Second Half Comeback Not Enough in Blue Jay Football Loss at MacMurray

Second Half Comeback Not Enough in Blue Jay Football Loss at MacMurray

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. - Westminster football outscored the MacMurray Highlanders 14-0 in the second half, but it wasn't enough to overcome the first half deficit.

The Blue Jays fall to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. 

The Highlanders opened scoring in the game just 40 seconds in on their first drive, sailing a 64-yard pass over the defense to take a quick 7-0 lead. 

The Westminster defense held MacMurray to two field goals in the second quarter, but the Highlanders completed one last long pass to take a 19-0 lead going into halftime. 

Westminster came out in the second half, scoring just minutes into the third quarter on a short pass completion from Trent White to Ross Trittler, who tallied his first career touchdown with the score. The drive took nine plays with the Blue Jays marching 65 yards down the field over four minutes.

"We changed up a few things on offense during halftime and we start clicking more," said Westminster Head Coach John Welty. "We had a couple nice catches that were pivotal in getting us jump started. Matt Huffman caught a pass that gave us a spark and a boost that we needed on offense."

Westminster's defense continued to force the Highlanders to punt and forced a turnover with a Jordan Shockley interception, making the Highlanders go scoreless for the entirety of the half.

The second Blue Jays score of the half came in the fourth quarter, giving Westminster a chance to take the win in the final minutes of the game. With 4:19 on the clock, White completed a 25-yard pass to Matt Quarles for a touchdown to make the score 19-14 in favor of the Highlanders. 

The Blue Jay defense continued to play shutout football, forcing a punt on the next Highlander possession to give the Blue Jays another shot on offense. White threw an interception on an attempt at connecting with Quarles on another long pass, giving the ball back to MacMurray with 1:37 on the clock. 

"Our defense showed us what we're capable of when we get it done on offense," said Welty. "Outside of their two scoring plays, our defense did everything right."

While the Highlanders attempted to run the clock out, the Blue Jay defense added another turnover, this time on a forced fumble by Ben Holt with the recovery from Ryan Harlan, giving Westminster one last chance to score with 1:08 to play. 

Matt Huffman caught a White pass for a first down, but the top-ranked MacMurray defense stifled the Blue Jay offense with lockdown defense, ensuring a win for the Highlanders. 

White went 14-33 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Kalyn Davis led the team in rushing with 68 yards on 24 attempts. Six different Blue Jays caught a pass for Westminster, led by Huffman with three catches for 52 yards and Quarles with four catches for 49 yards. 

On the defense, Jackson Ringhausen and Ben Heimann led the way with 11 tackles apiece.

Westminster stays on the road to face Martin Luther Oct. 13. 

"We have an opportunity next weekend to knock off a great team," said Welty. "Losing the last three games by a total of 11 points shows us that we are right there. I feel good about going into the week because of how we played in the second half. I know that something is going to break our way soon."