With senior defensive back Tim Irvin out of the lineup because he was making an official recruiting visit to the University of Texas this weekend, junior Akil Oliver knew that he would be tested by the New Generation Prep offense.
Oliver stepped up and passed the test. Oliver was targeted on three passing plays in the early going. But he made the Lions pay as he intercepted all three passes, which led to two quick Warriors touchdowns. The Warriors finished the regular season with a clock-shortened 35-0 blowout over New Generation Prep to finish at 9-1. They will host Cardinal Newman in a first-round playoff game next week.
When Lions quarterback Tyberious Horne decided to look the other way after Oliver’s first interception and test the other corner, Tobias Moss, all Moss did was pick off the pass and return it 70 yards for the second Westminster touchdown in the first quarter.
“Akil is a guy that has a load of talent, and it was just waiting to come out,” Warriors’ coach Sedrick Irvin said. “He has grown as a player since he got here, and he went through some adversity with his father passing when he first got here. But he is going to be a great player for us in the future. Our secondary really locked them down [Saturday], but we expected that.”
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The coaches agreed, after a 28-point Westminster first quarter, to eliminate half of the second quarter. They also shortened the second half to two six-minute quarters as opposed to the normal 12. They also had a running clock in the second half.
To further complicate matters, New Generation arrived 45 minutes late because its bus malfunctioned. Westminster officials sent their own bus to bring in the 16-member Lions’ team so that it could play their annual homecoming game, which also doubled as senior day where graduating seniors were honored at halftime.
“It was an experience that these kids will never forget. We want to be like them someday,” said Lions’ coach Victor Evans. “I’d rather play a team like them and have my kids learn from it than play a schedule of JV teams and face lesser quality. It’s a rough ride when you only have 16 kids in the school that can stand up with you.”
Nevertheless, Coach Irvin said that his team is ready for the playoffs to begin.
“The regular season is over, it’s not coming back,” Irvin said. “Now it is time that we finish what we started and prove ourselves all over again.”