Miege gets Mill Valley again
By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
There are playoff demons that reside around Mill Valley. But one poltergeist in particular has plagued the Jaguars over the past few years.
The nightmares continued Friday night.
Bishop Miege took down a streaking Mill Valley squad in a 41-23 win in the first round of the Kansas 5A playoffs, marking the Stags’ third straight time beating the Jags.
“Big game for us tonight,” head coach Jon Holmes said. “That’s one of the best teams we’ve played this year, one of the hottest teams in the state.”
Miege did what was seemingly impossible the last eight weeks, and that is stop the high-powered offense of the Jags that averaged 60 points per game at home. And they did it with offense.
“We wanted to start fast, and we did. We wanted to get them in a position that they haven’t had to play in in playing from behind,” Holmes said.
Right from the get-go Miege went for the Jaguar jugular. The Stags took the game’s first drive 64 yards and reigning Gatorade Player of the Year Montell Cozart took an option keeper 13 yards for the opening score.
The Stags didn’t stop there. After forcing a punt, Cozart hooked up with McKinley Johnson six times on 11 plays before letting Keegan Wilson rumble in from three yards out to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
“We knew we had to get on them early and keep the pedal down on them,” Cozart said. “We threw some different things at them, especially with the option which we haven’t run all year.”
Early on, the Jags realized that this 5A Miege squad was a different beast after rolling through a Kaw Valley League made up mostly of 4A schools.
“We had to adjust a little bit in the first half,” Mill Valley head coach Joel Applebee said. “I think we did in the second quarter a bit, but they’re big, fast, and physical, and that’s something we hadn’t seen in a while.”
Mill Valley answered in the second with quarterback Skyler Windmiller taking it 27 yards on third-and-one to cut into the lead at 14-6. But that’s as close as it would get.
On the ensuing kickoff, Johnson showed his big play ability with an 85-yard kick return for a touchdown to bring the score to 21-6. Johnson would finish with the special teams touchdown, as well as 12 catches for 126 yards and another score.
“We wanted to get No. 3 the ball, and he did a great job catching the ball and getting up the field,” Holmes said of Johnson. “We felt that if we could get him the ball in open space, it’ll be hard to tackle him.”
Connor Mills knocked a 32-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, but Miege picked up right where they left off in the third quarter, going 77 yards to increase the advantage.
Mill Valley picked up a fumble and drove into Stag territory before Blake Schneiders picked off Windmiller and returned inside Jaguar territory. Two touches by Johnson later, and the route was on.
“They just made plays at critical moments,” Applebee said. “We had some chances, but we just couldn’t convert on them. We just made too many mistakes.
“We knew we weren’t going to change anything from what we’ve done all year, and that was focus on ourselves and prepare as best we could.”
The teams traded second half barbs with Miege getting one more score from Wilson and Mill Valley adding a Nick Wilson 10-yard touchdown run and another Windmiller rushing touchdown. Windmiller finished with 13 rushes for 91 yards and two scores while finding wide receiver Staten Rebeck 18 times for 180 yards.
But it was the Stags advancing to the next round. And they’ll find a new breed of Jaguar waiting for them, one they are more familiar with, in Blue Valley West. West took down Miege earlier this year in 41-36 thriller.
“A lot of it is going to come down to watching film from the last game against them and seeing what we can fix,” Holmes said. “I think we’re confident, but there’s a lot of work to do. They have a great quarterback and running back, huge offensive and defensive lines.
“We’re going to have to play our best football next week.”
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