Minster, Versailles has playoff implications

MINSTER — Riding a three-game winning streak, the Minster Wildcats will play host to the Versailles Tigers in a pivotal MAC game Friday night.

The Wildcats (5-2, 3-2 MAC) is coming off a 34-7 win over St. Henry last week that moved the team into a tie for third-place in the league with the Tigers. Minster coach Nate Moore said he team played tough and physical against the Redskins — something he said needs to continue against Versailles (5-2, 3-2 MAC).

“I think that was a pretty good team we played — they’re about the best 1-5 team around,” Moore said. “They were very physical and tried some things. Our kids just played really well. I think we had a good night as far as hitting. There were some big-time hits out there.”

Minster limited St. Henry eight first downs and a mere 157 yards of total offense. In the last three games, Minster has allowed only 21 points.

“It does affect how you call a game,” Moore said of his stout defense. “In those key situations, where with a normal defense you might feel like you cannot go for it, you can. We can also play a little more conservative and know that we’ve got this great defense behind us. It lets you be one extreme or the other.”

The ground game paced the Wildcats last week. Minster amassed 227 rushing yards. Korey Schultz tallied 151 yards on just 10 carries, including a 78-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Adam Niemeyer chipped in with 149 yards through the air, including a pair of touchdowns. That balance has been a calling card for the Wildcats this year.

“If you are being successful in one thing, it sets up the other,” Moore said. “If you have balance, then you just don’t have that one thing that you are working on. We just see what gets going — if it’s the ground game early, then the defense will have to adjust and that opens up the passing game. We were much closer last week to being a really balanced team.”

Moore said Niemeyer has shaken off a tough start and settled into being the leader of the offense.

“He’s settling in and becoming a good quarterback,” Moore said. “He’s blessed with a tremendous amount of natural ability and he is settling into his role as the quarterback for us. He’s realizing you don’t have to win the game on every throw. Be a manager and complete passes when they are there and he’s made some big-time throws for us.”

Versailles enters the game with an offense that is averaging more than 30 points a game. Moore said the Wildcats must contain the Tigers’ sophomore quarterback in order to maintain momentum.

“If you look at him on tape, you’d be surprised he’s a sophomore,” Moore said of Nick Campbell. “He throws a good ball and runs really hard. He’s the key to their offense. We’ll try to rattle his cage and slow him down a bit.”

On offense, Moore expects his team to attack the Tigers’ cover zero secondary. A strong effort from the offensive line will be necessary to neutralize Versailles’ eight-man fronts.

“It’s a good defense,” Moore said. “They are very aggressive in their base defense and it’s in your face. It will be a big challenge for our guys to establish the run and our skill kids, we’re looking at seeing a lot of man coverage and they will have to shake their man and get open so we can complete some passes.”

A win would also go a long way in helping to solidify Minster’s playoff drive. Minster currently sits in the No. 6 spot in Division VI, Region 24 — the same region that Fort Loramie sits atop. Versailles in No. 10 in Division V, Region 20.

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

NOTES: Minster is 2-4 against Versailles in the last six games. Minster’s defense is allowing 10.3 points per game, tops in the MAC. Versailles is averaging 35.4 points per game, second in the league.

Scoring By Quarters              1       2       3          4     F
MINSTER                                     50      68     36       34   188
OPPONENTS                               23      22     21         6      72

Minster Rushing        233 carries    1266 yards
OPP.  Rushing             245 carries    626  yards
Minster Passing          82-144    860 yards  8 TD  8 INT
OPP. Passing                59-119     775 yards   6 TD  6 INT

Rushing                       Att.    Yards    YPC    TDs
Troy Kaufman                  86       510       5.9       8
Korey Schultz                   60       440      7.3        5
Adam Niemeyer               46       190      4.1         4

Passing                      Comp.  Att. Yards   TDs  INTs
Adam Niemeyer               81      143    847        8         8

Receiving                    Catches     Yards    YPC    TDs
Daniel Gusching             34                   342        10.1    3
Devon Poeppelman        17                   132         7.8    4
Derek Collins                     9                   186       20.7    0

Daniel Gusching            47
Clay Bornhorst              42

Versailles and Minster rosters are attached below.