Lansing clips Mill Valley in final minutes
There is always a level of anticipation and curiosity that comes with the first game of the season for any school, but try making that a rivalry game that’s also the debut for a new coach.
That combination created plenty of intrigue when Mill Valley squared off with Lansing on Friday night at MVHS.
“It was a good experience,” MVHS coach Joel Applebee said. “It was great to have the fans behind us the whole game.”
The Jaguars were unable to get a win under their new head coach, however, as they dropped a 28-27 heartbreaker.
The biggest struggle for the Jaguars all night was their pass coverage. They allowed more than 250 yards through the air, and it ended up costing them when Lansing receiver Parker Gibson broke a 68-yard reception that put Lansing inside the 5-yard line late in the game.
Running back Spencer Blew capped the drive when he punched in a touchdown. The extra point gave LHS a 1-point lead with 1:04 to go in the game.
Lansing seemed to have a knack all night of scoring under pressure doing it three out of the four quarters of the game with time dwindling off the clock.
“You have to give those guys credit,” Applebee said, “They had some good athletes out there tonight.”
Both teams began the game slow, each only able to move the ball a short distance.
The Lions drew first blood after quarterback Litton Van Der Werff scampered in for a touchdown with 12 seconds left in the first quarter..
Mill Valley quickly countered with an impressive four-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown by running back Kyle Brunson that tied the game at 7-7.
After that, both offenses began to click. Each scoring once more before halftime. But Lansing capitalized on a late interception and was able to get a touchdown pass by Van Der Werff to Gibson with about three seconds left before halftime. That gave the Lions a 21-14 lead at intermission.
The third quarter was similar to the first as both teams were inefficient on offense. Each squad coughed the ball up once, with LHS throwing an interception and MVHS fumbling the ball away during the first eight minutes of the quarter.
Turnovers were a key factor for the Jaguars all night. They forced five takeaways on the night, including two interceptions by cornerback Jake Theis.
Following a good defensive stop, Mill Valley carved out a nine-play, 82-yard drive that Brunson capped with a rushing touchdown.
Brunson finished with 198 yards on 31 carries.
Mill Valley quarterback Macauley Garton put up 145 total yards of offense including a rushing touchdown and an interception.
By the end of the night both players were starting to look comfortable in the new “pistol” shotgun offense.
Along with the Jaguars’ duo in the backfield, wide receiver Mark Biesma made two impressive catches for 65 yards along with handling the kicking duties.
After a strip and recovery by defensive lineman Zach Callahan, the Jaguars continued to control the clock adding another touchdown by Brunson with about 4:25 remaining in the game.
“ That was our strategy from the beginning (of the half),” Applebee said.
But the Jaguars ended up botching the extra point, which proved costly as the Jaguars led by just six points instead of seven.
That left the door open for the late strike to Gibson which set up the winning touchdown with time winding down.
The Jaguars were disappointed with the loss, but they know that there still is a long way to go before the end of the season.
“We’re looking to get better one day at a time,” Applebee said.
Mill Valley (0-1) next plays at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Bonner Springs.