The Thunderbirds dominate the Wildcats

Millard West Varsity Football takes a loss to Bellevue West


John Willis

Although the outcome of the game was not what the Wildcats would have hoped for, they fought through it without giving up. They prepared for this game with intense practice drills and adjusted their defense accordingly. “I felt good knowing our team was competing with a team with that much talent,” Andrews said. “I think we prepared well knowing it was going to be a tough game and did our best to hold them on major plays.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Friday, October 9, Millard West Varsity Football took on the Bellevue West Thunderbirds. Going into the game, the Wildcats were 1-3, and the Thunderbirds were ranked number one in the state with a record of 3-0.

The Wildcats started off fast with a four yard pass on first down and then a 65 yard rushing touchdown on third. Unfortunately for Millard West, there was a holding call that brought them back to their own 35, resulting in the touchdown being taken away. Following this, the Thunderbird defense held the Wildcats to a fourth and one, which Millard West did not complete on. Almost immediately after the turnover, on a second and six, Bellevue West’s senior quarterback Luke Johanssen threw a 55 yard passing touchdown making the score 7-0. 

After a four and out for Millard West, the Thunderbirds got the ball back with two minutes left and completed a 42-yard pass for another touchdown. This gave the Wildcats the ball once more in this quarter to make something happen. On the second play of the drive, there was a fumble and the Thunderbirds recovered the ball in the red zone. Bellevue West then proceeded to beat the Millard West defense on a pass and score a third touchdown rounding out the first quarter.

“At the end of the first quarter we were thinking we had a chance in this game and that it was gonna be a fight,” senior kicker Nasser Nabulsi said. “We were trying to adjust by minimizing the amount of passing they were doing and making sure we held them in hard positions.”

The second quarter began with Millard West on offense and a score of 21-0. The Wildcats seven minute drive started with a fumble by sophomore quarterback Brady Brau. Luckily for Millard West, he recovered his own fumble and, on the next play, completed a first down. This drive continued with eight more runs by the Wildcats and three defensive penalties bringing them to a fourth and two situation on the Thunderbirds nine yard line. On this play, Bellevue’s defense held strong and stopped Millard West. With the ball back in their hand, the Thunderbirds proceeded to score once more before the quarter ended with a three yard run by senior running back Lee Richardson.

“We plan on having a higher level of intensity at practice all week and holding each other and ourselves more accountable,” senior Colton Andrews said. “I thought we played well defensively throughout the first half, but they had a few big unfortunate plays which led to them scoring as much.”

After halftime, the Thunderbirds continued to play strong, scoring a passing touchdown in three minutes. A 17-yard kick return for the Wildcats put them in good field position to start the next drive. Although this did not matter because the Thunderbirds managed to hold them to four yards. The short punt put Bellevue West at about their own 45, and on the next play, they completed a 55-yard passing touchdown. This made the score 42-0 and gave the ball back to the Wildcats. On the third play of this drive, Brau threw an interception that was run back for a pick-six. Although they got a pick, there was a defensive block in the back which ultimately gave the Thunderbirds the ball, but took away their touchdown. With the ball in Bellevue West’s hands, Millard West held them to a punt, ending the quarter.

“We are going to try to do different things on the offensive side of the ball as well as trying new players out,” offensive coach William Sadowski said. “Every rep counts from my perspective, I don’t care about the score or time, every snap is an opportunity for all of us to get better.”

The fourth quarter started off slow with a six minute drive by the Wildcats who ended up punting after several incomplete passes. Following this, Millard West’s defense held Bellevue West to a fourth and 14. Millard West’s senior tight end James Conway blocked the punt on the next play and scored the first Wildcats touchdown of the game. The game ended shortly after with an incomplete pass by Bellevue West.

“This week we worked well on not giving up,” Nalbulsi said. “Obviously, it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we kept fighting throughout the entire game and we will continue doing that for the games we have to come.”

The Wildcats will take on North Platte who is 4-2 this year on Friday, September 16. Although they have a better record than Millard West, they do have an easier schedule and were upset by 17 points to Creighton Prep, which the Wildcats lost to by three. It will be a good matchup and test to see what improvements Millard West will make from this week’s performance.