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Saturday, September 6th, 2008

St. John's beats Minster for 13th straight time

By Bruce Monnin

Minster's Jake Phlipot, 53, and Ian Ranly, 42, close in to make the tackle on a. . .

MINSTER - Coming into Friday night's contest, the Minster Wildcats had lost 12 straight games to the Delphos St. John's Blue Jays by an average of over 28 points per game.
Though a look at the final statistics shows the Wildcats had their chances, history repeated itself, as the Blue Jays used a quick start to overcome the Wildcats 35-20.
The postgame totals were practically equal for first downs, turnovers and time of possession, while Minster compiled over 100 more yards rushing (including 182 yards from Ty Whitford) and over 50 more yards overall. The difference was that Delphos St. John's turned its drives into points by succeeding in eight of its 10 third-down conversion attempts, while Minster often sputtered to a stop short of the goal line.
St. John's didn't waste any time putting the first points on the board. Matt Brinkman returned the opening kickoff 51 yards to the Minster 31-yard line. Six plays later, quarterback Wes Ulm capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
The Wildcats tried to respond, driving to the Blue Jay 30-yard line before A.J. Klausing grabbed his first of two interceptions on the night at the 9-yard line. St. John's drove all the way to the Minster nine-yard line where it returned the favor, as a Reid Heitkamp interception stopped the Blue Jays.
St. John's expanded the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter as Ulm ran for another touchdown, this one 13 yards in length. Minster responded with 10 straight running plays, capped off by a Whitford 10-yard run for a score to reduce the Wildcats' deficit to 14-7.
Minster hoped for a chance to even the score before halftime, but St. John's completed a 23-yard pass on third down and 13, then on another third-down play, Ulm hit Brad Hoffman with a 28-yard touchdown toss to give the Blue Jays a 21-7 halftime advantage.
The Wildcats started the second half with 10 more consecutive running plays to reach the St. John's 20-yard line, but the Blue Jays were stymied when a fourth-down pass attempt fell incomplete. Minster soon got the ball back at the Blue Jay 36-yard line after a Sam Otting interception, but again failed to convert on a subsequent fourth down pass play.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Ulm appeared to ice the game with a 35-yard touchdown run to make the score 28-7. But the Wildcats quickly responded when Baumer hit Brian Mueller in stride for an 82-yard touchdown strike. Minster then recovered an onside kick and the tension returned to the game.
It took 11 plays and one fourth-down conversion, but the Wildcats scored with 6:13 remaining in the game on a 15-yard Whitford touchdown sprint. St. John's blocked the extra-point attempt, and clung to a 28-20 lead.
A fired-up Minster defense forced St. John's to punt after just three plays. But Klausing was the hero one more time, as he intercepted a Wildcat pass and returned it 34 yards for the final score of the game.
When asked about his team's key to victory, St. John's coach Todd Schulte cited "Our quick start, obviously. Our wheels fell off in the last quarter and a half and we're not going to accept that out of our team. They did a good job of answering every time they got a chance. They hurt us in the second half."
Next week St. John's takes its 3-0 record back home to face 1-2 New Bremen. Minster (2-1) goes back on the road to visit the 2-1 Fort Recovery Indians in a big Division VI battle.
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