graders. It has made the playoffs every year and appeared in four Super Bowls.
It has gone 2-2 in those games, including a 14-6 win over Arbutus in last year’s Super Bowl.
Arbutus, also 7-0, is also its chief rival this year..
The two won't meet in the regular season. A scheduling quirk has Westminster playing Clarksville twice, while Arbutus faces Damascus twice.
If the two finish tied for first, Arbutus gets the nod by virtue of its tougher schedule. Second, there's the lack of awareness factor.
“I'd like to play them so we can see what they've got,” Bainbridge said. “You can watch films, but it isn't the same. They beat us in the regular season last year, but we saw what they had. Now, we'll have to get it right the first time."
His Wildcats have certainly gotten it right against everybody else so far.
They lead the 13-under loop with 192 points — more than 27 points per game.
And they’ve given up eight points — one touchdown.
That came last Saturday when they played their closest game of the year, hanging on to beat North Carroll 14-8.
Bainbridge credits much of the success to the fact that most of the team has played together for years now. He notes they aren’t big players. Ironically, the biggest player — roughly 200 pounds — is the team’s only seventh grader. The linemen average only about 145.
“But we are a tall team and have a lot of speed,” Bainbridge said. “They have a lot of aggressiveness, and they’ve played together a long time. Each player knows the others will be in the right places and will make the right plays when they get there."
The offensive line opens the holes for backs and gives the passing game time to work