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Westminster football beats No. 14 South Carroll in finale, 27-14

Westminster's playoff hopes had been dashed long before Friday night's regular season finale against visiting No. 14 South Carroll, which had already won the county title, and clinched a postseason berth.

That didn't stop Noah Cain.

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The senior fielded a punt at his own 40-yard-line at the top of the fourth quarter, and took it 60 yards for the touchdown. The return gave the Owls not only a two-score cushion, but also the jolt they needed to finish the job, holding off the Cavaliers for a 27-14 victory.

"It was the perfect way to end a season. I'm speechless," Cain said. "You know, the season didn't go the way we wanted. We already knew we couldn't make the playoffs. So to come out here and battle like that, it shows a lot about our team and how we're built."

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In 11 seasons at the helm of the Westminster program, coach Brad Wilson has defeated the Cavaliers nine times. Though his team wasn't playing for its postseason life, the game still meant a lot.

"It's big for a lot of reasons," Wilson said. "It's great to send the seniors off on that note. It's great for our underclassmen going into the offseason. They're a great football team, so it's big."

Kicker Ian Gould made 22 and 33-yard field goals to give Westminster (6-2, 5-2 county) a six-point advantage early, though the home team could have done much more damage.

"We didn't finish those first two drives," Wilson said.

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On the Cavaliers' next possession, Westminster's Andrew Raines scooped up a fumble by Carroll County's leading rusher, Chris Gavin. On the Owls' second play of the ensuing drive, Raines scored on a 15-yard run.

Westminster got the ball back, and after an unsportsmanlike penalty, it had a shot in the red zone.

The next Westmisnter possession concluded when Fitzgerald scored on a 1-yard run. The play was set up by Chris Lang's quick pass to Chad Patterson, which set up first-and-goal.

The Cavaliers (7-3, 6-1) did get one score before the half amid a controversial series of events. Threatening inside Westminster territory — their first trip into the red zone — the visitors were granted an additional down on a referee error.

With seven seconds remaining before intermission, South Carroll quarterback Andrew Louder tossed an 11-yard pass to Kelly for the score. Jamar Williams ran it in for the two-point conversion to cut the Owls' lead to 12.

On Westminster's first possession of the second half, Lang tossed his second interception of the night — both of which went to Kelly.

The Cavaliers needed three plays and just 1:03 to set up Gavin for the 3-yard rushing touchdown.

Following Cain's punt return, the Owls' defense held the visitors out of the end zone for the remainder of the game. Raines, who finished with 100 yards on 14 carries, provided the final blow when he recorded a sack to end the Cavaliers' last drive.

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