Aquinas strong in opening win over Mill Valley
By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
The Randy Dreiling era at St. Thomas Aquinas has begun.
The Saints gained some revenge for last year’s playoff ousting by Mill Valley with a 34-24 handling. Dreiling, in his first year at Aquinas after winning seven state titles with Hutchinson, and his vaunted flexbone offense racked up 334 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars.
But he had one word to describe his team’s performance.
“We missed a lot of opportunities. You can’t leave points out on the field like we did,” he said. “But I was proud of the way our kids played. It’s the first game of the year. We’ll work on it and get better.”
Things started almost perfectly for the Saints, though. Mill Valley took the opening drive down inside the 10, but Aquinas held the Jags to a field goal. After that, the big plays were plentiful, starting with an 84 yard scramble into the endzone by quarterback Karter Odermann on the first play from scrimmage.
Mill Valley quickly took the lead back as quarterback Logan Koch found Christian Jegen en route for a 69 yard score. A two-point conversion made it 11-7, but tailback James Cosentino scored on a 68 yard run as time expired in the first. After a missed extra point, the Saints would protect a 13-11 lead until late in the first half, when Cosentino threw a pass off a sweep to Nathan Burditt for a 21 yard touchdown with 13 seconds left.
“We’ve been working hard all summer, and it’s paying off. We tried to drain the clock and run it down their throats, and we did that,” Cosentino said.
The track meet continued for Consentino and Aquinas as the second half kicked off with a 94 return for a touchdown by the junior to make it 27-11.
“Mistakes cause big plays, and they had a lot of big plays,” Mill Valley head coach Joel Applebee said. “They played hard, and we knew they would. We just need to improve on a daily basis. We’re an inexperienced, young team, and we have a ways to go.”
That showed on a four-play, 79 yard drive, capped off on a run by Matt Robertson from 48 yards out to seal the deal. Odermann led all rushers with 128 yards on 12 carries with Consentino right behind with 120 on 18 rushes. Koch finished 10-12 for 138 yards and two touchdowns and 34 yards and another score on the ground for the Jags.
“I’m happy for these kids. They’ve put in a lot of work,” Dreiling said. “They have bought in, but I don’t think they understand how good they can be yet. There are so many little nuances to this offense that they’re not game ready yet, and we saw that.”
Koch would get his rushing touchdown on a tough 13 yard run with 6:26 left in the fourth and his second on a 10 yard pass to Luke Krull. But the two-point conversion failed, Aquinas recovered the onside kick, and the clock ran out on the Jags in the first game of their new toughened schedule.
“This week isn’t going to define us as a team,” Applebee said. “We always say, ‘It’s not who we play, it’s how we play.’ We want to make improvements from week to week. We have to correct our mistakes and move on as a team.”
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