MAC produces postseason fireworks; Minster, Coldwater post notable wins


Minster has won 25 state championships.

That MAC mentality. Can’t teach or coach it. Can’t buy or sell it. Just
one of those intangibles that define it. Minster proved it Friday and
backup Coldwater QB Ethan Bettinger embraced it Saturday.

One team and one player equals two Cinderella stories that headlined Division V and Division VI football playoff action this past weekend.
That MAC mentality. Can’t teach or coach it. Can’t buy or sell it. Just one of those intangibles that define it. Minster proved it Friday and backup Coldwater QB Ethan Bettinger embraced it Saturday.

Minster derailed Marion Local’s quest for a fifth state title with a stunning 30-26 upset that sent shock waves across the Division VI landscape.
Chase Paxson carved up the Flyer secondary, dominating the air waves with 18-of-26 passing for 185 yards and two TDs. It was ground control to “Major” Kaiser with 103 yards on 14 carries and two scores, including a 68-yard thing of beauty. And for good measure, the defense held Marion Local to 73 yards rushing and forced two critical turnovers late in the contest.
The highly-expected Lehman-Marion Local train wreck wiped out. Instead, the 7-5 Wildcats look to slay another giant in 11-1 Lehman Friday at Piqua High School in the regional finals to keep their cinderella season alive. Last week, the Minster Mash knocked out top seed Springfield Catholic Central.
This week, the Wildcats look to settle another score. Lehman defeated Minster 34-13 week two. It has been well documented about Minster’s 0-4 start. Since a 41-6 loss to the Flyers week four, Minster has posted a 7-1 record.
Minster head coach Nate Moore said, “The kids believed in each other. They played with confidence. It was an all out effort. Just happy to come out on top of such a great game.”
The Flyers struck first with a 44-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. Jake Heitkamp scored on a 15-yard blast up the middle.
The Wildcats got on the board with a 25-yard field goal by Devon Poeppelman to close the gap 7-3 with 3:11 left in the opening stanza.
The Minster defense forced Marion Local to punt and started from their own 32-yard-line. After two plays for no gain, Adam kaiser took the handoff on a counter play, busted up the middle, then cut it to the outside for a 68-yard TD romp. Minster led 10-7 as the quarter expired.
Minster scored again with 7:17 until half to claim a 17-7 margin. It was vintage Paxson completing 6-of-7 passes to five different receivers for 45 yards. He dinked and dunked his team down the field like Peyton Manning. Kaiser capped the march with a four-yard TD run.
Kaiser cracked the 1,000-yard rushing barrier this night and has 11 TDs on the season. Paxson has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards with 13 TDs on the year.
The Flyer faithful were stunned, but Marion Local scrapped back with two scores in the final 2:06 of the first half to take a 20-17 lead. QB Ryan Mescher found Lee Pierron for a 45-yard TD strike and then connected with Greg Schwieterman on a 15-yard pitch and catch score.
Minster stormed back to close out the third quarter with a 59-yard, 10-play scoring drive to reclaim the lead 24-20. Paxson hit Adam Niemeyer on four consecutive passes for 30 yards and then found Mitch Poeppelman in the endzone from 10 yards out.
Not phased by the magnitude of the moment, Minster scored again with 8:39 left in the game to take a commanding 30-20 lead. Once again, it was all Paxson as he marched his team 84 yards in eight plays. The senior ran for 16  yards and passed for 73 yards, completing 4-of-4, including the 32-yard TD strike to Derek Collins.
The drive was kept alive by Mitch Poeppelman’s diving 25-yard catch. The senior wide-out had six catches for 65 yards and one TD on the night.
“That last drive of ours was awesome. We knew we needed more points and we got them,” Moore said. “Chase stepped up big time tonight like seniors are supposed to.”
Marion Local responded in short order. They took the ensuing kickoff on a reverse by Lee Pierron down to Minster’s 35-yard-line. Four plays later, Niles keller found the endzone from six yards out to cut the gap 30-26 with 7:22 still remaining.
It was a battle of defenses the rest of the way. Neither team was able to move the ball. Minster’s next three possessions resulted in punts. Marion Local’s two possessions ended in turnovers. The big mistake came with 1:56 left and the Flyers threatening to score. Zach Holscher sealed their fate with an interception on the three-yard-line.
And so, Region 24 is playing out like Area 51. Unbelievable.

