Westminster escapes Liberty’s upset bid with 21-17 win in Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown;

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With Carroll County taking center stage during the Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown, Liberty and Westminster received pregame speeches from Ravens receivers as Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman spent time with the players before Friday night’s showdown.

“I told them to cherish it,” Flowers, who spoke to the Lions, said. “When you grow up, these are the memories that are going to be with you forever. Some of those guys will be your friends for life.”

Bateman shared similar sentiments with the Owls as the entire team quickly huddled around the 2021 first-round pick.

“I told them this time goes fast,” he said. “My whole senior year was incredible. We won a lot of games and made it pretty far. You never forget that.”

Players on both teams won’t forget the back-and-forth action Friday night as they brought a playoff-like intensity to one of the final games of the regular season. Ultimately, the Owls pulled away, 21-17, with late touchdowns from Kyrece Walker and Raquan Warfield and a game-sealing interception from Rakim Warfield.

”We knew they were going to give us a fight from the beginning,” Westminster coach Chris Bassler said. “We showed our toughness and resiliency tonight.”

It was Walker’s resiliency on display throughout the second half as the Owls needed their star quarterback to come through. Carter Kendricks and Nico Marsicano’s pressure caused Walker to fumble the ball and recover it in the end zone for a safety. But shortly after, the senior responded with a 94-yard touchdown run down the Liberty sideline to end the third quarter.

“I never put too much stock in any one play, good or bad,” Walker, who finished with two rushing touchdowns, said. “As our leader, I have to have a short memory and bounce back.”

Despite the loss Liberty, desperate to bounce back from last week’s overtime defeat in South Carroll, might have found the key to a deep playoff run: get the ball to Tristan West.

West dominated the second half in a variety of ways. With Kevin Poole out injured and the Owls focused on preventing the deep ball, West and quarterback Chase Miller gladly took the underneath yardage. West would catch a short pass and take off for huge gains.

On a key drive in the fourth quarter, West was the go-to guy, catching a deep ball to get into Owls territory. After pushing Miller into the end zone Philadelphia Eagles style, West caught the two-point conversion to put the Lions up late.

Finding his team down, it was Walker’s time yet again as he engineered the go-ahead drive to clinch the game for the Owls. When the Lions defensive line stopped runs up the middle for short gains, Walker used his speed to break outside and gain the edge over the tired Lions defenders. It was the Warfield show from then on as Raquan’s go-ahead touchdown put the Owls up.

They got the final stop they needed thanks to Rakim, as his interception sealed the deal and gave the Owls the win.

“We don’t break,” Rakim Warfield said. “We don’t back down no matter how the game goes.”

Now with the Lions in the rear view, the Owls can look ahead to next week’s winner-take-all all game at home for the county title against unbeaten Winters Mill. Bassler knows his squad can compete with anyone as they look to clinch the county title and make a deep playoff run.

“They gave us everything we can handle and we responded,” he said. “I’m proud of our guys.”


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