No. 1 Mill Valley thumps No. 4 Bonner Springs
Shawnee The Mill Valley football team used its high-octane offense and stingy defense to punch its ticket to the playoffs on Friday evening at home as the Jaguars defeated Bonner Springs 48-14 in a Class 5A District 3 matchup.
The No. 1 state-ranked Jaguars — now 7-1 overall and 2-0 in district play — trailed early and had just a 12-point lead heading into halftime. But Mill Valley kept its foot on the gas in the final two quarters to pull away from the No. 4 Braves and secure the victory on a cool, damp Shawnee night.
The Jaguars have just one game remaining on the regular season schedule with a 7 p.m. matchup next Friday on the road against Turner (2-6, 0-2).
“It’s big for a lots of reasons, obviously, with it being a district game,” Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee said. “I’m just proud of our kids and the way they came out and played much, much better in the second half. We’ve got some things we need to improve on — there’s no doubt about that. But there’s no doubt in my mind this senior class is ready to do that.”
Bonner Springs (7-1, 1-1) will have a chance to clinch a postseason berth next week as they travel to St. Thomas Aquinas to take on St. James Academy (7-1, 1-1). Friday offered a tough loss for the Braves, but coach Lucas Aslin is confident his group can bounce back and take care of business against the Thunder.
“We talk about competing all the time, and that’s all we want to do,” Aslin said. “We’re going to go compete next week and see what we can do. The kids have got to be proud. We haven’t been 7-1 in a long time. We haven’t been 7-0 in a long time. Bonner Springs hasn’t seen this before. … We have to get to that point where that’s the expectation.”
Bonner Springs grabbed the early lead midway through the opening quarter, capping its first drive of the game with three-yard touchdown pass from Connor Byers to Charlie Gray. Byers, Bonner Springs heralded senior quarterback, finished the game 24-for-40 for 230 yards through the air and added 54 yards on 20 carries on the ground.
“He’s a heck of a player,” Applebee said. “He’s a very, very good player. We just had to do our jobs. All 11 on defense had to do their jobs and not try to do somebody else’s. I thought the second half they did a great job with that.”
Mill Valley wasted no time answering the Braves’ opening score, tying the game two minutes later when Logan Koch connected with Ben Hartman on a 30-yard touchdown pass.
After Bonner Springs went three-and-out, the Jaguars found paydirt once again, this time on a 38-yard run from Christian Jegen. Mill Valley then took a 20-7 lead early in the second quarter when Ike Valencia plunged in from the one-yard line.
Bonner Springs cut the lead to six when Byers found Marcell Holmes for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds to play before halftime. But the Jaguars were magically able to answer with a 33-yard Hail Mary pass from Koch to Jegen. That score gave Mill Valley a 26-14 advantage at the intermission.
The Jaguars took a 34-14 lead midway through the third quarter when Koch found the end zone on a five-yard run. Jegen added touchdown runs of 23 and one yards, respectively, in the fourth to account for the final points.
“Penalties killed us,” Applebee said. “Other than that, I thought we played really well offensively. We’ve just got to get rid of the penalties.”
Jegen was the catalyst for Mill Valley. The senior playmaker ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, caught three passes for 98 yards and a touchdown and intercepted a pass on defense.
Koch finished 13-for-22 for 226 yards, and Valencia rushed for 97 yards on 13 carries. Luke Krull caught five passes for 58 yards, and Brady Garrison snagged three passes for 37 yards.
Holmes was Bonner Springs’ leading receiver, recording seven catches for 56 yards. Jamison Jackson caught four passes for 44 yards, and Gray caught five passes for 37 yards.
Jon Poorman is the sports editor at The Dispatch and The Chieftain. Follow him on Twitter at @JonPoorman for all of the latest community sports news.