Around the MAC: Minster hosts Fort Recovery, New Bremen goes to Anna

Fort Recovery at Minster

MINSTER — The Minster Wildcats got back in the win column last week and they look to make another midseason run as they play host to the Fort Recovery Indians Friday night.

Minster (3-2, 1-2 MAC) used a strong defensive effort to turn away the New Bremen Cardinals 27-7. The Wildcats picked off three passes and used a strong ground attack to earn their first league win of the year.

“It was good, our kids played hard and we felt like we hit and ran around,” Minster coach Nate Moore said. “We were in control most of the game but we have a lot of straightening up to do.”

Tops on that list are penalties, which Moore called unacceptable. As the season progresses, Moore said his team needs to remain focused each and every play.

“It’s a lack of focus,” Moore said. “I think we had four encroachments and a fumbled exchange on a key fourth down that we ended up not getting. We had too many mental breakdowns on focus. It’s a battle week in and week out and we need to get those things fixed.”

Minster’s multi-headed running attack was able to grind out 148 yards against the Cardinals. That kind of ball control helped quarterback Adam Niemeyer throw for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“We ran the ball pretty well and I think our offensive coordinator called a nice game,” Moore said. “Adam threw the ball well. We didn’t have great numbers but we were efficient with the ball. We’ve gotten better with execution on offense, we’ve just got to play a little more focused and smarter. If we do those things, we’ve got a good team and they can go as far as they want.”

Fort Recovery (3-2, 1-2 MAC) is coming off a 36-35 overtime loss to Parkway. Moore said he expects to be on guard against a potent Indians offense that is averaging more than 35 points per game.

“They are a good football team, especially on offense,” Moore said. “They have three skill players who would start for anyone in the league. They like to run the ball and are a power team with multiple formations. They do a nice job on offense of getting into formations that put stress on the defense. We have to make sure our team plays hard.”

A win Friday would even Minster’s league record and leave it in position to make another run at the playoffs. The Wildcats final four opponents are St. Henry, Versailles, Parkway and Coldwater.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

NOTES: Fort Recovery is second in the MAC with 36 points per game but is giving up 33 points per game. Minster has the second ranked defense in the MAC, only giving up 11.6 points per game — 0.3 points per game behind No. 1 Marion Local. Last year, Minster beat Fort Recovery 35-7 for its most lop-sided win of the year. In the last six games, Minster is 4-2 against the Indians.

New Bremen at Anna

This Friday the Cardinals will travel to Anna to face the Rockets and they will meet a lot of talented players looking to get back on the winning side of the ledger.

“Anna has 23 seniors on the team,” Messick said. “I think every one of them are bigger than any of our players. They are big and by far they are physically superior to us.

“That will present another problem for us,” Messick said. “Defensively we will have to stop their running game. They have one of the most physical running games that we have seen this year. We feel we did some good things last week against Minster, but we didn’t do it enough so we will have to this week. We will have to be consistent and make them drive the football and we can’t give up the big play. Also we will have to gang tackle.”

Anna has not lived up to preseason expectations, coming into this week’s game with losses to Coldwater, Delphos St. John’s and Marion Local to start the MAC slate.

“They are coming off of a three game slide,” Messick and it will be their homecoming and we will need to be ready because we know they will.”

“Defensively they are strong up front,” Messick said. “That will make it difficult for us to run the football on them. We will have to get our running game going.”

Last week against the Wildcats, New Bremen tried to get their running game going.

“We still haven’t been able to run the ball as consistently as we would like,” Messick said. “Sometimes we run the ball pretty well and other times we can’t get it going.

“What is hurting us is we need to get our inside game going,” Messick said. “We will try to use Aaron Clune a little more and try to use a little bit more in the form of transition and try to spread their defense so we can run underneath them.

“Up front we have had some problems and have had to move players around on our line because of injury,” Messick said. “This will be one of the first times we will have everybody back from injury.”

Throughout the first half of the season it has been rough for the Cardinals.

“We are extremely disappointed with our performance in the first half of the season,” Messick said. “We didn’t want to be in this situation at this point. We are hoping by next week we can be playing with our full team. We are getting a few more players coming back from injury and in the first half of the season we didn’t have them kids.”

“We are playing the meat of our season now,” Messick said. “Our kids are rallying and they have kept their minds right and they are doing things in practice that if you would look at one of our practices you would never know that we haven’t won a game. The seniors are doing things to keep the team motivated and we have been playing better the last two weeks and we hope we can continue that.”

Game time is 7:30 Friday at Anna.

Coldwater at Parkway
Last Season: Coldwater 42, Parkway 0
Streaks: Coldwater has won 22 game over Parkway in the series.
Notes: Coldwater leads the all-time series between the two schools 44-6-1.
Parkway won an overtime thriller over Fort Recovery last week, 36-35.
Coldwater’s 36-19 win over Versailles in a match-up of state-ranked teams gave the Cavalier program 200 wins in MAC play. The Cavaliers hold the best winning percentage in MAC history, winning 76 percent of its MAC contests.
Coldwater stat man Chris Cron notes that wideout Drew Klosterman has throw four passes in his Coldwater high school football career. Three of them, including one last week, have gone for touchdowns.

DSJ at Versailles
Last Season: DSJ 42, Versailles 6.
Notes: Versailles lost its first game of the season last week 42-6 to Coldwater and now must take on another traditional state power in Delphos St. Johnn’s.

Marion Local at St. Henry

Last Season: Marion Local 34, St. Henry 12

Notes: Marion Local is in prime position for another playoff spot. The Flyers are fourth in Division VI, Region 24 with three straight games against Mercer County opponents upcoming (St. Henry, Parkway, Coldwater).