Stephey Sizzles sets school record in Parkway Tsunami victory



Minster sophomore Brogan Stephey went 16 of 25 for 445 yards and five touchdowns…and ran for one of his own. (Press Pros Feature Photos by Julie McMaken Wright and Sonny Fulks)

Minster’s surprising sophomore quarterback threw for 355 yards in the first half alone, then erased the school record for passing yards in a game in a knockout victory tide against Parkway.

Rockford, Ohio – Brogan Stephey had already caught the eye of MAC opponents in the first six weeks of the season, leading the conference in passing yards (1,261 yards), averaging 210.17 per game.

On Friday night, he upped the ante while leading the Minster Wildcats as they suddenly climbed to a 5-2 record (4-1 in MAC play), delivering a tsunami-like performance and a school-record 445 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-20 sticking. the Parkway Panthers; and left little doubt that Minster will have something to say about how the final three weeks of the season have gone. The Wildcats close out the regular season with games against New Bremen (6-1) and Versailles (5-2) in weeks nine and ten, pending the outcome of undefeated Marion and Coldwater who will play the final week.

His 445 yards broke Josh Nixon’s previous record of 408 yards in the 2014 OHSAA Division VI title game with Kirtland, and before boarding the bus back to Auglaize County on Friday night, coach Seth Whiting managed a smile when he recognized the yet-to-be-developed upside-down of his second slinger. “He will beat that number (445). All those guys running to grab passes tonight will be back [next year].”

Minster, to Whiting’s delight, started fast, intercepting Parkway quarterback Fletcher Smith on the first play of the game from scrimmage, setting up an eventual 9-yard run by Stephey for the game’s first score with only 3:30 seconds elapsed. In a week of hurricane and storm talk, Stephey and her crew were about to come ashore full force.

At 4:15 of the first quarter, he hit James Niemeyer with a 7-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0. Stephey, the team’s kicker, missed the PAT.

Minster’s Chase Couse gathers in an overhead tedder during the first half of the Wildcats’ 48-20 win at Parkway on Friday night.

At 2:20 of the quarter, he hit teammate Brady Wolf with a 17-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-0…on a play that resulted in the ejection of Parkway head coach Joe Henkle , who came out on the field yelling about an apparent holding penalty that was not called by officials, allowing Stephey and Wolf to connect for the score. It caused another tidal wave – of yellow flags, thrown off officials’ hats, – as well as disdain from the Parkway crowd. As the officials tried to settle the penalties, someone suggested, “Use the honor system. Even the kids know it stuck.

Like sharks tasting blood, on their first possession of the second quarter, Stephey hit Connor Schmiesing with a rainbow from 72 yards down the sideline to make it 27-0.

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Then, two minutes later, he joined Dylan Heitkamp on a play, an 80-yard bomb right in the middle of the Parkway secondary to make it 34-0, and still with nine minutes left before halftime.

Parkway finally entered the board with 5:55 left in the quarter when quarterback Fletcher Smith scored on a 9-yard run… 34-7.

They played a little defensive… hitting a pass away from Parkway receiver Hutch Ridenour in the first half.

Apparently this irritated Brogan Stephey. Exactly one minute later, he found Schmiesing for a 38-yard touchdown, his fifth touchdown pass of the half, to cut the lead to 41-7.

Not done, Minster got the opener in the second half and quickly scored on a yard run from Justin Bergman after another bomb towards Charlie Schmiesing, a hold Schmiesing made as the ball appeared to be graze Parkway Defender’s helmet. Then he had to fend off that defender’s attempt to drop the ball – to retain possession – before hitting the ground.

Parkway never gave up, played hard and came back to score a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 45-yard run from Eddie Nichols…and a 90-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Caden Heindel to close out the match. score….48-20!

For Stephey, it was one of those nights when everything he touched went platinum. He was decisive and precise, completing 16 of 25 passes for 445 yards and all five touchdowns, and scored one on the ground.

James Niemeyer takes a diving shot from that throw from Brogan Stephey in the first half.

He evenly split those receptions… Heitkamp with four, Couse with three, Connor Schmiesing with two, Charlie Schmiesing with two, James Niemeyer with two, Brady Wolf with one, Devan Wuebker with one and Justin Bergman with one.

“It was a special feeling,” he said, in response to setting a new school record for passing yards in a game. “But the offensive line, all the receivers…I couldn’t have done it without them. So a win is a win, we have a “Dub”.

It didn’t happen suddenly, as Stephey talked about the time spent running routes and timing things with all those guys running around Friday to catch soccer balls.

“Of course we traveled a lot of roads, we worked hard all summer, on holidays and during the camp. Tonight it paid off. It’s fun… fun to play with these guys. The victories are beautiful, people have counted us, but we still have three games left. We want to finish strong and win some playoff games.

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It seemed doable imminently, the way they played on Friday. And as Whiting mentioned earlier, this is a team that is built both for the immediate future and for the future. Minster has just seven seniors, ten juniors and 17 sophomores on their roster who have contributed to their now 5-2 record.

“The kids are doing a good job of performing,” Whiting told reporters waiting afterward. “There are things that we weren’t happy with tonight… our tackling could have been better… things that if we really want to compete, we have to clean all that up.

Parkway’s Eddie Nichols was outstanding, rushing 15 times for 148 yards and a touchdown.

“I was however happy with how quickly the kids came out and how quickly they played at the start. That’s been our ‘mo’ this year, starting slow and having to fight in the second half. Tonight, they did a good job of getting out there and controlling things from the jump.

In total, Minster finished with 482 yards — 445 through the air and just 37 on the ground.

Parkway showed his own offensive ability, pushing back 371 yards on offense, but much of that came from those two late fourth-quarter touchdowns when Minster was free-filling. Running back Eddie Nichols was particularly impressive, running the ball 15 times for 148 yards and a touchdown. Eddie Nichols, quite simply… can play!

That Charlie Schmiesing catch set Minster’s record for passing yards in a game… 445, by Brogan Stephey.

According to Brogan Stephey, there are three games left to play, and even more to play. Remarkable, given that this team went 1-9 last year, suffered a series of injuries and, given their youth, could have lost a lot of game zeal. Instead, they found a willingness to work, commit, and transform the program in no time.

“The kids did a great job in the off season,” adds Whiting. “Last year’s 1-9 was down to inexperience and injuries – a lot of things contributed to that. We were 1-9, but we weren’t a 1-9 football team. If you had seen us practice the last two weeks last year, you would never have guessed that we only won one game.

“They come to train every day, we train them hard, they accept to be trained, we improve every week and our seven seniors do a great job for us… everything we ask. We had kids who made some really great plays tonight, guys who caught, Justin Bergman with his long run there in the second half… you can’t talk enough about the work the line and those kids do together . It’s fun to throw it like we did tonight, but you also have to throw it to win games. We must continue to improve in this area.

They can, and there’s a good chance they will. As he met his wife and set off for the return trip to Minster, Seth Whiting recalled: “A lot of these guys running around catching passes [for Brogan Stephey] tonight… they are coming back.

Just like Brogan Stephey!

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