The Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats will meet the St. Charles West Warriors for the first time on the gridiron.
The two teams will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 15) at Westminster in a Class 4 quarterfinal game. Westminster is 11-1. St. Charles West is 10-2, having won its last 10 games after losing its first two games of the season.
Wildcats coach Cory Snyder has respect for the Warriors.
“St. Charles West has played a tough schedule and have some impressive wins,” Snyder said. “They are a very good football team.”
Westminster is not shabby either. The Wildcats are fresh off an impressive 34-7 victory over St. Francis Borgia in the district championship game. It was the fourth district title for the program. The others came in 2006, 2009 and last year.
“Our kids played hard and the defense did a good job of getting the ball back to our offense,” Synder said.
The defense will be called upon to slow down St. Charles West. The Warriors are a point producing machine. St. Charles West scored 67 points in a win over Winfield earlier this fall. The Warriors won their district title game last week 55-14 over visting Jennings.
“They run the ball very well and have some great athletes,” Snyder said. “It will be a very tough test for our defense.”
St. Charlies West likes to run the football. Drew Lauer leads the Warriorss with 1,599 yards rushing. He has scored 33 touchdowns this year. Dre Kelly has rushed for 755 yards. Blake Rugraff has gained 713 yards on the ground. Three others have rushed for 102 or more yards.
“Their line has good size and they play aggressively,” Snyder said. “They run some option along with other wishbone plays and do it well.”
The WIldcats’ defnese is led by junior Connor Hafenrichter, senior Justin Creighton, and senior Michael Weston.
“Tackling will be a big deal for us,” Snyder said. “We will have to get a lot of defenders to the football and tackle very well.”
Synder believes in his squad. He likes what he has been seeing in recent weeks.
“The kids are doing what needs to be done to win,” Snyder said. “There are always things that we can improve on and that is our goal from week to week until the season is over.”
It was this point last season where the Wildcats hit a stumbling block in the quarterfinals. Webb City ended Westminster’s season.
“The kids are excited to still be playing into November for sure,” Snyder said.
Moreover, the Wildcats will be on friendly turf by playing at home again. However, Synder discounted that as selling point for his squad.
“I don’t think that playing at home is a huge advantage but it’s nice to not have to travel,” Snyder said.
To reach the semifinals this year, Wesminster must play its game, Snyder said. He gave a list of items that need to be addressed by his Wildcats.
“To have a chance to be successful on Saturday, we will have to tackle well and get stops on defense, protect the football on offense and take advantage of scoring opportunities, and play solid special teams,” Snyder said.