The Bishop Miege football program has accomplished literally almost everything it could over the past four seasons: four state titles, winning all but two of 52 games in that span, sending players to college programs all over the country.
Winning (and winning and winning) might start to become routine. And yet, Thursday night’s season-opening 33-21 win over Blue Valley North could be considered special.
Special because Blue Valley North, the defending Kansas Class 6A state champion, was a threat to end the Stags’ now 26-game winning streak. Quarterbacked by Miege transfer and Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz, the Mustangs have plans on defending their title.
Special because this is a new era for the Stags, who have to remember what life is like without a record-setting quarterback and all-purpose yardage machine Carter Putz.
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The hugs were many and strong when Miege coach Jon Holmes removed his headset as the final minute ticked away.
“It means a lot,” Homes said. “You talk about losing a guy who was 80 percent of your offensive game plan. Seeing guys step up, that’s the type of team we’ve got. “This is as good of a week 1 win as we’ve ever had.”
As it turns out, senior quarterback Sam Pedrotti is up to the challenge. He threw for two early touchdowns, and proved adept at extending drives with his feet.
The game between the two Eastern Kansas League powerhouses lived up to the hype through most of the first half.
The two teams traded the first four touchdowns, and Blue Valley North took a one-point lead with 8:17 left in the second quarter after Mertz’s first touchdown pass of the season.
After that, it was all Stags.
Bishop Miege responded with a methodical 12-play, 53-yard drive to take the lead.
Nine of those plays went to junior running back Brison Cobbins. The Miege offense controlled the line of scrimmage, and the diminutive 5-foot-7, 171-pound Cobbins took advantage of the gaps created to scamper in from 6 yards out.
Four plays later, Miege senior linebacker Dylan Downing stepped in front of a pass from Mertz and intercepted it. The Stags defense finished with four turnovers, including three interceptions.
Cobbins and the offense again went to work, this time scoring from 13-yards out to give Miege a 27-14 lead heading into the break.
Blue Valley North got the ball — and a chance to get back into the game — to start the third quarter.
That chance went away when the Stags fell on a bobbled handoff.
And after a couple of offensive penalties, it was Cobbins’ turn to shine again. This time he turned a simple draw into a 36-yard score. Cobbins finished with three touchdowns and about 200 rushing yards.
“He is the toughest guy on our football team,” Holmes said of Cobbins. “Everybody on our team will tell you that same thing. He’s a great kid, number one, but he knows when his number is called he has to make a play and that’s what he did tonight.”
Blue Valley North made it interesting, scoring midway through the fourth quarter and driving down inside the Miege 10-yard line with less than three minutes to play.
But the Stags held, and got their first win of the season.