Jaguars jump on Braves early, hand Bonner Springs 48-26 loss
A dominant first-half performance on both sides of the ball proved to be the difference for the Mill Valley football team as it beat rival Bonner Springs, 48-26, Friday night at Jaguar Stadium.
The Jaguars scored four first-half touchdowns and built a 27-0 lead by intermission. That was enough of a cushion to keep Bonner Springs at a safe distance even as the Braves gained momentum during the final two quarters.
“Our goal is we want to jump on them early,” Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee said. “We need to learn to put them away though, and that comes with learning. When you think about it, we’re still pretty young, and they’ll learn to do that.”
Mill Valley set the tone on the opening drive. The Jaguars marched 65 yards on eight plays, six of them runs by tailback Kendall Short. A 20-yard touchdown pass from Skyler Windmiller to L.J. Hatch capped the drive, and Andrew Wesp’s extra point gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead barely three minutes into the game.
It didn’t take long for the lead to grow. A botched snap on Bonner Springs’ punt attempt gave Mill Valley first down at the Braves’ 23. Five plays later, Short scored on a 1-yard run and Mill Valley took a 14-0 lead with 6:08 left in the opening quarter.
More than the early deficit, the way the Braves performed during the first half disappointed first-year BSHS coach Lucas Aslin. It was a drastic difference from the way the Braves played against Topeka Seaman in week one.
“We didn’t come to play in the first (half),” Aslin said. “We had guys make mistakes who hadn’t been making mistakes. Guys we count on to do some solid things didn’t, we had some bad snaps and we put ourselves in some bad spots against a good team. Seaman is a good team, but (Mill Valley) was a good team, too, and if you do that against a good team, you can’t survive. They piled on us early.”
After three straight three-and-outs — two by BSHS and one by Mill Valley — the Jaguars threatened to score again. An interception by Joseph Dooley at the 5-yard line kept the Jaguars out of the end zone, but only temporarily. After another Bonner Springs punt, Mill Valley rattled off a nine-play, 81-yard drive that took 3:43. Windmiller completed two passes to Henry Midyett during the drive, including one for a 19-yard touchdown.
Windmiller threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Rice with 1:38 left in the second quarter. The extra point was blocked, but the Jaguars took a 27-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Mill Valley dominated both sides of the ball during the first two quarters as the Jaguars’ offense piled up 296 total yards and the defense limited Bonner Springs to just 39 yards.
“The defense is playing very, very physical,” Applebee said. “They’re doing a great job swarming to the ball. It’s just a carry-over from practice because they’re practicing very, very hard right now.”
Bonner Springs fumbled and turned the ball over on the first play of the third quarter. Mill Valley promptly capitalized with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Windmiller to Hatch on a fly pattern down the right sideline. After the 2-point conversion, Mill Valley led 35-0 with 10:39 left in the third quarter.
Bonner Springs finally gained some traction on its next possession. The Braves rattled off a seven-play, 72-yard drive. Most of the ground was covered by running back J.J. Jackson on six carries, the final one going for 15 yards and a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but the Braves were within 35-6.
On the ensuing possession, Mill Valley was driving when Short fumbled and Bonner Springs’ Darian Neal scooped it up and raced 67 yards for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good, but BSHS was within 35-12 with 4:24 left in the third quarter.
Mill Valley responded with touchdowns on its next two possessions. Windmiller dumped off a short pass to Short who juked a linebacker, popped to the outside and raced to the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. Short added a 25-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter as the lead grew to 48-12.
Bonner Springs scored twice in the final five minutes on big plays. Jourdaine Smallwood rolled to his left and hit Knernschield, who did the rest of the work with his legs racing down the sideline for a 71-yard touchdown.
Smallwood also connected with Stevie Williams for a 67-yard touchdown for the final score of the night.
Aslin was pleased with the way Bonner Springs battled in the second half even though it already was too far behind to catch up.
“We got better on so many things,” he said of the final two quarters. “We tried to tell the guys, ‘Just do your job, do your assignment and we’ll be fine.’ And the effort was good. That was one of the things we told them at halftime was if you give good effort, you can still have a chance.”
Windmiller had a dominant performance through the air for the Jaguars as he completed 19 of 29 passes for 345 yards and five touchdowns to one interception. Short rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries. Hatch had seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns, and Rice had six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Jackson led Bonner Springs with 92 yards rushing and a touchdown on 18 carries. Smallwood completed 11 of 24 passes for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Mill Valley (2-0) next plays at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at home against Tonganoxie. Bonner Springs (1-1) plays at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at home against Turner.