Thursday, December 12, 2013 5:20 AM
Published on: Thursday, November 29, 2012
By Brandy L. Simms
WESTMINSTER – Quince Orchard survived a scare from Westminster in Friday’s 4A state semifinal matchup.
When placekicker Justin Cohen’s potential game-winning 37-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, Quince Orchard escaped Ruby Field with a dramatic 21-19 road victory over Westminster and advanced to the 4A state championship game for the second straight year.
Quince Orchard (12-1) snapped Westminster’s 12-game winning streak and denied the Owls (12-1) a chance at capturing the first state title in the history of the Carroll County school.
Westminster entered the contest averaging 45 points per game but was held to a season-low 19 points against a stout Quince Orchard defense.
“Our defensive coordinator, Coach [John] Kelley, he designed a formation and it worked through the game,” said Quince Orchard senior linebacker Marcus Newby.
Quince Orchard senior quarterback Matt Choi outshined Westminster’s prolific senior quarterback Deryk Kern who set a new state record for touchdown passes in a single season. Kern completed 25-of-46 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns against the Cougars.
Quince Orchard’s defense kept the Owls from scoring in the second half and applied pressure on Kern throughout the game. The Cougars registered five quarterback sacks against Westminster.
Meanwhile, Choi, a converted wide receiver, accounted for all three Quince Orchard touchdowns in the Cougars’ victory. He finished with 123 yards rushing on 26 carries including two scores and completed 11-of-25 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.
“He put the team on his back,” said Quince Orchard senior tight end and defensive lineman Kieran Gregory, “and just kept running the ball hard.”
Choi scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter and added a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to help the Cougars build a 14-0 lead before Westminster stormed back. The Owls scored 19 unanswered points to take a 19-14 lead at the intermission.
Kern connected with wide receiver Garrett Bean on a 41-yard touchdown with 7:32 remaining in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 14-7. Dan Johnson later scored from three yards out but the extra point was blocked and Quince Orchard led 14-13 with 3:34 left before Kern’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Bradley Metcalf late in the second quarter. The two-point conversion pass attempt failed.
Choi tossed an 83-yard touchdown pass to Elliot Davis who outran the Westminster defense to put the Cougars ahead for good with 5:43 remaining in the third quarter.
Quince Orchard battles Wise on Friday night at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The game will mark the first ever meeting between the two programs.