Woods helps Mill Valley fend off challenge from Basehor
Basehor During the first half Friday night, the Mill Valley football team looked like a state playoff contender. For much of the second half Basehor-Linwood did the same.
Mill Valley senior running back Nick Woods proved to be the difference, however, as he ran for two touchdowns and returned a kickoff for another score in a 28-14 Jaguar victory at Basehor.
Any plans for a Bobcat upset were put to rest early. On the third play of the game Tanner Rainbolt picked off a Brandon Leppke pass that deflected off a receiver's hands. Rainbolt returned it 14 yards to the 17-yard line. Four plays later Luke Lawyer scored on a quarterback sneak from a yard out. The extra point try was blocked by Derek Shandy, but Mill Valley led 6-0 less than three minutes into the game.
A 24-yard run by Leppke on the ensuing possession gave a brief spark to the Basehor offense, but the Mill Valley defense soon rose to the occasion. It was prepared for a fake punt on fourth down and thwarted the scoring threat.
The Jaguars' lead grew to 9-0 on a 22-yard field goal by Mark Biesma with 1:37 left in the first quarter.
The Mill Valley defense forced a three-and-out on the Bobcats' next possession. Kyle Savner boomed a 48-yard punt that appeared to set the Jaguars back. One play later, Nick Woods squirted up the middle and left the defense in the dust for a 78-yard touchdown dash. The 2-point conversion failed, and the Jaguars led 15-0 with 11:49 left in the second quarter. That lead held up through halftime.
A role reversal took place in the third quarter, and it was sparked by the Basehor defense. Anthony Pierce threw Lawyer for a 6-yard loss and then dragged down Kellen Kinnamon for a 1-yard loss on successive plays. After an incomplete pass by Lawyer to the endzone, Mill Valley punted.
Basehor needed just four plays to go 54 yards and reach the endzone. Leppke connected with Richie O'Donnell over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good, but the Bobcats were within 15-6 with 8:26 left in the third quarter.
Woods breathed the lone sign of life of the quarter into the Jaguars when he returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. Again the 2-point conversion was unsuccessful, but the lead was 21-6.
Basehor went three-and-out on its next possession and then forced a Mill Valley fumble at the 12-yard line. After four straight Leppke runs, the quarterback slipped into the endzone from 1 yard out. Leppke then passed to Shandy for the 2-point conversion. That cut Mill Valley's lead to 21-14 with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
Mill Valley continued to struggle to move the ball as the quarter wound down. The Jaguars' defense compensated, however. A bad pitch was recovered by Kinnamon and allowed Mill Valley to melt more clock. Late in the fourth quarter another fumble was recovered by Chris Mayer. That set up the Jaguars to put the game away. They handed the ball to Woods three times in a row, the last of which he took 14 yards to the endzone. Biesma's extra point was good, and the lead grew to 28-14 with 3:47 left in the game.
Basehor had two more possessions, but both came up just short. The first saw the Bobcats drive to midfield before coming up 2 yards short on fourth down. The last saw them complete a 35-yard pass to Ryan Murphy. He was brought down just shy of the endzone as time expired.
Woods finished with 208 yards rushing on 29 carries for Mill Valley. Leppke carried the ball 23 times for 89 yards for Basehor.
Mill Valley (2-1 overall, 2-0 Kaw Valley League) plays at Bonner Springs (2-1, 2-1) next week. Basehor (1-2, 1-2) travels to Turner (0-3, 0-2).