xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Mervo surges past Westminster in second half for 16-6 win in Class 3A football quarterfinals

Mervo’s offense could not do much in the first half of Friday’s Class 3A state quarterfinal against Westminster.

The visiting Owls shut down the Mustangs in those first two quarters but No. 4 Mervo got its offense going just enough in the second half. Quarterback Kelin Kimbrough threw two touchdown passes, and Kiran Herman added a field goal as the Mustangs outlasted No. 14 Westminster, 16-6.

Advertisement

Mervo (12-0) advances to the state semifinals next weekend while Westminster ends its season at 9-3.

“I just reminded them [at half time] if they didn’t execute ,we’d be watching them celebrate on our field,” Mervo coach Patrick Nixon said. “We had to establish the run. When you establish the run, it helps us stay in front of the sticks.”

The Mustangs clearly were frustrated after the first half that ended with them down 6-0 as they turned the ball over twice, which set up a pair of Owl field goals. But Mervo moved the ball much better in the second half and came up with 17 points while never needing to punt.

A Westminster fumble on the first series — the Owls turned it over five times in the game — gave the Mustangs the ball at the Mervo 47. Kimbrough then threw a 23-yard pass to Tyree Williams and two plays later, the pair connected again for a touchdown.

This time, Williams made a diving catch for a 30-yard score. Herman added the extra point for a 7-6 lead with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter.

The Mustangs drove the ball to the Westminster 1-yard line on the next series but the Owls stopped Kimbrough as he tried to run left.

On their ensuing series, the Mustangs drove deep into Westminster territory, and Herman kicked a 27-yard field goal with 3:30 left in the game for a 10-6 lead.

Westminster Owls linemen Jeffrey Price/III (left) and Jack Conrad sack Mervo Mustangs quarterback Kelin Kimbrough (3) during the 2019 MPSSAA Class 4A quarterfinal at Mergenthaler Vo-Tech Fri., Nov. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
Westminster Owls linemen Jeffrey Price/III (left) and Jack Conrad sack Mervo Mustangs quarterback Kelin Kimbrough (3) during the 2019 MPSSAA Class 4A quarterfinal at Mergenthaler Vo-Tech Fri., Nov. 22, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)(Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

Malik Lindsey made an interception for Mervo on the next play and four plays later caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Kimbrough. That gave the Mustangs a 16-6 lead with 2:05 left.

Advertisement

Mervo ran into trouble on its first drive of the game when Erick Stranko picked off Kimbrough at the Mustang 28 and returned it to the 10-yard line. That gave the Owls great field position, but they couldn’t move the ball, and Evan Warren kicked a 22-yard field goal that gave Westminster a 3-0 lead.

“There definitely was a lot of [nerves] early on,” Kimbrough said. “It was a roller coaster tonight. We started making more plays. In the second half it all kind of came together.”

Both teams had turnovers late in the first half — each had an interception — but the Owls took advantage of their good fortune. Matthew Annulis intercepted Kimbrough and returned it 28 yards to the Mervo 38.

Westminster then received a break when the Mustangs were called for pass interference on a third-down play. That gave the Owls a first down at 21, and Warren came on again a few plays later and nailed a 31-yard field goal with six seconds left that gave Westminster a 6-0 halftime lead.

The defenses certainly dominated in the first half as the Owls gained just 48 yards total with both of their scores set up by turnovers.

“We’ve played well defensively all year,” Westminster coach Chris Bassler said. “We had a good game plan. We battled and I’m proud of them.”

Advertisement

Mervo did not fare much better. In fact, the Mustangs gained only 43 yards and simply could not get moving on the ground or in the air. But things got much better for Mervo in the second half and the game changed.

W - 3 3 0 0 - 6

M - 0 0 7 9 - 16

W- Warren 22 FG

W- Warren 31 FG

M- Williams 30 pass from Kimbrough (Herman kick)

M- Herman 27 FG

M- Lindsey 26 pass from Kimbrough (kick failed)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement