Josh Edlund Grounds Blue Jays in Crown College 29-21 Win
Despite the fact that Fulton, MO is over 1000 miles away from the East Coast, the Westminster Blue Jays got a taste of a Storm that rolled through town. No, Hurricane Joaquin did not make some dramatic turn. This Storm came from Crown College, who pounded out 291 yards on the ground, 195 by junior Josh Edlund, on their way to a 29-21 victory.
The Crown College defense set the tone early, holding the Blue Jays off of the scoreboard through the first half. Westminster had the ball six times, including starting a drive at the Crown 35-yard-line, yet each time the Storm defense stood tall.
The offense for Crown College set the tone on their very first drive, proving that Offensive Coordinator Adam Hayes is not afraid to go for the knockout blow early in a game. Two weeks ago his offense scored a touchdown on each of their first two plays of the game, and today it took them two plays to get a quick score.
The Blue Jays went for a little trickery to begin the game, going for the onside kick that failed, giving the Storm the ball at the Westminster 46. After a one-yard loss on the first play of the drive, QB Brandon McCormick went deep for Terrell Thomas who made a nice catch and then cruised in for the 47-yard touchdown. It was just 63-seconds into the game and Crown College already led.
The Blue Jays were forced to punt after gaining just 15-yards on the possession, but their second drive began at the Storm 35 after McCormick was sacked by Brett Simon and fumbled. Kinge Ndanga recovered the ball and Westminster was ready to go to work. They moved the ball down the field, taking six plays to reach the 10-yard line. It was fourth and 5 there and the Blue Jays went for the field goal, but the 26-yarder was missed, keeping the score at 7-0.
On the Blue Jays next possession, they moved from their own 35 to the Crown 21. It was third and 5 when Latif Adams attempted to run for the first down, but Josh Brozek and Tyler Byrd closed quickly to drop Adams for a two-yard loss. That brought up fourth and 7. Eain Roberts faded back to pass, but a resilient Jalen Phoenix was not to be stopped, dropping the Blue Jays quarterback for a 13-yard loss, giving the ball to the Storm on downs.
The big defensive stand gave the offense back the ball with just 30 seconds left in the first quarter. This was a drive of thirds in a manner of speaking. Matt Michaud took the first two carries of the drive, gaining 11-yards. McCormick then passed on the next three plays, with the first two falling incomplete, but then McCormick found Trey Peace near the sideline for 21-yards and a first down. Michaud then gained four more, before the offense was turned over to Edlund. He gained 16-yards combined on the first two-plays, then scored from 12-yards out to make it 14-0.
Both teams were able to move the ball on each of their next two possessions, but neither could sustain enough of a drive to put points on the board. The Blue Jays punted on both possessions, while the Storm turned the ball over on downs each time. Westminster took a knee on their last possession of the first half to send both teams to the locker room with Crown College leading by 14.
In the third quarter the home team was able to mount a comeback. The Blue Jays took the opening kickoff and methodically moved down the field in 14-plays before Adams scored from four-yards out to make it 14-7. The 65-yard drive took 8:23 off the clock and saw the Blue Jays convert four third-down into first downs.
Crown College responded with a big drive of their own, moving 61-yards in seven-plays before Michaud scored from one-yard out to extend the lead back to two touchdowns. Edlund only carried the ball twice on the drive, but one of those was a huge 33-yard dash that moved the ball to the Westminster four. Two plays later Michaud scored and, following the two-point conversion, the score was 22-7.
The Westminster Blue Jays responded right away. They went on an 11-play drive that eclipsed 4:21 off of the clock. Roberts moved the ball well with both his arm and his legs. His first down carry at the Crown 14 went to the five. From there Jack Williams found a seam and scored to make it 22-14.
Then the defense stiffened again. The Blue Jays punted and then turned the ball over on downs on their next two possessions.
Meanwhile Edlund was having a fine day keeping the ball in the hands of the Storm offense. He carried the ball nine times over the next three possessions, finally breaking one free for a 36-yard touchdown to extend the lead back to two scores.
Trailing 29-14 the home team was able to mount one more drive. Following a 37-yard kick return that put the ball at the Crown 38, Roberts led his team to the four, where Williams scored for his second touchdown of the game. That made it 29-21.
Westminster attempted an onside kick and looked like they had a shot when Peace fumbled, but he quickly recovered to keep the ball in the Storm’s hands. Three plays later the game was over.
The victory moved Crown College to 2-3 (2-2) on the season, while Westminster dropped their first conference game of the year (3-2, 3-1). Edlund led the Crown College offense with 25-carries for 192-yards and 2 touchdowns. Michaud also had an outstanding day on the ground as well, carrying the ball 18-times for 95-yards and a score. Peace had 4-catches for 55 yards, and McCormick threw for 127-yards and a TD.
For the Blue Jays, Adams had 106-yards rushing a TD. Williams had just the two carries but scored on both. Mike Washington had 5-catches for 54-yards.
On defense Jalen Phoenix had two sacks and 5 total tackles. Christ Strange led the team in tackles with 8 and had an interception.
By Robert Pannier