One last statement

Elizabeth Ouellette/Special to PrepsKC

By Ryan Wallace PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: October 7, 2016 - 10:34 PM

If not for a nine-yard touchdown pass from Brody Flaming to Logan Talley with 6:49 left in the second quarter, Mill Valley might have gone to the visiting locker room at Bishop Miege down 50-0 to the Stags at halftime on a crisp Friday night in Mission. Yes, it was that kind of evening for the No. 1 team in 4A-I, as Miege triumphed in their EKL finale by a score of 64-21.

“That’s big for us,” said head coach Jon Holmes on winning the campaign’s last league battle. “Our seniors finished the EKL 24-3 in their four years and that’s one thing we talked about all week; we wanted to get to 5-1.”

“It was homecoming, it was the seniors’ last EKL game, and Mill Valley’s a great team so we wanted to come out with a lot of energy and play well.”

The offensive balance of offensive coordinator Justin Hoover’s play calling was on full display for the EKL newcomers throughout the early goings.  A lively group from the opening snap, the Stags’ seven touchdowns in the first half were scored by five different players, with the opening three coming on the ground and the final four through the air.

Sharing in the rushing jubilation was the trio of junior Cameron Clark (four-yard touchdown), sophomore Ta’Von Tusa (29-yard touchdown), and freshman Brison Cobbins (19-yard touchdown). Passing wise, Missouri commit Jafar Armstrong quieted a vocal visiting student section with a 26-yard touchdown reception of his own to make it 28-0 late in the first quarter, before junior quarterback Carter Putz found his favorite connection of the night, Landry Weber, for highlight-reel touchdown receptions of 26, 42, and 86-yards in the opening half alone.

“I had my career best game last week, so it’s tough to try and repeat that but I guess I got it done,” said a smiling Weber, who added another one-handed score on a bullet from Putz in the third quarter, marking back-to-back four-touchdown performances. “Mill Valley’s the new team in the conference and we wanted to show them what we’re all about. We don’t just win state because we’re some 4A team- we’re a good team. We wanted to prove that to them.”

“We felt like we had some good match-ups in man-to-man with good routes and we challenged our wide outs, challenged Carter Putz, and challenged our offensive line to come out and win those battles,” added Holmes, whose team’s final touchdown came courtesy of junior Quinn Schieber. “With Landry though, he’s pretty special and he’s starting to show that. You know, defenses are going to try and put a safety over Armstrong and we’re able to make them pay for that with (Weber).”

Though Mill Valley was able to show bits of resiliency in the second half on a pair of touchdowns from sophomore running back Cameron Young, the enormous loss made it three defeats in a row for the first time since 2014 when the squad opened the season winless.

“Obviously turnovers early killed us,” said head coach Joel Applebee. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the other two losses, it was more just the breakdowns we had tonight. The momentum of those turnovers just killed us.”

The loss serves as the worst defeat for Mill Valley since 2010, when the same Bishop Miege Stags took down the Jaguars 67-21 behind the efforts of Max Shortell and Tre’ Parmalee.

“This is what we signed up for when we joined the EKL and we’re not backing away from that.  It’s very much so a learning point and all season long but next week we have to improve.”

In the case of the victors, Miege appears as strong as ever with both offense and defense clicking at the right time. Just in the past two weeks, the offense has put together 118 points for a defense that hasn’t allowed more than three-scores since the season opening loss to Blue Valley.

“All week, watching their film, they have an offense that’s so good,” Holmes stated, describing a Mill Valley attack that was stifled thanks to the efforts of linebackers Dylan Downing and Joe Watskey in addition to a key interception from Jaden Johnson. “The quarterback and the wide receiver, Hartman, are two of the best in the state numbers-wise, but our defense rose up and we were able to get some takeaways. They played really well.”

Prior to finishing a regular season slate that focuses on a trio of 4A opponents with a combined record of 11-7, Holmes’ sincere joy over his squad’s performance lent the head coach to do something rare – give players the weekend off until Monday. Still, with a locker room filled with leaders who fully understand what’s still at stake, there’s plenty more to look forward to from the Stags.

“We’re an experienced group and we’ve learned to truly focus on one game at a time,” says Weber. “That’s what we’ve always done and that’s how we’ll finish this year too.”

“We come in every Saturday so it’s very rare for those guys to be off, but I’m very proud of them,” Holmes added. “I’m real excited and hopefully we can keep this thing rolling.”