Battle of Q Street round two

Wildcats fall short to Patriots


photo courtesy of Tenley Wright

In round two of the NSAA State Playoffs, junior Jackson Cahoy returned a kick for 16 yards. “Special teams are very important because the little things matter, especially in this crucial game,” Cahoy said. Patriots defeat Wildcats 21-7 and advance on to the quarter-finals against Creighton Prep

Noah Walls, Staff Reporter

Millard West took the field for what could’ve been the last time all season, facing up against the 6-1 Millard South Patriots. Week 3 was the two teams first matchup where Millard South dominated and won 31-12. With hopes of revenge, the Wildcats made changes to both the offense and defense before Friday’s playoff game.

A new freshman quarterback, Brody Peterson, and a few new defensive formations gave Millard West the confidence in preparation for the game. Stopping a high scoring offense like Millard South was the challenge ahead of the Wildcats.

     “The running game has to be stopped especially on early downs,” senior defensive lineman Ryan Kocovsky said. “Their team definitely knows how to move the ball down the field, but slowing the pace down is key for us.”

The Wildcats had all the confidence and tools to win this game as the underdog. Kickoff was at 7  p.m., and Buell Stadium was ready for the second matchup between the teams. Millard South jumped out the gate with two quick scores in the first quarter from running backs Antrell Taylor and Gage Stenger. After a whole half passed, Millard West couldn’t find the end zone once. South had a solid lead but there was plenty of time for both teams.

“The first half was tough for offense because we couldn’t get the ball moving,” senior lineman Charlie Aniello said. “Time was ticking from us, and we didn’t want our season to end.”

Millard South started to pull away after halftime and a quick score from junior Jake Gassway pushed them up 21 points with only a quarter to play. In the fourth, the Wildcat defense did what they needed to, holding them out of the end zone while the offense finds what works.

“We knew this would be a mentally and physically tough battle,” senior linebacker Jacob Urban said. “Just like all year, we focused on efficiently getting stops for us on defense.”

The Wildcats found their light in junior running back Nathan Pederson who was the leading rusher for Millard West. On a big 26-yard run, Pederson got in for the teams first points. 21-7 with only 7 minutes to go, Millard West went for the onside try. A failed attempt, and a great field position for Millard South damaged the Wildcats late. All the dreams of advancing to the third round started to drift away from the Wildcat sideline and crowd. Millard South milked the clock out as much as they could giving Millard West the ball with less than 3 minutes to go. Another scoreless drive put the game away, and Millard South was in victory formation to finish them off.

A final score of 21-7 advanced the Patriots and sent Millard West home for the season. Millard south faces Creighton Prep in the quarter finals on November 6. Finishing 2-7, the Wildcats had a more than tough year but need to do everything in their power in the offseason to come back next year for the revenge they seek.