The Muenster Hornets held close with Windthorst in the first half of their key district tilt Friday, Oct. 16, but a backbreaking kickoff return for a touchdown by the Trojans to open the second half was the beginning of trouble.
Windthorst found its offensive game before Muenster did and held off the Hornets for an 18-7 victory. The win put the Trojans in the driver’s seat for a district title and sent the Hornets’ to their first district loss since 2014.
Muenster head coach Brady Carney said he was pleased with how his team played, but knew it made too many mistakes to beat a sturdy Windthorst squad.
“It’s hard to be positive from a loss, but their effort was outstanding,” Carney said. “They’ve been ranked in the top four for a long time and they’re a favorite to make the state semifinal game. We are what we are on offense. We don’t have a bunch of big-play potential and we leaned on our defense, which we always do around here.”
Despite the defeat, Carney said the performance gave the Hornets confidence they could play with anyone in their region.
If they could cut down on costly penalties and have found their offense, Carney said his team could have come out on top.
Carney was also quick to point out that he made several mental errors that hurt his team.
“It was huge being 0-0 at half because we knew we could play with them, but the kick return really put our backs up against the wall and took the wind out of our sails,” Carney said. “I had four huge mental mistakes and three of them were in the second half. We were down 6-0 and it was 4th-and-4 on their 40-yard line and we should have punted. I didn’t give our kids the opportunity to stop them because we had been playing good defense.”
The Hornets also attempted a trick play in the fourth quarter and Carney said he regrets taking the unnecessary chance.
“I make dumb calls every week, but none of them seem to put us in a bind like they did the other night,” Carney said. “The way the second half played out, we missed some opportunities. I don’t know if I needed to take so many chances. We had to see how it played out. We probably should have run the trick play earlier in the game when teams don’t expect them as much, but thankfully it’s not the playoffs”
Defensively, Carney felt like they played good enough to win, but he said the Hornets’ passing game still needs work.
The matchup was the de facto district championship game, but the Hornets still play Chico and Petrolia to close out the regular season.
“Offensively, we have to sustain our drives early,” Carney said. “In those type of games, we have to put points on the board earlier than what we did the other night. We also missed a couple of big tackles. We had been doing a good job of that lately. We’ll have to shore up our special teams. I won’t let this game leave a bad taste in our mouth. We just have to continue to develop and I think our kids will continue to improve.”
The Hornets will enjoy a bye week before they get back to work next week.
Reach Patrick Hayslip at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip