No lose November

Lori Habiger/Center Stage Photography

By Andrew Robinson PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 11, 2017 - 1:00 AM

No matter Mill Valley’s results in September and October, the Jaguars keep finding their way back to a familiar position in November. Mill Valley (7-4) took down rival St. James 21-14 on Friday night at College Boulevard Activities Center to earn a spot in the 5A state semifinals and keep the hope alive for a third straight Class 5A state championship.

“It’s huge, we’re so excited. We’re ready to get back to practice and go for that three-peat,” said running back Cameron Young who was part of a steady Jaguars offense.

Mill Valley required a critical defensive stop in the red zone, and then found a way to run out the remaining 1:12 on the clock to seal the victory.

It looked briefly that a fumble, which was the Jaguars downfall in the week 1 matchup between the two teams, would keep them from advancing on Friday.

The Jaguars took control of the ball with just over five minutes remaining and were working to drain the clock, but then they fumbled a handoff giving St. James an opportunity to tie the game.

“We knew we that we had to not fumble the ball and it would be a big part of the game,” said Mill Valley quarterback Brody Flaming. “But our defense saved us and props to them.”

A 31-yard pass from St. James (8-3) quarterback Luke Heller to wide receiver Mason Dunsmore got the Thunder down to the Mill Valley 18-yard line and it looked like overtime might be on the horizon. But then Mill Valley stuffed two consecutive runs by St. James running back Jack Petz before Heller threw back-to-back incompletions and the Thunder turned the ball over on downs.

With three timeouts remaining, St. James remained hopeful it would get another shot, but Flaming drew a facemask penalty on a critical third down giving the Jaguars a first down and the victory.

Mill Valley felt as if it had momentum for much of the game, even though it never led by more than six points until the fourth quarter. St. James did briefly have a 14-13 lead late in the third quarter after a 13-play, 77-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Petz.

Petz, who came into the game with over 1,300 rushing yards finished with 73 on 31 carries.

“Our defense played lights out,” Applebee said. “Offensively it was ugly at times but it got the job done.”

The Jaguars also struggled to find the end zone, settling for two field goals from kicker Jack Matchette. And Flaming is certainly correct that the Jaguars’ defense was key, forcing three key turnover on downs deep in their own territory.

Early in the fourth quarter, Mill Valley would retake the lead for good. Flaming connected with wide receiver Evan Rice for a 26-yard touchdown pass. Flaming then converted the two-point conversion with a quarterback keeper to take a 21-14 lead for good.

Now Mill Valley will look to do what it did Friday night — avenge a September loss. This time it will be against St. Thomas Aquinas which took the Jaguars down 42-21 in the previous meeting.

“Aquinas has been here before, we know that it’ll be tough,” Applebee said. “At the same time, I like our guys. They haven’t won 13 straight playoff games for no reason.”