MINSTER — Minster had no problem starting what it hopes is another Division VII state championship run in a regional quarterfinal against Riverside on Saturday at Memorial Field.
The Wildcats built a five-touchdown lead by halftime and cruised to a 51-6 victory, which advances them to a semifinal against Convoy Crestview.
Minster’s defense dominated the whole game and especially the first half. The Wildcats held Riverside’s rushing attack to three-and-outs three times in the first half, and the other possession ended after an interception by senior defensive back Mike Ketner.
“Our defense gave a great effort tonight,” Minster coach Geron Stokes said. “And that started with a great week of practice. Our seniors wanted to play at a high level tonight. Our effort was there on both sides of the ball.”
Minster (8-3) also was effective on offense as quarterback Jacob Niemeyer completed 13-of-19 passing attempts for 218 yards in just two quarters of play. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for one TD.
“Jacob Niemeyer is just a great kid,” Stokes said. “He loves his family and has a good head on his shoulders. He makes smart decisions with the ball. Always seems to know when to run or pass when we roll him out of the pocket.”
Niemeyer’s first touchdown pass was with 7:58 in first quarter when he connected with running back Alex Schmitmeyer from 19 yards out, which put the Wildcats ahead 8-0 after a two-point conversion pass.
Two minutes later, Schmitmeyer ran for a TD from two yards out. The touchdown was set up by a 60-yard pass from Niemeyer to Austin Brown, who ran most of the way after catching a short throw.
Niemeyer then ran it in from four yards out for a score with 2:02 left in the first to cap off a five-play, 65-yard drive and give Minster a 22-0 lead.
Niemeyer threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter, the first of which to Cody Frericks from 21 yards out that boosted the lead to 30-0 after a two-point conversion. The second TD pass was to Schmitmeyer from 55 yards out. Schmitmeyer broke four tackles on his way to the end zone.
Minster’s defense held Riverside quarterback Joel Cotterman to one competition in six attempts for 4 yards in the first half. The Pirates gave up up 218 yards passing and over 140 on the ground.
The Wildcats’ offense was not done yet.
Broc Miller scored two rushing touchdowns in the second half, with the first from 14 yards out and the second from one yard out.
Miller ran 12 times for 108 yards for the game. Schmitmeyer had 57 yards on 10 carries and went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season in the victory. Niemeyer rushed seven times for 44 yards.
Schmitmeyer had four catches for 90 yards, and six other players caught passes.
Riverside (6-5) got on the board with just six seconds left in the game with help of a facemask penalty. The penalty gave the Pirates one more play against the third-team Minster defense. Kale Long ran it in from 6 yards out to avoid the shutout.
Cotterman was 2-of-9 passing for 23 yards and one interception on the night. Riverside gained 136 total yards, with most coming on its last drive.
Minster won the first down battle 24-8 and scored six of seven trips in the end zone. Riverside had to punt six times, while the Wildcats never punted.
Minster will face Crestview on Saturday at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field. The teams met in a semifinal last year, which Minster won 35-32.