Sporting WCA

Varsity Football: MICDS 24, Westminster 21

After leading for the first 46 minutes, Varsity Football lost a heartbreaker to MICDS by a score of 24-21 at Saturday’s Carnival game.

Coming into the game at 5-1, MICDS was the clear favorite to win. The Wildcats were without their starting quarterback, and after the first four plays of the game, they were without their second string quarterback. When Nick Ford went down with a knee injury after a scramble for a first down, Sophomore Jackson Selk entered the game at quarterback.

Selk finished the day with only six attempts and three completions, two of which were to Ben Straub. He also threw an interception on a long jump ball to Jerram Adams down the left side of the field.

Westminster ran the ball for most of the game. They scored on the opening possession of the game when Freshman LJ Minner took a run between the tackles 48 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats took 3:49 and did not attempt a pass the whole first drive. On the ensuing MICDS possession, the Rams took the ball down to around the thirty yard line, where Westminster forced and recovered a fumble. With the momentum in their favor, the Wildcats stalled until the second quarter when they methodically moved the ball down the field and scored on a two-yard run by Atlin Hall.

Leading by a score of 14-0, the Wildcats looked like a force on the humid Saturday afternoon. But with five minutes remaining until halftime, the MICDS quarterback threw a 32-yard touchdown. It was one of only four completed passes for MICDS on the day, and the first of two touchdown passes. It swung the momentum and let MICDS back into the game before half. The Wildcats got the ball back with five minutes left in the half. Whether Westminster scored or not wasn’t the most important thing, but they couldn’t let MICDS put up another touchdown to tie the game.

The Wildcats drove the ball to around the fifty yard line, where the offense once again stalled, and place kicker Andrew Kempen was forced to enter the game after Ford’s injury as punter. He kicked a high 33-yard punt down to the MICDS nineteen-yard line. MICDS had 90 seconds and a chance to score; Westminster had to contain for 90 seconds to avoid the worst. It didn’t even take 30 of those seconds. On the first play of the drive, MICDS quarterback Reagan Andrew snapped the ball and turned to his right. He pump faked hard, acting as if he would throw a screen pass, and both safety and cornerback came crashing down the field. Andrew held the ball, looked calmly downfield, and launched the ball to wide receiver/running back Graham Bundy for the 81-yard touchdown pass. The worst had happened for Westminster. A missed PAT left the score at 14-13 heading to halftime.

Defensive end John Fregene and the rest of the Wildcats’ defense managed to stifle the MICDS attack for most of the game.

The third quarter was uneventful. Neither team scored as the game remained run-heavy, but two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats ended the second half scoring drought with a six-yard touchdown run from Atlin Hall, his second of the day. The Wildcats led 21-13. MICDS then led a seven minute drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by MICDS. On this drive, the Rams converted on fourth and short three times and seemed to get about ten and a half yards every four plays. They were still down 21-19. With only three minutes remaining, they would have to go for a two point conversion. After calling two timeouts in a row, the Rams ran the ball again to tie the game at 21.

Westminster now had just under three minutes to try and score. After two unsuccessful plays, they faced third and nine from inside their own thirty yard line. Jackson Selk dropped back to pass for only the sixth time of the afternoon, and threw an interception that served effectively as a punt, giving MICDS the ball just across midfield in Westminster territory and two minutes to work with.

The Rams continued to try to run the ball even with time running out. They broke off a 25-yard run to put themselves in field goal territory, but had no timeouts remaining, having used two in a row before their two-point conversion attempt. After failing to reach the end zone, the Rams now faced fourth down inside the five yard line with a running clock under 30 seconds. They hustled their field goal unit onto the field. The clock continued to tick as the Rams tried to get lined up. As the seconds ticked, it remained unclear whether the Rams would get the kick off. However, with 12 seconds left, Westminster called a timeout. This now gave MICDS time to line up their kick team and feel no pressure to rush the kick. The Wildcats iced the kicker by calling another time out, but the Rams were able to make the kick that was effectively an extra point.

The Wildcats attempted a trick play using a reverse on the kickoff with six seconds to play, but it failed and resulted in a fumble that the Wildcats were able to recover. A desperation heave to Jerram Adams was incomplete, and Westminster had lost. They had never trailed until the final 10 seconds of regulation.

Westminster would finish the day running the ball 45 times for 271 yards. Eight different Westminster players had a rushing attempt. LJ Minner led the Wildcats with 103 rushing yards while Atlin Hall finished with two rushing touchdowns. The loss can be most simply boiled down to the lack of variety in the Westminster offense.

With the loss, the Wildcats are now 3-4. They compete to get to 4-4 on Friday at O’Fallon Christian.