No. 17 Westminster rolls Liberty for first in Carroll County football; Etchison tosses 3 TDs (VIDEO HERE!!)
After his football team’s victory over Liberty High Friday evening, Westminster coach Matt Study commended the performance. The No. 17 Owls put everything together in all phases in a 44-7 dismantlement of the Lions in a Carroll County match in Eldersburg.
In front of a huge Liberty Homecoming audience, Westminster played arguably its best game of the season. The defense came up with three turnovers and scored twice. The special teams had a blocked punt and fumble recovery on a kickoff, and the offense delivered four touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Christian Etchison threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns for the Owls (6-1 overall, 5-0 Carroll), and wideout Zane Lewis hauled in four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Tavian Montgomery started the rout, picking off Liberty quarterback Nolan Karfonta (32 yards passing and 73 yards rushing) and returning it for a 35-yard touchdown.
“Every game is different and we put in a really hard week of practice … and if our defensive line doesn’t get pushed and we don’t cover the right receivers then that interception never happens,” Montgomery said.
Evan Warren added a 37-yard field goal four minutes into the second quarter for a 10-0 advantage. Etchison threw first touchdown of the night to Lewis, who caught the ball 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, beat a Liberty defender and streak down the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown.
“We were a little slow to start, I’m not going to make excuses and a little bit of it was on me,” Etchison said. “It’s the best feeling when you know things start clicking, when you know you are going to do well, I love throwing short routes and watching [Lewis] run and Roman’s catch in the back of the end zone was incredible.”
The Owls’ passing attack struck again as Etchison connected with Roman Hawkins on a 32-yard fade route on the right side of the field, giving Westminster a 24-0 lead at halftime. Owl special teams started things in the second half with Brandon Allen’s blocked punt, giving the visitors 1st-and-goal at Liberty’ 10.
Three plays later, Etchison found Logan Nave in the middle of the end zone.
“We tell these guys that you have to do your job and they feed off of each other and push each other and it’s constant competition at practice,” Study said. “We have playmakers all over the place and at some point somebody’s going to get loose and it’s just a matter of time, our game plan was to get some of those one on one matchups and get Liberty to go into man-to-man coverage.”
Late in the third, Buttiglieri recovered a mishandled Liberty snap in the end zone for another Owl score and a running clock. It didn’t stop until the final two minutes of regulation as Liberty (5-2, 2-2 Carroll) got its lone score – a 20-yard pass from Tyler Margruder to Chris Darminio.
“We took it as a disrespectful thing — you usually choose a cake team to play for Homecoming,” said Montgomery, “and they chose us so that really fired us up.”
No. 17 Westminster 44, Liberty 7
Westminster 7 17 13 7 -44
Liberty 0 0 0 7 – 7
Westminster: Tavian Montgomery 35 interception return (Warren kick)
Westminster: Warren 37 field goal
Westminster: Zane Lewis 69 pass from Christian Etchison (Warren kick)
Westminster: Roman Hawkins 32 pass from Etchison (Warren kick)
Westminster: Logan Nave 11 pass from Etchison (conversion failed)
Westminster: Buttiglieri fumble recovery in end zone (Warren kick)
Westminster: Birdow 11 pass from Kent (Warren kick)
Liberty: Darminio 20 pass from Magruder (Disbrow kick)