BALLWIN -- About 30 minutes before the start of Thursday's MSHSAA Class 4 District 3 playoff opener at Parkway West High School's Longhorn Stadium, between Westminster Christian Academy and Ladue, Mother Nature decided it was time she show everyone thinking about football what real power was.
First, the skies opened and a furious storm followed. Then, just for good measure, the lightning strikes began and sent everyone running for cover.
The water and light show continued for nearly an hour before the first-round playoff game between two of the more underrated teams in the area.
Early on in the game, it seemed lightning struck again -- only this time it wasn't Mother Nature.
Instead, it was Westminster junior quarterback Brett Bond who threw two magnificent first-quarter touchdown passes to teammate Kyle Kinner, which helped the Wildcats build a lead they would never relinquish in an eventual 28-0 win over Ladue.
"You've got to give credit to (Westminster)," Ladue head coach Mike Tarpey said. "They're well-coached and their kids played hard, and they made some big plays in the first half."
And it was those two touchdown throws, one a 21-yarder and the other a 37-yarder, that allowed Westminster the breathing room to just play its game, while Ladue was stuck trying to mount a comeback in absolutely miserable wet and cold conditions.
"Well, it was the same for both teams, we both had to play in it," Tarpey said. "But after those two scores, their sideline could kind of forget about the delay and the weather, while our sideline was still kind of thinking about it, and maybe some of the negative thoughts started to creep in."
Sophomore Trey Merritt added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, that along with junior kicker David Williams' three PATs, gave Westminster a 21-0 lead at halftime.
Ladue mounted its best drive of the game at the start of the third quarter, unfortunately though, a pair of penalties took the Rams out of scoring range.
Neither team was able to score in that quarter, but Westminster did close out the night with a 3-yard touchdown blast up the middle, by defensive lineman-turned-fullback Justin Creighton to make it 28-0 Wildcats.
"It's disappointing to go out with a game like this," Tarpey said. "But I am really proud of these kids and how they worked and improved all year. We we're the Suburban East champions. We went 5-0 in conference this year, and that's the third Suburban East title for these seniors, so I'm real proud of that."
Ladue finished the year with a 6-4 record.
Westminster, which is now 8-2, advances to the second round of the new-look playoff format, and will face unbeaten Sullivan (MO), Halloween night in Sullivan.
The winner of that contest will then advance to the Class 4 District 3 championship game, which is scheduled to be played on Monday, November 5.
Score by Quarters ... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 -- Final
Westminster .......... 14 .. 7 ... 0 ... 7 -- 28
Ladue ...................... 0 ... 0 ... 0 ... 0 -- 0
WCA - Kyle Kinner 21 yard pass from Brett Bond (David Williams kick) -- 7-0
WCA - Kyle Kinner 37 yard pass from Brett Bond (David Williams kick) -- 14-0
WCA - Trey Merritt 1 yd run (David Williams kick) -- 21-0
WCA - Justin Creighton 1 yd run (David Williams kick) -- 28-0