Crucial mistakes cost Minneapolis a district game at Norton on Friday night as the Bluejays held on for a 13-12 win.
Minneapolis opened the game holding the Norton offense to a three-and-out–a theme that would be consistent all night.
The Lions answered with a perfect drive on offense capped off with a five yard touchdown run by Daniel Watson. However the two-point coversion failed. Minneapolis led 6-0 midway through the first.
The score held in to the second quarter until for the second week in-a-row, Minneapolis threw a pick-six. Norton’s Luke Wahlmeier intercepted Derek Freel at the 25 of Minneapolis and returned it to the house. Norton tacked on an important PAT to lead 7-6.
Norton tacked on another touchdown just before the half, as Kade Melvin put the Bluejays up 13-6 after a missed PAT.
The score held in to the fourth quarter as the Minneapolis defense was time and again put in bad situations by its offense. Yet the Lions would not crack. Norton started nearly every drive in the third quarter inside of Lion territory, but Minneapolis turned them away each time.
The game turned in the final quarter, when Minneapolis finally had the wind at its back. Minneapolis put together an 80 yard drive behind the back of Watson at running back. He followed his blockers up field all drive as the MHS offensive line finally got a push. Watson ended the drive with a 14 yard touchdown run to pull the Lions within one point with a little more than four minutes remaining in the game.
However, the two-point conversion failed. Norton led 13-12 and got the ball back.
Minneapolis was able to hold Norton with 1:56 left in the game and forced the Bluejays to punt. Unfortunately, the Lions muffed the kick and Norton recovered.
Norton (3-2, 2-0 District No. 8) was able to run the clock out. The Bluejays struggled to move the ball all night but did just enough to get the win.
Minneapolis (2-3, 0-2 District No. 8) let a dominating defensive performance go to waste. The loss is its third-straight.
Norton is second place in Class 2A District 8 with +22 points. Minneapolis is in fifth place in District No. 8 with -10 points.
Minneapolis travels to No. 1 ranked 2A team, Hoisington next week. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on 92.7 The New Zoo.