By Curtis Flier for TonySoftli.com
Jennings, MO- Saturday September 6th, the Westminster Wildcats (2-0) went to battle against the Lutheran North Crusaders (2-0) in the highlighted game of the week. The Crusaders had the first offensive possession of the game. HB Senior Carl Thomas ran for 33 yards early in the drive. Senior QB Justin Baker also had a 15 yard physical run that saw him lower the boom on a Wildcat defender resulting in a first down.
Later in the drive the Wildcat defense did bend but did not break as they were able to turn it over on downs with a good defensive stop on 4th down. On the Wildcats offensive possession, the Crusaders defense was able to come up with a big turnover Senior Carl Thomas had a forced fumble on Senior HB Caleb Miller. The defensive first quarter continued as on the very next play, as Justin Baker threw an interception to the Wildcats the ball right back. That turnover did not hurt the Crusaders as their stout defense held up with a very nice tackle by Junior Robert Brown who was a disruptive force for the Wildcats all day.
On the Wildcats ensuing punt, the ball was snapped over the punters head and the Crusaders were able to recover the in the red zone. The Crusaders were unable to capitalize on the potential scoring opportunity as the Wildcat defense once again held their ground with another 4th down stop. In the second quarter the Wildcats found pay dirt as Senior QB Brendan Bognar threw a TD pass to Junior WR Connor Hafenrichter at the 6:48 mark, making it a 7-0 ball game.
On the Crusaders next offensive possession, the offense was able to drive the ball down the field and get all the way to the 1 yard line. On 4th and goal Wildcats Senior DL Justin Creighton and the rest of the defense made a huge stop tackling Carl Thomas before he could cross the goal line for the score. It was a San Francisco 49er vs Seattle Seahawk type of first half with the score being 7-0.
In the second half it was a much different story. On the Wildcats offensive drive, QB Brendan Bognar led the team down the field with some key passes. With the Wildcats setup in the red zone, Bognar called his own number and ran 2 yards for the TD making it a 14-0 game. The Crusaders were able to answer with a score of their own with a big 28 yard run for a TD by Carl Thomas making it a 14-7 ball game. After a key defensive stop by the Crusaders, they were able to get another score on the back of QB Justin Baker (18-29, 241 yards, TD). On 4th and 10 Baker threw an 18 yard pass to WR Brandon Sumrall (9 rec, 147 yards, TD) for a TD, after a blocked extra point the score was 14-13 in favor of Westminster. In the Fourth quarter, the Wildcats answered the Lutheran North scoring drive with a TD pass to Connor Hafenrichter making it 20-13. Connor Hafenrichter had a great day with 7 receptions for 77 yards and 2 TD’s.
The Crusaders once again answered back with Carl Thomas getting in the endzone for a second time tying the game 20-20. Later in the game Justin Baker was able to get an interception from Brendan Bognar (14-23, 241 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int, 10 rushing yards, 1 TD) that put the Crusaders on the 15 yard line with the chance to take the lead for the first time in the game. A couple of plays into the offensive possession for the Crusaders, Carl Thomas big day (18 rush att, 138 yards, 2TDS) ended in heartbreaking fashion when he fumbled the football on the 9 yard line. Wildcats Caleb Miller (1Fmb Rec, 83 yards, TD) was able to scoop up the football and take it in for 83 yard TD run and taking the air out of the Crusaders football team and home crowd. That was the dagger as the Westminster Wildcats (3-0) stay undefeated and beat the Lutheran North Crusaders (2-1) 27-20.