Long Reach's magnificent seven - its four defensive linemen and three linebackers - shut down Westminster's running game and helped the No. 13 Lightning to a season-opening, 12-0 victory yesterday at Long Reach.
The victory was especially sweet for Class 3A Long Reach because Westminster is a Class 4A school. That means bonus playoff points for the Columbia team.
Westminster, a late schedule replacement after it was decided last spring that the newest Howard County school, Reservoir, would play a JV schedule, was the second 4A school Long Reach has ever played - and the Lightning has won both.
Long Reach controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, but the defensive line of Justin Pruitt, Terrell Blackwell, Kaleb Walters and Ryan Pope was dominant. Linebackers Lionel Dorsey, Jereme Scott and Rob Onolfi combined to hold Westminster to 77 yards rushing.
"It was a battle all the way," said Blackwell. "That's a real good football team, and their quarterback [Brad Baer] was something special. He was great."
Blackwell, who also played tight end, threw the block that sprang fullback Davon Gilmore for the game's first touchdown, a 48-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
Long Reach didn't score again until the last play of the third quarter - a 10-yard run by Scott. That touchdown was set up by Anthony Rogers' 47-yard punt return to Westminster's 16-yard line.
Gilmore, Rogers and Scott combined for 244 yards rushing. Gilmore carried 10 times for 99 yards. Rogers carried 13 times for 86 yards. And Scott carried 13 times for 59 yards.
Westminster's Baer, who repeatedly scrambled out of trouble, completed seven of 14 passes for 114 yards, and teamed up most effectively with Jason Stone, who caught five passes for 83 yards. Stone also had an interception in the end zone.
Blackwell, Dorsey and Walters each had one sack for Long Reach. Lance Hayden had an interception on a ball that went into and out of the hands of a Westminster receiver.
No. 12 Patterson 49, Northwestern 0: Thomas Smith ran for three touchdowns and a two-point conversion and made seven tackles to give Clippers coach Roger Wrenn his 200th career victory.