QB Aaron Heitbrink (5-11, 180, Sr.), TE/DE Alan Heitbrink (6-1, 200, Sr.), TE/LB Andrew Baumer (5-11, 210, Sr.), WR/DB Keith Nerderman (6-1, 150, Sr.), WR/DB/KR (5-11, 165, Jr.), OL Jake Philpot (6-1, 215, Jr.)
2006 Record: 4-6
Last season, Minster and first-year head coach Eric Belcher closed their season on a sour note with a loss to Anna. With 20 seniors on the squad that suffered many tight losses, the Wildcats were a much better team than their 4-6 record indicated.
Having played in the Midwest Athletic Conference for Minster in the early-1990’s, Belcher was well aware that the league can show little mercy on the middle of the pack teams, which are typically good enough to win most other small school conferences in the state.
“Last year was a very interesting one for me,” remarked Belcher, a graduate of the University of Dayton. “I felt that in most of our losses the games could have gone either way. That reinforces what I believe, and that is that any team in the MAC can compete with anyone else on a given night. I felt we were right there in most of our games, but you have to execute down to the finest detail in this league or you are in trouble.”
Belcher enters his sophomore year on the sidelines in control of a roster dotted with only eight seniors – a challenge he feels his team is ready to contend with.
“As always, we need to be ready on every down on both sides of the ball,” Belcher said. “You cannot relax on any detail of your game and be successful in our league. We lost 20 seniors from a season ago, but that is a very good challenge for our players. We will need to get out to a fast start against a tough schedule, but that is what football is all about.
“The kids have worked hard even while participating in other sports, and they are excited for the season. We realize that there are many challenges ahead and our underclassmen and newcomers understand that they need to step up to that challenge. We can’t use low numbers in our senior class as an excuse for anything.”
Returning for the Orange and Black this fall is a trio of seniors who were all two-way starters in 2006. Aaron Heitbrink (5-11, 180) leads the Wishbone-attack and will also see time on the other side of the ball at linebacker in Minster’s 4-4 defensive scheme. Heitbrink’s brother Allan (6-1, 200) will log plenty of minutes from the tight end and defensive end spots, while Andrew Baumer (5-11, 210) will split his time between tight end and linebacker.
Other seniors who lettered last year include receiver and defensive back Keith Nerderman (6-1, 150) and tackle Anthony Bergman. Adam Beck, Michael Stotler, and Tyler Drees round out the senior class and each hope to challenge for starting positions and playing time as the summer progresses.
Juniors Brian Mueller (5-11, 165) and Jake Phlipot (6-1, 215) will both return to their respective positions from last season as well. Mueller plays receiver and defensive back and is also a return specialist whose speed presents a threat to score on every return. Phlipot is an offensive lineman who will man the guard or tackle position.
“Our senior class is small, but they are very talented,” Belcher said. “It will help that they are joined by an outstanding group of underclassmen who are eager for their chance to play on Friday nights. A major part of the success of any organization lies in attitude and confidence, so we are hoping what the kids have in those two areas can carry over to the start of the season later this summer.”
While the Wildcats face a brutal schedule again this year as they do every season, they have had a few factors bounce their way during the off-season.
A winter-time vote of division re-alignment, which would have added many more teams to all regions in Division VI, was reversed by the OHSAA. Then last month, the OHSAA released enrollment figures and four playoff teams from Minster’s region have relocated to different regions. They were replaced with four teams, which did not qualify for the post-season a year ago.
If the Wildcats pick up a few extra wins this fall, a long playoff run looks imminent.
“The region changes this year are great for us,” Belcher said. “It should make things a lot easier for us and other teams in our region if we are able to get to the playoffs.
“If we continue to work hard, show enthusiasm, and get a few things to go our way, we can take that next step in the playoffs. The outlook for this season rests in the hands of our players from the seniors to the freshmen. They have the opportunity to have a very good team – the rest is up to them.”
Minster 2007 Schedule
|9/7/2007||@ Fort Recovery||6|
|9/14/2007||Delphos St. John's||6|
|9/21/2007||@ Maria Stein Marion Local||5|
|10/19/2007||@ Rockford Parkway||5|