Minneapolis rode its stout defense to its first shutout of the year on Friday as the Lions clinched a playoff berth with a 25-0 win over Phillipsburg.
In a game in which both teams were fighting for the final playoff spot of four from 2A District No. 8, the Minneapolis defense set the tone on the very first drive of the game as the Panther offense would not gain a yard on a three-and-out.
Minneapolis wasted no time on offense, as the very first play went for big yardage when Derek Freel found Nolan White for a 30 yard pass to open up the drive. Daniel Watson would finish the drive with a two yard touchdown later to put the Lions up 6-0 after the PAT was blocked.
The Minneapolis defense continued to dominate Phillipsburg as the Lions got the ball back midway through the second quarter. On 4th and 5 from the Phillipsburg five yard line, Freel again went to the air, this time finding Crew Martin–who made a spectacular diving grab to give the Lions six more points.
Minneapolis led 12-0 going in to halftime.
The Lions’ defense continue to shut down the Panther offense in to the second half. Phillipsburg struggled to run the football all night and the passing game was off kilter due to the Lions’ pass rush and tight coverage in the secondary.
Another Watson touchdown with 43 seconds left in the third period put Minneapolis ahead 18-0 after a two-point conversion failed.
For good measure, the Lions would tack on a Freel touchdown run from one yard out in the final quarter. Phillipsburg never got within the Minneapolis 20 yard line.
Phillipsburg (2-6, 1-4 District 8) failed to make the playoffs this fall after winning the state championship in 2018.
Minneapolis (4-4, 2-3 District 8) has won its second consecutive game. The win gives Minneapolis a berth in to the 2A State Playoffs. The Lions travel to unbeaten Cimarron next Friday for the first round.
Game time is at 7 p.m. on Salina radio station, 92.7 The New Zoo.