South Hagerstown’s cheerleaders held an oversized poster with that phrase painted on it, and the Rebels players broke through it when they entered the field prior to Friday’s Class 3A West Region semifinal against Westminster.
This was the Rebels’ first time hosting a playoff game in program history, but the home team could not hold off the Owls for a second time this season and the Owls prevailed 24-21.
The Owls (8-3) will get a rematch with Linganore in the 3A West Region final for the second year in a row — the Lancers routed Blake 45-8 on Friday to advance.
Westminster senior quarterback Christian Etchison led the Owls down the field on their first drive, but the Rebels came up with a pair of defensive stops to force the Owls to attempt a field goal. Junior kicker Joey Long’s 20-yarder was sent through the uprights to give the Owls a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Owls held the Rebels to two three-and-outs on their first drives, containing senior running back Jayswah Sanon. Owls senior Jaden Louis sneaked through the Rebels’ defense for a 6-yard score with 3 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first half, but the extra point was sent high over Long’s head and fumbled.
It didn’t take long for Sanon to find his feet.
The first half neared its end when Sanon caught a Westminster punt and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. He sprinted down the left sideline, cut in through the center and into the end zone to put the Rebels on the board. The Owls held a two-point lead at the half, 9-7.
Senior quarterback Timmy Townsend found Naeem Watson for a 20-yard touchdown to open the second half scoring for the Rebels (8-3) and the home team led 14-9.
The Owls responded on their next drive after the Rebels were handed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Etchison connected with senior receiver Tavian Montgomery on a 13-yard scoring catch, and the Owls converted a 2-point conversion to pick up a 17-14 lead.
A 1-yard rush from Sanon gave the Rebels the lead again as time expired in the third quarter. Etchison found Clatterback for a 12-yard gain into Rebels’ territory early in the fourth, and Louis ran for a 7-yard score to put the Owls up 24-21.
Louis’s second touchdown of the game proved to be the game-winner, and Westminster won at South Hagerstown for the second time this fall. The Owls beat the Rebels 19-18 back in Week 2 on a field goal in the final seconds.