Minster's Defense Leads the Way In 20-0 Opening Win Over Fort Loramie

Jared Huelsman dives in for a four-yard touchdown in the second quarter.The Minster cheerleaders welcome the 2017 Wildcats to the field.Geron Stokes high fives Austin Brown after the Wildcats' first of two goal line stands on Friday night.Jared Huelsman fends off a Fort Loramie defender.Max Prenger chases down Fort Loramie quarterback Austin Siegel.Isaac Schmiesing carries the ball out of the shadow of his own end zone.Fort Loramie's Max Hoying makes the tackle along the sideline.Fort Loramie's Devin Wehrman runs the ball against Minster.
Brian Smith
Staff Writer

All the Week 1 jitters and little mistakes can be fixed. The effort and resiliency Geron Stokes’ Minster Wildcats showed in a 20-0 season-opening victory over Fort Loramie had the fifth-year head coach most excited.

“I just loved our kids’ resiliency,” Stokes said after his team moved to 5-0 in season openers under him. “We bounced back so fast. We do not hang our heads. The moment we give up a play, our kids are still excited to see how we handle adversity. I’m jacked up about that.”

In its first game since last year’s state championship game, Minster shut out the rival Redskins thanks in large part to a pair of goal line stands and a scoop and score by the team’s leader on both offense and defense.

When the offense struggled to put away Fort Loramie despite more than doubling up the Redskins in total offense in the game, the Wildcat defense took it into its own hands. Senior Jared Huelsman scooped up a dropped backwards pass near midfield and ran it in from 40 yards out to give Minster a 13-0 lead with 7:22 left in the game — all the insurance the Wildcats would need.

Huelsman, who was named an All-MAC performer on both offense and defense last year and was named the conference’s offensive player of the year, also scored the game’s first touchdown on a run up the middle on a quarterback draw. After nearly losing his balance, Huelsman used his hand to steady himself and dive over the goal line to break a scoreless tie with 4:08 left in the second quarter. He finished the game with 143 yards rushing on 24 carries while going 15-of-22 for 165 yards passing with an interception.

Fort Loramie twice moved the ball inside the Minster five yard line, only to be denied both times.  

Minster stuffed Fort Loramie on a fourth and goal from the one in the final two minutes of the first half to keep its 7-0 lead at the half.

The Wildcats rose up again with their backs to the goal line and Fort Loramie a couple yards away from tying the game.

Late in the third quarter, after Fort Loramie got life after Nick Brandewie intercepted a Huelsman pass, the Redskins moved down near  the Minster goal line on a halfback pass from Brandewie to Mason Kemper. But on fourth down, Fort Loramie quarterback Austin Siegel rolled left and threw to the end zone, where Minster’s August Boehnlein intercepted the pass.

“Usually when you give up a big play like that, the other team scores,” Stokes said. “Our kids dug our cleats in the ground and fought. It wasn’t pretty, but we just fought.”

Minster’s Austin Brown intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter as Fort Loramie trailed and in desperation tried a deep pass down the right sideline. Brown scoped out the ball in flight and ran under it to make the diving interception and end all doubts as to the final outcome.

Minster added a late touchdown in the final two minutes with a powerful drive that ended with a 1-yard Isaac Schmiesing touchdown run.

“They wanted to seal it there,” Stokes said. “Our offensive line pounded it and our backs found holes.”

The win is Minster’s ninth straight win over Fort Loramie — with seven regular season wins to go along with playoff victories in both 2011 and 2015.

The Wildcats now head to Covington for their final non-conference match-up of the regular season. The Buccs, a perennial playoff contender, will play Minster for the first time since 1962 according to Minster offical statkeeper Bruce Monnin.