Postgame celebrations come in all shapes and sizes. And make no mistake, Mill Valley had ample reason to celebrate after going on the road and thumping Class 5A state runner-up St. Thomas Aquinas 38-20 on Friday night.
The Jaguars savored this victory in the postgame din for a couple of reasons — last year’s opening loss to Aquinas chief among them.
It was a multifaceted victory on Friday. The Mill Valley defense forced three turnovers and thwarted the Saints’ hard-charging option offense after allowing a first-drive touchdown.
“They knew the series they needed to come up with some big stops and turnovers, and they did an outstanding job with it,” Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee said. “I thought they played very physical. That’s what I’m more proud of than anything.”
As for the Mill Valley offense, senior quarterback Logan Koch and receiver Christian Jegen took turns putting on a show.
The first half belonged to the versatile Jegen, who can line up anywhere on offense. He caught nine passes for 151 yards and a score. The touchdown came when he laid out in the end zone and hauled in a 28-yard strike from Koch. Jegen also ran for 30 yards and threw in a long kick return for good measure.
Mill Valley didn’t hide the fact the ball was going to Jegen, and Aquinas had no answer.
“He goes up and gets anything,” Koch said. “It’s pretty fun to throw to him.”
Koch showcased his arm in the first half and his legs in the second. He finished the game with 218 yards passing, and a pair of touchdowns.
His legs did the work in the second half. Koch rushed for all but 4 of his 97 yards after halftime, including all three rushing touchdowns.
“The loss to them last year in the first game, we were disappointed, and we left early in the playoffs,” Koch said. “We were working since that loss to beat Aquinas, and we came out, did what we needed to do, and we won.”
Mill Valley’s longest scoring drive in the second half covered 54 yards. The Jaguars spent the final two quarters camped out in Aquinas territory thanks to the defense.
“The ‘D’ played tremendous,” Koch said. “We play against them every day in practice and it’s tough. They played a hell of a game.”
Aquinas got 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns from running back Jacob Leikam, and quarterback Karter Odermann ran for 81 yards and a score.