football_150Week seven of the high school football season is approaching as the final standings in the Midwest Athletic Conference start to shake out and post-season aspirations begin to unfold across the league.  This week in Minster, the Wildcats are looking to move up the computer point ladder while maintaining their position a game back in the conference standings.  They will host the Parkway Panthers, a team looking to rebound from a loss to Versailles last week, while also overcoming the injury bug in hopes of finishing with their first winning season since 2007.  “Our focus is and will always be on strictly getting better – it’s cliche, but we really just try to control what we can control,” commented Wildcat head coach Geron Stokes.  “We have been getting better recently, but we are nowhere close to being as good as we want to be as a team or as a program.   From the top down, we have to continue to work like crazy to keep improving.”

Last week in Minster, the Wildcats squared off with the Anna Rockets and came from behind on two occasions to eventually pull out the 34-27 victory in conference play.  The win moved Minster to 3-3 overall and 3-1 in MAC action, a game behind front-runners Marion Local and Coldwater.  Junior Eli Wolf had a spectacular night against Anna, as he hauled in a school-record ten passes for another school record of 250 yards.  Both marks were previously-held by Greg Heitkamp, who in 1982 caught eight passes for 228 yards against Delphos St. John’s.  Sophomore quarterback Josh Nixon also had an outstanding showing on Friday after tossing for 366 yards and three touchdowns pushing him well over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.  “Minster has a lot of size and also have a couple of great playmakers in the Wolf brothers,” Parkway head coach Dan Cairns pointed out.  “For us to win, we will have to win the turnover battle, rush the ball effectively, and stop the big play. I don’t think you can stop the Wolf brothers, but we have to at least try to contain them.”

After picking up two straight MAC wins in weeks four and five, the Panthers traveled to H.B. Hole Field in Versailles last Friday and fell to the Tigers by a final of 38-14. It was a tight game heading into the final period at 24-14, but the Tigers pulled away in the waning minutes of the contest.  Ryan On returned a kickoff 91 yards for pay dirt in the first quarter, but unfortunately for Parkway the Tigers answered with ten straight points and they never looked back.  “One of the reasons for our inconsistency is key injuries – we lost two captains who were both two-way starters to season-ending injuries and then lost another captain and two-way starter during the second half last week,” Cairns remarked.  “We had a great pre-season, and it looked like we were going to be able to make some noise this year and compete with teams in the league, then the injuries came.  I still think we are capable of winning some more games, but it really depends on how our young guys step in and perform.”

Stokes is still preparing for the Panthers as he would any team on the schedule.  “We need to practice like our hair is on fire – our practice habits have consistently improved, but we have to make sure they continue to do so this week,” he commented.  “Parkway will be a challenge for us, which is just another reason to make sure we value practice this week.”

by Robb Hemmelgarn