Wildcats Survive, Advance To Finals

Minster’s Austin Brown (14) celebrates after the Wildcats stop Crestview at the goal line on Friday in a Division VII regional semifinal at Lima Senior’s Spartan Stadium.
Staff Writer

On a frigid night, the 4th seeded Minster Wildcats overcame a 13-point deficit and held on with a goal line stand on the final play of the game to come away with a 35-32 victory over the top seeded Crestview Knights in a Division VII, Region 28 semifinal at Spartan Stadium.

The Minster Wildcats will face up with a familiar foe next week when they will battle it out against fellow Midwest Athletic Conference team the Delphos Blue Jays at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at a site to be determined in a regional final.

With four minutes remaining in the game, down by five, the Wildcats (8-4) and their seniors marched straight down the field again for their fourth touchdown of the half.

Quarterback Jared Huelsman found the end zone again, this time from 9 yards out to give Minster a 35-32 lead after a good two-point conversion attempt.

With 1:33 left, the season on the line, the Knights (10-2) and Drew Kline took the field with two timeouts remaining.

With the ability to keep plays alive, Kline drove his team right down the field to setup the exciting finish.

After a 10-yard run by Kline to the Wildcat 7 yard line, the Knights took their final timeout. Opting to not go for the 24-yard field goal to tie the game, Crestview’s Kline took the snap, with nothing open he looked to scramble to the left, but the Wildcats defense forced him backward and to the right.

Scrambling back all the way to the 40-yard line, Kline threw one up to Wade Sheets in the back of the end zone, but the ball was tipped away and the Wildcats came away with the victory.

After a pair of turnovers on each team’s opening drives, the Knights broke a scoreless tie that lasted 19+ minutes into the game when Kline found Sheets in the corner of the end zone to give them the 7-0 lead.

On the next drive, the Wildcats marched right down the field, this time able to capitalize and score the touchdown after a 2-yard run by Huelsman, but a missed extra-point left the trailing 7-6. The explosive and quick offense of Crestview though marched right back down the field in less than two minutes to find the end zone again when Kline scrambled around until he found his man, Charles Stefanek, for the 3-yard score and give the top seeded Knights the 13-6 lead at the half.

Taking the kickoff to start the second half, the Wildcats in just three plays were able to tie the game at 13 apiece after Huelsman found his target, senior Alex Lehmkuhl, for a 47-yard touchdown pass.

But the Crestview offense came right back toi score on its next two possessions to take a 26-13.

Huelsman then led his team on a 9-play, 69-yard drive and capped it off with a 12-yard quarterback keeper to cut the Crestview lead to 26-20 with 4:38 left in the third quarter.

The Crestview offense came out and continued to control the clock, taking the game into the fourth quarter. But with just under ten minutes remaining in the game the Wildcat defense came up with a huge fourth down stop and forced the turnover on downs to set up the offense with great field position.

After two big third down conversions, one a great catch by wideout Austin Brown and the other a tough run by Huelsman, the Wildcat QB found his man again, Lehmkuhl, to set up first and goal.

After a run play for a couple yards, the connection of Huelsman to Lehmkuhl struck again with an outstanding catch in the end zone for an 8-yard score to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game 27-26.

On the next drive, Crestview’s Kline did it again, when he took off for a 25-yard touchdown run this time to give the Knights the lead back, 32-27, after a missed two-point conversion attempt.