Westminster’s football team stayed hot behind a stifling defense on a frigid night at Ruby Field.
The Owls capitalized on several Century turnovers and stuffed the Knights’ rushing attack in a 35-0 victory Friday night in Carroll County Athletic League play.
Westminster took command of the game by intercepting Knights quarterback Landon Bruce early in the second half. With the ground game struggling, Bruce dropped back to pass on a third-and-long. The running back-turned-quarterback overthrew his intended target and the Owls picked it off just inside their own 40-yard line.
Three plays later, Owls running back Erick Stranko took the hand-off, made a nice move to avoid several Knights’ defenders and rolled 28 yards to the end zone. The score gave the Owls (5-2, 4-0 CCAL) a comfortable 14-0 lead.
Westminster took a 21-0 lead a few minutes later as Century’s defense started to crack under the pressure. Aided by a few penalties on the Knights, the Owls took the ball just inside the Century 20-yard line.
The Knights (4-3, 3-2) crowded the line hoping to stuff a Westminster attack that was racking up big plays.
The Owls faked a run to Stranko and quarterback Luke Jorgensen lofted a 19-yard pass to Ben Flowers in the back corner of the end zone for six points.
Century’s rushing attack continued to struggle as the Owls spent much of the first half in the Century backfield. On the ensuing drive, the Owls pushed the Knights back inside their own 10-yard line. On third down, Century lost the ball and the Owls recovered in prime scoring position.
Westminster capitalized as the clock went under a minute left in the first half. Stranko capped off a dominating half with a 5-yard plunge to give the Owls a 28-0 advantage at the midway point.
Stranko also had a big night on the defensive end. He was among several owls with multiple tackles for loss in the first half. His QB pressure was also key in forcing the interception that helped the Owls take command.
Late in the fourth quarter, Stranko put an exclamation put on the game with the Owls running out the clock. On a fourth-and-1 with under five minutes to play, the Westminster offensive line blew a huge hole in the Century defense and Stranko went straight up the middle untouched for a 4-yard score.
The TD capped the night off and gave Westminster a 35-0 advantage, and the home team posted a third consecutive shutout.
Flowers got the Owls off on the right foot late in the first quarter. The game looked like it was going to be a defensive struggle with both teams unable to move with any consistency early. Flowers changed that as the clock ran under 30 seconds in the first quarter.
On second down, Flowers found a huge hole in the Century line. He juked a defender and was gone for a long 47-yard score. The TD gave Westminster a 7-0 lead and the Owls didn’t look back.
Westminster has beaten county opponents by a combined 113-0 score in the last three weeks.
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Century hasn’t beat Westminster since 2009, and the Knights won four in a row before the Owls started their own winning run in the series. They’ve won nine in a row against Century.