MINSTER — State finals have become a regular occurrence in Minster, but the school is as excited as ever for Friday’s championship game.
The Wildcats will face Cuyahoga Heights at 10 a.m. on Friday in the Division VII state title game. It’s the third state final appearance for Minster in the last three years. The Wildcats won the Div. VI title in 2014 and lost in the Div. VII game last season.
“We’re jacked up to play in the state finals again,” Minster coach Geron Stokes said a statewide teleconference on Monday. “We’ve had some kids step up and had some great senior leadership that has driven us. We’re just excited to be back and grateful for the opportunity of another week of practice with our football team.”
Minster blasted Norwalk St. Paul 40-7 in a state semifinal last Friday. St. Paul was the No. 1 ranked D-VII team in the final state Associated Press poll.
Stokes said he was proud of the effort but is expecting a fight from the Redskins, who lost 21-17 to Marion Local in last season’s D-VI state championship game.
“They are loaded,” Stokes said. “Talented as all get-out. They have really, really good players at a lot of positions. They’re big and they’re physical, and they run their stuff pretty well. Our kids perked up again (watching film). They see a really good football team on tape. So hopefully, that makes us better this week.”
Schmiesing a running threat
Isaac Schmiesing has taken over as main running back this season for his brother Bryce, who got the majority of the carries last season.
Bryce Schmiesing rushed for 1,283 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, while Isaac Schmiesing was a receiver and caught 27 passes for 433 yards and two touchdowns.
“Physically we were a little worried,” Stokes said of Schmiesing moving from receiver to running back. “We didn’t know if he could take the pounding. But he’s a competitive kid. He’s just a nut. You watch him play basketball, you watch him play baseball, you watch him work out — he just doesn’t like to be bad at things. He’s feisty and scrappy.”
Schmiesing has run for 808 yards on 161 carries this season and has scored eight touchdowns. He’s also caught 14 passes for 388 yards and one touchdown.
“He struggled a little bit throughout the year, but that’s what good kids do,” Stokes said. “They battle and find a way. He’s been big for us lately. Just a scrappy, competitive kid.”
Redskins offense a threat
Cuyahoga Heights averages 38 points per game, and Stokes said a big defensive effort is needed to earn the win.
“Their offense is incredible, so it’s going to take 11 (guys),” Stokes said. “You can’t go the state finals and try to win it with a hole or holes on your defense. They can expose you in different ways. They can get to the edge, they can pound you, they can throw it over your head, they can throw it in front of you and make you miss. It’s going to take 11. You can’t play with ten or nine.”
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.