Westminster High School suffered what might have been an inevitable defeat in its season-opening football game Thursday night. Unable to establish a consist offense, and victims of numerous letdowns on defense, the Lions lost to Robert E. Lee High, 14-7.
Lee quarterback Brian Gegg’s seven-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds remaining gave the Lancers the victory on their home field.
Afterward, Westminster Coach Stan Clark stood at midfield and counted the faults of his football team.
It took him some time.
“I’m sure we played good at times and I know we played poor at times, but all I can remember are the poor times,” he said. “We can’t afford more of those poor times this year.”
Westminster’s Matt Bailey, one of three quarterbacks used by the Lions, said changing defensive alignments by Lee confused his team.
“One play their ends were coming in and putting pressure on us, the next play they were stacking up the middle,” he said. “We didn’t know what to expect.”
Bailey, who platooned with starter Kirk Pierce, finished with three completions in eight attempts for 21 yards and one interception. Pierce was five-for-nine for 42 yards.
Lee’s winning drive covered 74 yards and took 13 plays. Twice during the Lancers’ march, it looked as if Westminster had stopped them, but a slippery ball and an improbable tipped pass conspired against the Lions and extended Lee’s drive.
On first down from midfield, Lee fullback Terrill Anderson burst up the middle, but had the ball stripped from his hands. Three Lion defenders pounced on it, but the ball squirted out from beneath them and into the hands of Lee lineman Greg Ostinato.
Later in the drive, on fourth and 12 from the Lions’ 26-yard line, Gegg rolled to his right and fired a pass to Anderson along the left sideline. The ball glanced off Anderson’s fingertips to teammate Jim Adamouski, who carried it down to the nine-yard line.
Two plays later, Gegg dove into the end zone.
Anderson was the highlight of Lee’s offense, finishing with 123 yards. Running back Gabe Blevins led Westminster’s running attack with 32 yards in five carries.
The Lions’ only points came with 7:25 left in the fourth quarter when Bailey scored on a three-yard rollout. The score was set up when linebacker Sal Fernandez recovered a Lee fumble at the 26.
Lee took a 7-0 lead by scoring on its first possession after the half. Gegg scored on a one-yard run, capping a 10-play, 61-yard drive.
The game was the second meeting between the schools in three years. Westminster won, 14-0, here in 1987.
Both teams struggled in the first half. Each team managed three first downs and combined for 77 total yards.
“We’re going to have to forget this game,” Bailey said. ‘We can’t let this get us down.”