Ironically, it was the “wildcat” that ultimately did in Westminster, in another tight ballgame against rival Lovett.
Lion senior Crawford Schweiger took a shotgun snap in the “wildcat” formation and bulled his way to a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-one from the Wildcat 35-yard line, to seal a 21-14 win for Lovett in the 30th edition of the “Battle of Buckhead,” Friday night at Lovett’s Memorial Stadium at Conley-Oakley Field.
The Lovett senior class, which includes Schweiger, had not beaten the Wildcats in three tries. Senior, like Schweiger, figured prominently in the win and in two of three big plays that made the difference for the Lions.
Late in the first quarter, with Lovett trailing 3-0 after Westminster all-state candidate Charlie Hamm nailed a career-best 50-yard field goal, Lovett forced the Wildcats to punt from deep in their own territory. Junior David Shepherd busted through the middle of the line and blocked the kick, and senior William Beery recovered in the end zone to put the Lions ahead 7-3, after the successful point after kick by Henry Beery.
Both teams struggled maintaining drives throughout, as the defenses dominated. But late in the second quarter, Westminster took advantage of a mistake by Lovett to slice into the lead, when the Lions shanked a punt that travelled just 13 yards and set the Wildcats up at the Lovett 40 yard line. Westminster moved to the 11-yard line after a 9-yard gain on first down by Joe Egan. But the Wildcats were stuffed on two consecutive running plays after that and had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Ham to narrow the gap to 7-6 at halftime.
Lovett’s next big play was made by its defense on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, when junior linebacker Nick Jackson plucked a fumble by Egan out of the air near midfield and returned it to the Westminster 11-yard line. After Jackson plowed to the 5-yard line on first down, junior KJ Wallace took a handoff from quarterback Evan McKown, started left, then cut hard back to his right and danced into the end zone to push the Lions’ lead to 14-6.
After going three-and-out on its next possession, Westminster went to the air the next time it had the ball. The Wildcats took possession on their 11-yard line and mounted the best drive of the game by either team. Nine plays in senior Miles Davis ran in from five-yard out, and a two-point conversion pass from Ward Croft to Egan, tied the game at 14-14. Croft completed passes on the first three plays of the possession and finished the drive 3-of-4 for 54 yards.
The third big play for Lovett was the dagger. With a little more than four minutes left in regulation, the Lions took possession on their 20-yard line after Ham narrowly missed a 57-yard field goal attempt. On the first play from scrimmage, a busted coverage by the Westminster secondary left senior Evan McKown all alone down the near sideline. Sophomore quarterback Blaine McAllister spotted him and lofted a rainbow pass to McKown who sprinted in for an 80-yard touchdown to give Lovett the lead again.
Westminster couldn’t respond on its ensuing possession and punted the ball back to Lovett at the Lions’ 35-yard line with 3:05 left in the game. Lovett picked up a first down after two plays, and on fourth-and-one from the Westminster 35 with 1:41 remaining, Schwieger’s run sealed the deal.
Lovett 7 0 7 7 21
Westminster 3 3 8 0 14
W – Charlie Ham 50 fg
L – Wiliam Beery recovers blocked punt (David Shepherd) in end zone (Henry Beery kick)
W – Ham 28 fg
L – KJ Wallace 5 run (Beery kick)
W – Miles Davis 5 run (Egan pass from Ward Croft)
L – Evan McKown 80 pass from Blaine McAllister (Berry kick)