South takes Q Street

Millard West varsity football team faces off against Millard South

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Emma Schertz

Millard West stayed close with the Patriots up until halftime. Meyersick had the catch that gave the Wildcats motivation to play their best throughout the rest of the game. “It was an eye opening game and we have identified things we can improve on,” Meyersick said. “The defense did well with the return of some of our injured players, and the offense got some more juices flowing.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Friday, September 11, Millard West varsity football faced off against the Millard South Patriots in the Battle of Q Street. The week three matchup between the rival Wildcats and Patriots was a game students had been waiting for since the start of the school year. 

Millard West had a record of 1-1 going into the matchup and Millard South had one of 2-0. The schools had been battling for decades to see who the true owner of Q Street was, and Millard West had owned that title for the last nine years.

The game started with a kickoff by the Patriots, and senior Colton Andrews returned the ball to the 16-yard line. This was followed by a loss of three yards for the Wildcats on the first two downs, and an incomplete pass on third down. This forced the Wildcats to punt the ball on a fourth and four situation. The next drive started on the Wildcats 24-yard line with a 38-yard return for the Patriots. After a timeout, the Patriots got a first down, leading them to the Wildcat’s 13 yard line. Within the next two plays, the Wildcats held the Patriots to a one-yard gain forcing them to take yet another timeout on the drive. Coming out of this timeout, the Wildcats blocked a touchdown pass on the Patriots, making them settle for three. The kick was good, making the score 3-0 Millard South. 

“The sidelines were really dead at the start of the game, which motivated us to make a change,” senior quarterback Jacob Jones said. “We had to get more intense and focus more on the things we do best.” “We also started to make the adjustment to throw the ball more, leading to us converting more often.”

With 6:55 seconds left in the first, the Wildcats started their second drive. The Wildcats began with two rushes for a total of two yards. The next play had two penalties on the field, one on the Wildcats and one on the Patriots. The Wildcats had a delay of game, and the Patriots got an offsides penalty which ultimately cancelled each other out. Shortly following these penalties, Jones threw a pass to senior wide reciever Noah Rookstool, who caught the ball for an 11-yard gain. The Wildcats then proceeded to have three consecutive runs by junior Nathan Pederson for 5 yards, forcing the Wildcats to punt again. With only 15 seconds left on the game clock, the Patriots had a 12-yard run to end the quarter.

“Millard South is one of the top teams in the state,” offensive coach William Sadowski said. “The game was a great test to see what talent we had, and even though it did not turn out how we desired, we learned we have a quarterback that can throw and wide receivers who are difference makers.”

The second quarter began with South rushing for seven yards and then missing a pass. On the pass play, the offense also had a holding call resulting in a third and 13, which the Patriots did not complete, giving them no option but to punt. The next three minute Wildcat drive started with two rushes and a risky fourth and five situation where the Wildcats completed a six-yard pass to senior Evan Meyersick. Continuing, the Wildcats had a rush for one yard and an incomplete pass with offensive holding on the play. Then, on a fourth and seven attempt, the Patriots stopped the Wildcats resulting in a turnover. 

The next drive went similar to the previous one of the Wildcats, in that the Patriots went three and out, and punted the ball. Following the punt a 27-yard pass was completed to junior Trace Thaden by Jones, making it first and ten on the Patriot 21-yard line. This was the second first down in the quarter, motivating the Patriot defense to step it up. After three more rushes for the Wildcats, they did not get a first down and decided to kick it on fourth and four. The 32-yard field goal was no good. After this occurred, there were two more drives in the half in which both the Wildcats and the Patriots did not complete a first down.

“I think we ran our defense really well and worked a lot better as a team on offense,” senior Nasser Nalbulsi said. “We could have definitely improved in spots like special teams and focusing on what was happening, and not what was going to happen next.”

The second half began with the ball on the 39-yard line, after a kick by junior Jaxson Nuemann. Senior TJ Urban, Millard South’s starting quarterback, rushed for 21 yards on first down and another five on second. Following this, the Patriots completed two passes for a gain of 13 yards and had the ball on the Wildcat’s one yard line. This was the first drive since the first quarter where numerous first downs were scored, and where the game started to pick up pace again. On a first and goal attempt, South scored a touchdown and converted the field goal making the score 10-0.

The Patriot kicker, Cole Lammel, put the ball in the hands of Wildcat kick returner, Andrews, on the five-yard line. The Wildcats failed to get a first again, and on the Patriots next drive, Urban threw a long pass caught by wide receiver junior Gage Stenger for a total of 40 yards. Following this, Millard South scored again, making it 17-0 after the completed PAT(point after touchdown).

The Wildcats stepped up their game, getting three consecutive first downs on the next drive. Following this was a second and ten attempt, which resulted in being the play of the game. Jones threw an 81-yard bomb to Meyersick which he caught at the Patriot one-yard line. The next play was a one yard rushing touchdown by Jones and a missed field goal attempt, making the score 17-6 Patriots. Directly following this, on the first play after the kick, Urban had a 64-yard rushing touchdown. This play was reviewed and the refs found holding on the offense which brought the ball back to the Patriot 48- yard line. After the penalty, the Patriots didn’t get any more first downs and were forced to punt on fourth and six. 

The next drive began with two rushes, and once again, on third down, Jones threw a long 68-yard lob to Pederson who ended up scoring. The kick was no good on the attempt, resulting in a close 17-12 score with the Patriots in the lead. Near the end of the quarter, Urban had another quarterback sneak resulting in a touchdown, and this time there was no call to bring the ball back. It was a 69-yard rushing touchdown and made the score 24-12, ending the third quarter.

“I thought we fought hard all game and even after getting down we tried our hardest to bring our team back into it,” Andrews said. “We could have been more assignment sound in the last half of the game, and stopped the Patriots conversions.”

Rounding out the game was the fourth quarter which began with the Wildcats taking the ball down the field and getting the ball picked off by Patriot cornerback Antrell Taylor. This brought the clock down to eight minutes and 29 seconds with the ball in the hands of Millard South. The drive was started by Urban rushing the ball twice for 7 yards, then fumbling it on his third attempt. Though Urban did fumble, he picked the ball right back up and the Patriots still had possession. They decided to go for it on a fourth and six and failed to get a first down resulting in Millard West getting the ball. Following three incomplete passes, the Wildcats went for it on a fourth and five attempt and ended up being a yard shy. When the turnover occurred, there was only three minutes and 34 seconds left on the clock, forcing the Wildcats to try to stop it with their timeouts. On this one drive Millard West used all of its timeouts, but the Patriots still converted a 16-yard rushing touchdown. The game ended with an incomplete pass by Jones and the final score was 31-12, South taking Q Street.

“If we put all the pieces together and keep grinding, we will be tough at the end of the season when it matters the most,” Sadowski said. “We also had some smart improvising in the game, for example when Coach White adapted the special teams personnel to a rugby style punt.”

Although Millard West lost the Battle of Q Street, they have many more games to come this season. The Wildcats game this Friday against Creighton Prep was cancelled, so they will play on September 25, at 7p.m. It will be an away game and a close ranking matchup, considering Prep is 0-1 and West is 1-2. Seniors are now allowed to attend Millard West activities, so show up and support the team.