MINSTER — The Minster Wildcats had to claw their way into the playoffs after suffering a four-game losing streak in the middle of the season.
However, they won their last three games of the season to earn a berth and home game in the state playoffs… and did not stop there.
Minster carried that momentum into the postseason and Fort Loramie was the receiver of the Wildcats’ wrath as they went through the Redskins like a buzzsaw in a 40-24 win.
Minster advances to play Crestview, who defeated Ansonia 63-22 to advance. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Lima Senior.
Fort Loramie was hoping to avenge a loss to Minster in the opening game of the season. Minster had won that first match up 20-0.
But the Minster offense was like a machine on Friday night — the team mixed the run and the pass, and the Redskins could not find an answer. The Wildcats amassed an amazing 358 first-half yards while Fort Loramie could only come up with 98. It was a lopsided 40-0 at the half.
“Our execution was sharp,” Minster coach Geron Stokes said after the victory. “There was a hunger and a focus tonight that was incredible. Our entire 11 on each side of the ball was focused.
“Our practices have been phenomenal. There is a hunger in that locker room on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday — our mission was to protect the house. They were on fire tonight — but now we have to get back to work. We will face a better team next week, it gets harder every step.”
The starting defense was in sync as well. After sticking to the run for the first few series, the Redskins began to air it out. And at first they moved the ball well, but just when it looked like they were poised to set up a score, Isaac Schmiesing snagged a pass to end the threat. Later in the first half, Mike Ketner got another interception to end another promising Redskin drive.
The Wildcats did not have to punt until about 12 seconds were left in the third quarter — and that punt went to the 6-yard line. Even the special teams were firing on all eight cylinders.
Fort Loramie had to start many of its drives deep in its own territory, while the Wildcats most times were able to get good field position and start from midfield.
Fort Loramie finally got on the board in the last quarter, but by then the Minster starters were on the bench.
Minster’s scores came on a 2-yard and 73-yard touchdown runs by Schmiesing, a 1-yard and 5-yard run by Jared Huelsman and a 25-yard and 11-yard reception by Cody Frericks. Fort Loramie scored on a 5-yard touchdown run by Nick Bandewie, a 44- and 55-yard run by Max Hoying and a safety.
Huelsman ran eight times for 93 yards and completed 8-of-11 passes for 155 yards. Schmiesing ran seven times for 110 yards and caught three passes for 38 yards, while Brown caught two passes for 58 yards.
“They are really a fine football team,” Fort Loramie coach Whit Parks said of Minster. “They took it to us right away and we didn’t respond very well to it. Give them the credit, they played very, very well. They are going to be a hard team to beat in this division.”
Max Hoying led Loramie with four rushes for 107 yards, while senior Mike Hoying had 46 rushing yards on 13 carries and also caught four passes for 41 yards. Austin Siegel completed 6-of-11 passes for 73 yards.
Parks had this to say about his seniors: “We only had about six seniors that really played. We have a lot of young kids and we look forward to next year. But those seniors — they have done everything that we asked them to do. I am proud of them and they have been great leaders for us. We are proud of the job that they did.”