The minutes slipped by and pushed toward an hour, but the crowd on the Carnie Smith Stadium field would only slowly disperse.
The Mill Valley Jaguars and their fans were going to soak up every last bit of this Saturday.
Behind an efficient, quick-starting offense and a bend-but-don’t-break defense, the Jaguars beat Bishop Carroll 35-14 and won the Kansas Class 5A state championship. It is the first state title in the school’s 15-year history.
“This is amazing,” said Mill Valley senior quarterback Logan Koch, who completed 10 of 19 passes for 200 yards while also rushing for 79. “It’s been 15 years in the making for the school, and especially four years in the making for us seniors. We’ve talked about this for a long time, and now everyone will talk about this team forever.”
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The Jaguars, 12-1, were never seriously threatened by their opponent in front of a crowd of about 3,000 that was dominated by Mill Valley fans, who braved the near-freezing weather.
After the Golden Eagles, 11-2, fumbled on the game’s second play, Mill Valley took a 7-0 lead on Koch’s tackle-breaking 19-yard run. The Jaguars’ defense forced a three-and-out before Koch scrambled and lofted a pass to 6-foot-6 senior receiver Lucas Krull, who made a nice catch for a 26-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
“Logan is a straight-up amazing athlete and stayed alive,” Krull said. “We knew we could beat them deep and a found a crease, he put it up, and I laid out for it and brought it in.”
It was 21-0 after Koch’s 13-yard run on an option before Bishop Carroll finally showed some life with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jakob Allen to Ethan Lopez.
The Eagles then pinned Mill Valley inside its own 1-yard line after Allen took advantage of the strong north wind and punted 85 yards.
But the Jaguars marched 99 yards in nine plays, never facing a third down and pushing the lead to 28-7 on Koch’s 2-yard run.
“That was unbelievable,” Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee said. “It started up front. They did a great job of being very, very physical. They did their jobs. I’m very proud. It’s a senior-laden group ,and they deserve it.”
Bishop Carroll cut the lead to 28-14 before halftime, and recovered an onside kick opening the second half. Adam Theis caught a pass, broke a handful of tackles and made it inside the Mill Valley 10, but Christian Jegen stripped the ball and fell on it, thwarting the scoring chance.
“I saw the ball sticking out and we always work on the strip drill,” said Jegen, who also rushed for 84 yards and a TD. “I slapped at the ball, it came out, and I jumped on it. That was huge.”
Neither team scored again until Jegen’s 22-yard score all but iced the win with 9:46 left in the fourth quarter.