Football: Lions closing in on CCAL title after victory over Owls

Liberty improved to 7-0 with a 28-20 victory over Westminster in CCAL football action Oct. 12, 2018.

Ryan Luthe said Liberty’s football coaches put together a game plan that could help them be successful against Westminster on Friday — the players simply had to execute that plan to see the results they wanted on the scoreboard.

The game plan worked, the execution worked, and the Lions came away with a 28-20 victory over the Owls at Ruby Field.


Credit much of that success to the strategy of defensive coordinator Will Bristol, Lions coach Larry Luthe said.

“We’ve had three shutouts this season and Westminster was averaging 30 or 35 points per game and we held them to 20,” Luthe said. “I thought Will did a great job. Unfortunately for them, Christian got hurt and they put their backup quarterback in, so we had to adjust on the fly. We didn’t do a very good job in the first series but we came out and did what we needed to do in the second series.

“I give them all the credit in the world. They came out with a trick play and almost got us. I think they did a great job and they had a game plan for us. They had a big turnover, we turned the ball over once and made a big play. We just made one more big play than they did and that was probably the difference in the ball game.”

Westminster was driving down the field with less than two minutes to spare looking at an eight-point deficit when Owls’ quarterback Levi Brodman’s pass was intercepted by Michael Spitz in the end zone with 39.6 seconds remaining to seal the deal for the Lions (7-0, 4-0 county).

It was the Lions’ fourth interception of the game.

Senior running back Wes Kirin picked off Owls’ quarterback Christian Etchison’s pass about midway through the first quarter — it was Kirin’s first of the season. That pick helped set up a 10-yard touchdown run for Nick Henderson, his second of the game, to give the Lions a 14-0 lead over the Owls.

“It just feels great, it’s a compete momentum shift,” Kirin said. “They’re on our 20-yard line, we get a pick, we switch it. They’re about to score and we get the ball and we get to drive the whole length of the field.”

Westminster senior Tavian Montgomery picked off two of Liberty quarterback Nate Kent’s passes in the contest. He returned one 35 yards for a touchdown to trim the Lions’ 14-0 lead to make it a one-score game, 14-7.

Etchison was intercepted by Jack Bulakites and on the Lions’ next drive, Kent found Luthe for a 27-yard touchdown to put the visiting team up 21-7 with under two minutes remaining in the first half. Peyton Scheufele intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Lions’ three shutouts this season came against Walkersville, the 2016 Class 2A state champions, in Week 2 and county foes Winters Mill and South Carroll in Weeks 4 and 6. They’ve held opponents to 20 points or less through seven games and have outscored them 244-87.

Three county games remain as the regular season winds down for the Lions — Manchester Valley, Francis Scott Key and Century.

“We just try to get better every week,” Ryan Luthe, a senior running back, said. “We practice hard, we watch a lot of film, we lift and we’re constantly trying to get better. We know we have some games left, counties is obviously not over but this was a huge step to a county championship and a 10-0 season, so that’s next.”