Sporting WCA

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: MICDS vs. WCA Pregame

Carnival is the most highly anticipated weekend at Westminster every fall. Games and food on the plaza, a crisp fall afternoon, and a marquee matchup down on the football field. This year, the Carnival game will be against one of the top two teams in the Metro Conference: the MICDS Rams.

The Rams are 5-1 on the season so far, their only loss coming in a 21-20 game against Lutheran North where they went for a two point conversion to win in the last seconds of regulation and failed. Otherwise, they’ve outscored the rest of their opponents by a combined score of 168-28, and haven’t won by less than two touchdowns.

The main offensive threat for MICDS is Tyler Purdy, a Senior Running Back who has rushed for 427 yards on the season. He has five touchdowns on the season, four of them rushing. Other than Purdy, the Rams also have Senior Graham Bundy, who has 424 total yards along with another four touchdowns.

MICDS will certainly be a tough matchup, but the outcome of the game rests more whether the Wildcats play a strong game themselves. They’ve been known to come out flat on Saturday games, losing on Saturdays to both Liberty and John Burroughs already this season. With the offense still missing its quarterback, it’s important that the Wildcats capitalize on every opportunity if they want a chance to win.

Last week, the Wildcats rushed for 374 yards on 57 attempts in their 30-22 win over Lutheran South. In contrast, they attempted only seven passes for a total of 53 yards through the air. However, two of Freshman Quarterback Nick Ford’s five completions went for touchdowns, both to Senior Isaac Johnston. For Westminster to win, the run game will have to be the focus. With 57 rushes and only 7 passes, the Wildcat offense will be predictable, but this predictability could open up one-on-one outside matchups for the passing game.

Freshman LJ Minner and Senior Atlin Hall both broke the 100-yard rushing marks in last week’s game, with Minner running for 122 yards on 24 carries and Hall running for 176 yards on 26 carries. Junior Ben Straub also compiled 80 rushing yards on just five carries, including a 55-yard rushing touchdown. With three different backs as threats to run the ball on any given play, the Westminster running attack is always a threat.

LJ Minner stiff arms the defender.

MICDS is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Lutheran North, their only loss of the year so far, and Westminster is coming off their biggest win of the season. The momentum seems to favor the Wildcats. Additionally, rain in the forecast benefits Westminster both offensively and defensively. The strong point of the team is the defensive line and linebackers, who should be able to shut down the MICDS run game up the middle. On offense, the Wildcats were going to run the ball a lot anyway, so the rain really has no effect on the Westminster offensive game plan. The big crowd that’s expected for Carnival will also give an advantage to the Wildcats. If there was any week where Westminster was going to defeat the best team in the conference, this seems to be it.

With only three games remaining, it’s time for the Wildcats to heat up as they look towards the postseason. They haven’t won a District matchup in either of the past two years, and they lost to Rolla last season. This year, their District is comprised of Fort Zumwalt East, Hannibal, Parkway Central, Priory, St. Charles, St. Dominic, and Warrenton. This district is potentially winnable, but Westminster would have to play their best in multiple consecutive weeks. A win against MICDS this week would not only give the Wildcats confidence, but it would also legitimize them to the rest of high school football.

If Westminster is going to win on Saturday, expect a low-scoring game. If the defense plays tough against the MICDS run game and the Wildcats break off a few long runs for touchdowns, Westminster could come out victorious. A win against rival MICDS’ strongest team in years would bring Westminster’s record to 4-3 and make it a Carnival weekend to remember.

MICDS vs. Westminster, Saturday, October 6th, 2:00 PM, Westminster Christian Academy