Imagine you're a junior quarterback, comfortably placed behind a senior who returns after leading the county in regular season passing yards. It's an opportunity to grow under a player who showed great promise a year before, in an offense that relies heavily on its signal-caller for success.
Then imagine that hours before the season-opener, you learn that you'll have to lead the offense because your starter is sick.
It's not an easy situation to deal with, yet that's where Braden Davis found himself Friday night. Senior Chris Lang — the expected starter after a breakout 2014 campaign — was diagnosed with mononucleosis just hours before kickoff, likely sidelining him for a few weeks.
That meant that Davis was thrust into, arguably, the team's most important role. And to add even more pressure, the game against the Bulldogs was the first test for an independent Westminster team on the prowl for playoff points.
"Obviously we run a passing offense," Owls coach Matt Study said after Friday's game. "That changes some things."
Davis twice fumbled in the first half, but generally, his play wasn't the reason for Westminster's lopsided 54-21 loss. Sophomore Chase Birdow also relieved Davis late in the second half and put together an impressive drive that ended with a Caleb Smalls running score. Official stats weren't readily available for this edition.
Study guessed that Lang could be back in three weeks, but due to the uncertainty of the illness and pending additional doctor appointments, he wasn't able to give a concrete date.
In the meantime, the Owls will have to rely on their pair of backups.
"[Braden] Davis, he did some things well, and he did some things that we need to work on," the coach added. "Being put in, at the last minute, don't get me wrong, all our guys, they get their work all during practice. So everybody's prepared."
The Falcons took down Patterson Mill, 21-9, for their first season-opening victory since 2011.
Miller's team ended last year with a victory at Francis Scott Key, 33-27, giving the program two consecutive victories. The last time the team won multiple games in a row was a three-week streak to end the 2012 season.
Patrick Brown threw a pair of touchdowns, and Jason Utz added another on the ground for Winters Mill, which travels to Bohemia Manor this Friday.
SC's Kelly off to fast start
Taking on North Hagerstown in his first game since committing to the University of Maryland, South Carroll's Silas Kelly turned in a performance to remember in the team's opener. The senior recorded an interception and returned it for a touchdown, and added another receiving score on offense for 27 yards.
He also finished with four tackles against the Hubs. The Cavs won easily, 40-2, in the weather-shortened game.
Liberty sophomore lineman Zachary Morris was honored earlier this summer as an Offense-Defense All-American at a camp in Myrtle Beach, SC. He has been invited to participate in the annual Offense-Defense Bowl Week festivities in Daytona Beach, Fla. from Dec. 28 to Jan. 2.
The Offense-Defense All-American Showcase is part of a series that includes the 10th All-American Bowl - an all-star game that puts 80 of the top high school seniors in the country on display.
Current NFL players Cam Newton, Joe Haden, Earl Thomas and Dez Bryan all participated in the past.