Saturday, August 29th, 2020

Cardinals snap losing skid against Wildcats

By Bruce Monnin

New Bremen's David Homan (5) rushes to tackle Minster's Adam Ketner.. . .

NEW BREMEN - With each team having only a single scrimmage under its belts, play in the first game of the season was expected to be a little ragged.
But the New Bremen Cardinals were best able to overcome their early mistakes and went on to dominate the Minster Wildcats late for a 20-0 triumph.
The win snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Wildcats. The last Cardinal win over their Route 66 neighbor was a 27-9 win in 2009. The teams did not play several seasons due to the Midwest Athletic Conference's formula-based scheduling.
Both teams started out with sloppy offenses. New Bremen committed a slew of false-start penalties to hamper their early drives while Minster was unable to snap the ball back to the quarterback consistently.
The first major mistake benefitted the Cardinals, as the Wildcats started a drive at the Cardinal 38-yard line by sending the shotgun snap over the quarterback's head. Dan Homan recovered the miscue and returned it to the Minster 4-yard line. Two plays later Mitchell Hays crossed the goal line from 1 yard out to give New Bremen the early 7-0 advantage.
The rest of the half featured missed opportunities by both teams. Minster used a 32-yard completion from Johnny Nixon to Adam Ketner to get deep into Cardinal territory. But with a second down and three from the New Bremen 21-yard line, the Wildcats put the snap on the ground two plays in a row. The Cardinal defense then stuffed Minster on fourth down to end the threat.
On New Bremen's ensuing possession, Hays broke free for a 54-yard touchdown run. However, a flag indicated a personal foul call on the Cardinals, ending the drive and leaving New Bremen up by a touchdown at the intermission.
"That was tough because kids our playing hard and it's a physical game any time New Bremen and Minster play. We just got a little overaggressive. We have to learn from that," New Bremen coach Chris Schmidt said. "I think you can see on both sides that it was an early season game with just one scrimmage. Obviously I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty, but it just felt like if we could eliminate some of our mistakes, we could put a little bit more pressure on them."
The Cardinals put together an 11-play, 70-yard scoring drive late in the third quarter. A Wyatt Dicke 23-yard run highlighted the drive, which was finished off early in the fourth quarter with a 3-yard Zach Bertke touchdown run. In what felt like a metaphor for the ragged play early in the game, Owen Gabel's kick banged off the right upright and then the crossbar, before bouncing through to make the score 14-0.
"Until we got that second score, it felt like we were looking for a breakthrough," Schmidt said. "It wasn't pretty tonight, but the kids battled all four quarters. That was the impressive thing."
The Wildcats tried to go deep to start their following drive, but Nick Alig ended Minster's hopes with a crucial interception. New Bremen then methodically worked the ball down the field to set up a 15-yard Hays touchdown run to secure the final 20-0 margin of victory.
New Bremen dominated in the ground game, earning 251 rushing yards while holding Minster to just 48. Bertke covered 99 yards on 19 carries while Hays added 93 yards on 19 carries of his own. Hays added 85 yards though the air to six different receivers.
"Our defense, obviously, was flying around and had some huge stops on some short down and distances," said Schmidt. "And it was good to see the offensive line start to control the line of scrimmage tonight. We said if we wanted the result to be different this year, we were going to have to win up front."
Next week the Cardinals go on the road to face the Marion Local Flyers. The Wildcats will play Coldwater in their home opener.
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