Since a season-opening loss to Manhattan, Mill Valley has been more than happy to play the role of football bully over the past eight weeks — burying eight straight opponents under a pile of points.
By TODD ENGLE
Special to The Star
But Bishop Miege got the ball first in Friday’s Class 5A regional playoff game, and the Stags struck first. Ultimately, they rolled to a 41-23 victory at Mill Valley.
Bishop Miege, 5-5, will play host to Blue Valley West in a 5A quarterfinal game next week.
The Stags’ defense thwarted an offense that put up at least 43 points over the last eight games — including a 77-point performance last week.
Miege didn’t let the Jaguars tear off chunks of yardage. And on this night, Mill Valley, 8-2, wasn’t able to sustain drives. Jaguars quarterback Skyler Windmiller finished with 265 passing yards, but it took 54 attempts to do so.
Miege’s offense, meanwhile, started hot and basically stayed that way. The Stags scored with ease on their first two drives.
“We knew our job all night was to get up on those guys, and we did,” Miege coach Jon Holmes said.
Mill Valley didn’t have an answer to Miege’s quarterback-receiver combo of Montell Cozart and McKinley Johnson.
Cozart threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 84 yards and another score.
Johnson was an all-purpose dynamo. He caught 13 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown and threw in an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter that took the air out of Mill Valley’s sails.
Miege’s scheme isolated Johnson on purpose, and Cozart had no problem looking his teammate’s way time after time.
“We like to give McKinley the ball in space so he can do what he can do, like tightroping down the sideline,” Cozart said. “McKinley’s a great player. Look for him to do some big things.”
Holmes wanted Johnson to go to work, and Johnson delivered.
“We felt very good about our one-on-one matchups and our players played the way we thought they could play all night,” Holmes said. “We feel he’s one of the best receivers in the city, and our game plan was to get him the ball as many times as we could.”
Miege basically ended all hopes of a Mill Valley comeback with a touchdown midway through the third quarter that pushed the lead to 28-6. That drive was highlighted by a fake punt that Jeffrey Martin turned into a 22-yard gain.
The Stags beat Mill Valley to the punch time and again on Friday. And that’s the biggest reason why they have a rematch with Blue Valley West next week.
Miege lost the first meeting against West 41-36 back on Oct. 4, and they’ll be looking to even the score.
“We’re at the playoffs. Everybody is 0-0,” Johnson said.
Well, now the Stags are 1-0. And they’re looking for more.