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MINSTER — A missed extra point last week against Versailles may not have closed the door on Minster’s playoff hopes, but it did make Week 9 a must-win for the 5-3 Wildcats.
The 21-20 loss last week dropped Minster to eighth in the latest projected computer points rankings. That means the Wildcats (5-3, 3-3 MAC) will have to at least split their final two games and may need some help to get into the post season.
“We’ve got to get refocused quickly,” Minster coach Nate Moore said. “It was a tough loss and we cannot do anything to change it. We have to spend all our time and energy preparing for Parkway.”
Last week, the Wildcats surrendered an uncharacteristic 300 yards passing to Versailles. Minster pulled within one with 1:41 left in the game but a missed PAT left the Wildcats one point short of essentially controlling their own playoff destiny.
This week, the Wildcats travel to Parkway to take on a 3-5 Panthers team that is looking to play spoiler. Moore said his team needs to remain balanced on offense and control Parkway’s spread offense in order to come out with a win.
“They are a spread-type team and they have a very good quarterback,” Moore said. “He’s a really good player and he runs very well and keeps plays alive. So defensively, we will have to make sure we do our best to limit the plays that get extended beyond four to five seconds. He’s best when he has the ball in his hands and we will have to corral him and shut him down.”
On offensive, Moore expects to attack Parkway’s cover-3 defense with short passes and an effective ground game. The Panthers are the league’s worst defense, surrendering more than 38 points per game.
“Any time you play a zone team, you have to be aware of where the guys are and where they aren’t,” Moore said of his quarterback Adam Niemeyer. “He has to do a good job of confirming a pre-snap read and throw the ball where there is no coverage, in the seams and the flats.”
Heading into the Versailles game, Minster was projected as the No. 6 seed in Division VI, Region 24. The loss knocked them back two spots. Marion Local is the No. 1 seed, followed by Fort Loramie. Minster needs a win Friday and Fort Loramie to win out to keep its playoff hopes alive.
“If we lose to Parkway, we are done,” Moore said, noting his team must focus on the Panthers and not next week’s game against Coldwater. “It’s a tough opponent and I know that if we don’t have momentum going into Coldwater, our options look bleak. Everyone owes it to themselves and more than anything to the senior class to stay focused and do what they can to get this win. It’s important for securing a winning season and important for securing a playoff berth. We feel like our backs are against the wall this week, not next week.”
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
NOTES: Parkway’s defense is allowing 38.8 points per game, tied for the most in the MAC with New Bremen. Minster is 3-3 in its last six games with the Panthers. Adam Niemeyer is 80 yards away from a 1,000 passing season. Minster is outscoring its opponent 40-13 in the fourth quarters of games this year. The Wildcats are plus-4 in takeaways this season.
New Bremen take on tough challenge of playing Coldwater
NEW BREMEN — Going into the fourth quarter of last week’s football game against the Parkway Panthers the New Bremen Cardinals had everything going for it with a 28-7 lead.
That all went away in the fourth quarter as the Panthers scored 27 points to force overtime against the Cardinals and they defeated them 41-40 in overtime.
“We missed one heck of an opportunity,” New Bremen head coach Rob Messick said. “Friday night was probably one of the lowest points that I have had in athletics. The kids had a real tough time with it too. Obviously we are in a little bit of shock and it was real emotional for us.”
“It is Tuesday and I’m still feeling it,” Messick added. “You have to pick yourself up and that is life. Adversity hits and bad things happen. If you sit and dwell on it you won’t get anything done.
“(Quarterback) Elliott Westerbeck said it best,” Messick said. “We will just have to get it done this week. That is the type of attitude that you have to have.”
New Bremen’s task of moving on isn’t made any easier by who is on the other side of the field this week.
This week the Cardinals travel to an angry Coldwater squad. The Cavs lost a 7-0 game to Marion Local last Friday.
“They are a very good team defensively,” Messick said. “Offensively they are not the typical Coldwater team. They are good, but they are not high powered. They are a little more ball control. They don’t have as many of those big plays.”
New Bremen will face a hard-nosed Coldwater defense that is giving up a MAC-leading 10.5 points per game.
“We will have to do some counters and things like that,” Messick said. “They are more of a team aspect on offense instead of having only one or two players that you have to worry about.”
Game time is 7:30 Friday at Coldwater.
Marion Local and Delphos St. John's play titantic MAC battle
Perennial state title contenders Marion Local (7-1) and Delphos St. John's (5-3) likely will both be headed for the postseason no matter the outcome of Friday night's game at Stadium Park on Saturday night, but a home playoff game push and a Midwest Athletic Conference title is definitely in play for both of the area football powers.
Marion Local is the second-ranked team in the state in Division VI and is atop Region 24's computer points standings with only a season-opening loss to Shawnee blemishing the record.
Delphos St. John's is currently third in its Region 22.
The Blue Jays won last year's match up 17-13. DSJ went on to win the state championship, while Marion Local made it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Minster.
Neither team has been flashy, playing a no-nonsense style of running the ball effectively and relying on stingy defenses.
Marion Local is giving up just 10.6 points per game and Delphos St. John's defense relents just 13 points per game.
Elsewhere in the MAC, St. Henry goes to Fort Recovery and Anna travels to Versailles.