Carroll County Times

Football: Huge first half sends Westminster to regional final

There were no surprises in this playoff game.

Westminster’s football team had too much speed and big-play capability, and it didn’t take long for that decisive edge to show Friday night, as the top-seeded Owls rolled to a 58-18 victory over Watkins Mill of Montgomery Country in a Class 3A West Region semifinal at Ruby Field.


The Owls scored 51 points in the first half to force a running clock for the second half.

“We executed really well, and putting that many points in the first half is tremendous,” said Westminster coach Matt Study, whose Owls (10-1) scored their most points in five years. “If we don’t want to pass, we don’t have to pass. We can run the ball. The offensive line played well and we were able to really get going and that’s what we wanted to do.”


The Owls advance to the regional final to play Linganore next Friday at home at 7 p.m. Westminster lost to the Lancers 50-28 in Week 3 in New Market.

“After losing to them, we knew we were going to see them again,” Study said. “They are a great program. We need to be firing on all cylinders.”

Junior running back Jaden Louis rushed for four touchdowns Friday running behind the big and physicial offensive line of Noah Boguski, Tre Price, Noah Buttiglieri, Cole Birdow, and Joe Parry.

Louis rushed for 88 yards on 12 carries scored on runs of 11, 17, 22 and 4 yards. That’s two touchdowns less than he rushed for all season.

Jaden is a really strong runner and he really hit some holes well,” Study said. “He was hobbled with an ankle sprain early in the year, but he’s recovered from that and is doing really well.”

Westminster also got some big plays Tavian Montgomery, who had two interceptions and recovered a fumble.

Montgomery recovered a fumble on the Watkins Mill 20 on the opening kickoff and the Owls capitalized. Louis ran three straight times, including 11 yards for the opening score 41 seconds into play.

It didn’t take long for Westminster to find the end zone again.


After the Owls’ defense forced a three and out, they moved 49 yards in six plays. Quarterback Christian Etchison ran five yards up the middle to make it Westminster 13-0 with 6:26 remaining.

Watkins Mill answered two plays later. Senior quarterback Markel Grant (310 yards passing) hit freshman wide receiver Kaden Prather (7 receptions, 135 yards) on a hitch to the right sideline and he beat a couple of defenders to the end zone to trim the lead to 13-6.

The rest of the game belonged to Westminster.

Senior Zane Lewis, a standout sprinter on the Westminster track team, returned a kickoff 70 yards to set up the Owls’ third touchdown. Louis capped the drive with a 17-yard run to put Westminster ahead 22-6.

Louis rushed for two more touchdowns in the half, and Erik Stranko and Nathan Kent added first-half scores.

Westminster posted its largest offensive showing since a 62-28 playoff win over Sherwood in 2012 — the Owls made it to the state semifinals that season before falling to Quince Orchard.


Watkins Mill 6 0 6 6 — 18

Westminster 22 29 0 7 — 58


W-Jaden Louis 11 run (Evan Warren kick)

W-Christian Etchison 5 run (Warren kick)

WM-Kaden Prather 41 pass from Markel Grant (Conversion failed)


W-Louis 17 run (Conversion good)

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W-Erik Stranko 1 run (Conversion good)

W-Louis 22 run (Warren kick)

W-Louis 3 run (Warren good)

W-Nathan Kent 11 run (Warren kick)

WM- Prather 21 pass from Grant (Conversion failed)


W-Austin Cartwright 20 pass from Kent (Warren kick)

WM David-Vincent Okoli 6 pass from Grant (Conversion failed)