Minster's stingy defense shuts down St. Henry

ST. HENRY — Minster raked in its third straight Midwest Athletic Conference win, defeating St. Henry 34-7 on Friday night.

“Our defense has been consistent just about every week and I thought they put together another good one today,” said Minster head coach Nate Moore. “I thought we really hit tonight. I thought we really hit, really well. There were some big hits out there, man.”

After three-and-outs by both schools to start the game, Minster’s Korey Schultz ran for a 60-yard gain from the Wildcats’ own 34-yardline.

Following a first-down completion from quarterback Adam Niemeyer to Daniel Gusching, Niemeyer took the up the middle for a one-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal. Devon Poeppelman’s point-after was good, giving Minster a 7-0 lead with 5:40 left in the first quarter.

After starting on their own 35-yardline thanks to a Minster kick-off that landed out-of-bounds, St. Henry drove down the field. The Redskins gained two first-downs on passes from quarterback Jeff Paul to Matt Osterholt, the second of which came on fourth-and-three. The Redskins continued to drive and Paul’s fourth-and-sixth pass from the 21-yardline fell incomplete, but Minster was flagged for defensive holding, giving St. Henry a new set of downs from the 11-yardline.

After pushing ahead to the 8-yardline, the Redskins were flagged for a chop block, bringing up second-and-17 from the 18-yardline. Minster was flagged for pass interference on fourth-and-17, bringing up another new set of downs for the Redskins.

“I felt like, we played very well on defense, minus one series where we had them stopped — must’ve been three times — and we had penalties on fourth down that gave them a first down,” said Moore. “(There was a) defensive holding. We had a roughing the passer (and a pass interference). So, we had three opportunities to get off the field and we didn’t. Other than that, the defense played well again.”

Paul soon connected with Trey Rutschilling on third-and-goal from the 10-yardline, capping off a nearly 7-minute long drive by the Redskins. The point-after try was good to tie the score at 7 with 9:49 remaining in the first half.

Minster ran the ensuing kick-off to their own 40-yardline. The Cats drove down the field thanks to a first down reception by Poeppelman and two, first down runs by Troy Kauffman, including one for 18 yards.

Things soon turned sour for Minster, however, as Niemeyer’s pass was intercepted by Jordan Bender with around 5:30 left in the half.

“Things are going to happen, mistakes are going to happen. Nobody’s perfect. We know that,” said Moore. “We knew going into the ballgame, there’s going to be things that are going to happen that are going to swing the momentum and we (have) to fight through those. That’s what great football teams do.”

Following a three-and-out by St. Henry, Minster’s offense started in St. Henry territory with less than 4 minutes remaining in the first half. Niemeyer found Daniel Gusching for a 24-yard reception on third-and-eight. On the following play, a wide-open Poeppelman caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Niemeyer. The point-after was good and Minster led 14-7 with 2:30 left in the first half.

Gusching caught a 33-yard pass on the first play of a new possession to bring up first-and-goal from the 8-yardline with about 1:10 left in the first half. Niemeyer then ran the ball in for another touchdown on first-and-goal from the 2-yardline.

Minster headed into the locker rooms up 21-7 at halftime.

Niemeyer connected with Derek Collins on a 57-yard reception to the Redskin 9-yardline. Niemeyer then hit Poeppelman for a 1-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal.

In addition to two touchdown receptions, Poeppelman remained perfect on point-after attempts as the Cats grabbed a 28-7 lead with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter.

Minster took over from their own 22-yardline with 7:33 left in the game. On the first play, Schultz took the hand-off 78 yards to the house. The extra point was no good, but Minster still led 34-7 with 7:12 remaining.

Kauffman finished with a big game last week and this week was seemingly Schultz’s turn as the junior running back finished the game with151 yards on the ground.

“We’ve got two good ones. It’s nice to have that back there, obviously,” Moore said, referring to his running backs. “They’re just taking turns, I guess. Who’s going to have the big night?”

St. Henry’s offense responded by producing a second, consecutive three-and-out.

Next Friday, Minster (5-2, 3-2) will host Versailles, while St. Henry (1-6, 1-4) will travel to Anna.

            1    2    3    4            F
MIN    7    14    7    6   —  34
SH      0      7    0    0    — 7

First Quarter

MIN – Adam Niemeyer 1 yd run (Devon Poeppelman kick), 5:40
Second Quarter
SH – Trey Rutschilling 10 yd pass from Jeff Paul (Aaron Post kick), 9:49
MIN – Devon Poeppelman 3 yd pass from Adam Niemeyer (Devon Poeppelman kick), 2:30
MIN – Adam Niemeyer 1 yd run (Devon Poeppelman kick), 0:41
Third Quarter
MIN – Devon Poeppelman 1 yd pass from Adam Niemeyer (Devon Poeppelman kick), 3:03
Fourth Quarter
MIN – Korey Shultz 78 yd run, 7:12

Team stats         MIN       SH
First downs           13              8
Rushes - yards    31-227    29-23
Passing yards       149          134
Comp - att - int    11-15-1    13-24-0
Return yards          101           41
Time of possession22:12    25:48

Individual statistics
Rushing:  Minster, Shultz 10-151, Kauffman 12-64, Gusching 3-13, Niemeyer 6-(minus 1); St. Henry, Reichert 13-13, Rutschilling 3-11, Osterholt 1-6, Luttmer 6-5, Osterholt 2-4, Uhlenhake 1-1, Paul 3-(minus 17)
Passing:  Minster, Niemeyer 11-15-1-149; St. Henry, Paul 12-23-0-102, Luttmer 1-1-0-32
Receiving:  Minster, Gusching 5-75, Poeppelman 3-13, Collins 1-45, Wolf 1-8, Kauffman 1-8; St. Henry, Osterholt 5-47, Uhlenhake 3-16, Stammen 2-46, Bender 2-15, Rutschilling 1-10