SIDNEY — In a rematch of last year’s division VI regional final, Minster defeated Lehman Catholic 41-13 at Sidney Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
The Wildcats now head into next Saturday night’s showdown against defending conference champion Delphos St. John’s with a 2-0 record.
“We’re happy to get out of here with a victory. We’re going to enjoy it tonight, but we don’t feel like we played as good as we could’ve played,” said Minster head coach Nate Moore. “We need to get a lot better in the next seven days, I know that. Good things out here, but a lot of things that need to be corrected.”
Minster capitalized quickly as running back Troy Kauffman ran 11 yards for the first score just 93 seconds into the game for an early 7-0 lead.
Minster’s Korey Schulz scooped up a fumble on a backwards pass and ran it in for a short score as Minster led 14-7 with 10:44 remaining in the second quarter.
“Anytime you score on defense or special teams, that’s a huge momentum shift; that’s a huge morale boost for your team and it’s a huge momentum downer for the other team,” said Moore. “So that’s unfortunate for them and luckily it worked out for us.”
Minster began its next possession on its own 49-yardline. Following gains on the ground by Niemeyer and Kauffman, Kauffman ran 20 yards for the score. Minster led 21-7 with 5:56 remaining in the half.
Minster took over at the Lehman 40-yardline with just over 4 minutes remaining in the half. Following a fourth and one conversion by Kauffman, Niemeyer hooked up with Daniel Gusching on a 19-yard pass to bring up first and goal from the 7-yardline. Niemeyer soon snuck up the middle for a one-yard touchdown run. Minster headed into the locker rooms with a 27-7 lead.
The second half started much like the first half did for the Cavs, with Minster again scoring within the first two minutes.
Lehman’s Davis was hit on a pass attempt and Minster’s Jay Eilerman came away with an interception return for a touchdown. Poeppelman’s kick was good and the Cats led 34-7 just 82 seconds into the second half. The score would hold up into the fourth quarter.
With 9:29 left in the game, Lehman scored, capping off a lengthy drive that began with 3:20 left in the third quarter. Skylar Brown ran the short score in for the Cavs. The extra point was no good and Lehman still trailed by 21 with limited time remaining.
A 24-yard pass from Niemeyer to Ethan Wolf preceded a 21-yard touchdown pass on a screen pass from Niemeyer to Kauffman. Minster led 41-13 with 7:54 remaining, all but sealing the victory for the Cats.
“Screens are one of those things where typically, if a defense is trying to get after the quarterback and trying to get everybody covered, there’s a possibility for somebody who’s not going to be eyeing somebody up that they should be eyeing up,” explained Moore.
Minster will travel to Delphos St. Johns next Saturday night.
“They’re a very good football team. They’re the defending (Midwest Athletic Conference) champs,” said Moore. “I know this, we’ve got our hands full.”
MIN 7 20 7 7 — 41
SLC 7 0 0 6 — 13
Team stats MIN SLC
First downs 13 17
Rushing 163 183
Passing 7-15-91 6-14-50
MIN — Troy Kaufman 10-49, Adam Niemeyer 7-47, Korey Schultz 6-41. SLC — Dan Davis 15-80, Andrew Gilardi 14-35.
MIN — Adam Niemeyer 7-15-91, TD. SLC — Dan Davis 6-14-50, TD, INT.
MIN — Gusching 3-28, Ethan Wolf 2-37, Kaufman 1-22, TD.