Down and out most of the game, Coldwater staged a comeback that will go down in remembrance for generations to come as the Cavaliers edged Hamilton Badin 13-7 in overtime Saturday at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
Head coach Chip Otten called it, “…a tradition win.”
Senior WR Reese Klenke labeled it, “…a Coldwater pride win.”
And the hero, backup QB Ethan Bettinger said, “This win defines us.”  He should know. The senior has faced adversity most of his career. Playing behind Keith Wenning his sophomore and junior years, Bettinger was ready to make his own noise this year, but a  broken ankle during the pre-season sidelined him for six games.
Due to the success of sophomore Austin Bruns, coach Otten felt it was only fair to stick with Bruns. The first-year coach said, “It was a tough decision. And Bettinger bought into it with a great attitude. As it turned out, he got his chance.”
The Rams broke this scoreless game with a six-yard TD run by QB Jeff Smith to take a 7-0 lead with 7:24 left in the third quarter. Both defenses dominated for 29 minutes. Coldwater allowed five first downs and Badin allowed seven first downs.
Aaron Rammel returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards, but like so often, six plays later, the Cavs were forced to punt.
The Rams were forced to punt and Coldwater started on Badin’s 32-yard-line. A roughing the QB netted the Cavs 15 more yards to the 18-yard-line. On first and 10, Bruns was picked off by Andrew Kugler, who returned it 85 yards for the TD. The Rams led 13-0.
Wait a minute. A flag on the play. No TD. The interception counted, but a clipping penalty on the return. Instead, the Rams took over from their 23-yard-line.
Coldwater dodged a bullet.
A third Bruns interception of the game, this time by David Guilford, left the Rams 20 yards from paydirt. However, on fourth and inches from the 11, Badin head coach Bill Tenore decided to go for the 27-yard field goal with 2:20 left in the game.
Entered freshman place kicker Tyler Williams. He hooked it wide left.
Coldwater dodged another bullet.
Coach Tenore said, “He makes it. We win. You never can tell. I would do the same thing again. But that’s what it is.”
Coach Otten responded, “I was surprised. But if the kid makes it. Game over. Coaches have to make those decisions. I’m sure he felt that was the best decision at the time.”
Coldwater took over from their 20-yard-line with 2:13 left in regulation. Bruns connected with Klenke for 35 yards on first down. Seven plays later and still driving, Bruns was sacked hard by three linemen. He was forced to leave the game with a knee injury.
The Cavs faced a fourth and 16 with 25.6 seconds left on the clock. After the sack, the ball was placed on the 35-yard-line. In comes Bettinger. He hits Rammel for 23 yards. The next play, with 8.9 ticks left, he finds Klenke in the endzone from 18 yards out. Troy Otten’s extra point knotted the score 7-7, sending the game into overtime.
Bettinger just completed two of the biggest passes for 41 yards. He entered the game 12-of-22 for 203 yards and four TDs.
“He stepped up and made the big plays,” Klenke said. “He threw it out there and I stretched for it. Once I felt the ball in my hands, death grip. I wasn’t about to let go.”
Bettinger interjected, “Klenke is one of the best receivers in Coldwater history. A lot was going through my head when I stepped onto the field. I didn’t have time to panic.”
In the overtime, Coldwater’s defense held and then the offense scored in two plays on runs of five yards and 15 yards by Rammel.
What a sight at midfield  after this epic battle. Tears of joy for Coldwater and loud cries of devastation for Hamilton Badin.
And so, Region 20 finds 9-3 Coldwater against 12-0 West Jefferson in the regional finals Saturday at Northmont High School.

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