Taming the Mustangs

Wildcats take their first win of the season against Millard North


Photo by Halle Opat

Sophomore wide receiver Jackson Williams goes up for a tough catch against the Mustangs. The Wildcats would go on to win the game 56-31. “We really used the momentum of the crowd to get us going,” Williams said. “They’re a tough opponent to go up against and I’m happy for the team to get our first win.”

Miguel Paredes Reyes, Co-Broadcast Editor-in-Chief, Co-STRIV Executive Producer

On Friday, Sept. 3, the varsity football team squared off against their rival Millard North Mustangs in the teams’ second regular season matchup.

Both teams came into the game 0-1 after Millard West suffered a tough loss to Elkhorn South 35-21, and Millard North came off a blowout loss against Millard South 55-13.

“The mindset for the team was to do your job,” sophomore quarterback Brody Peterson said. “Week one we were worried about other people’s jobs and assignments and we wanted to eliminate that. We also kept in mind to not look back and always focus on the next play and I believe that helped us win.”

Millard West started off with possession on the first play of the game when Peterson threw a pass down the right sideline to sophomore wide receiver Jackson Williams for a 22 yard gain. This first play would set the tone for what this Wildcat offense was going to look like for the rest of the night, but a sack on a big third down would end their first drive.

Millard North began their first offensive drive in a similar fashion when junior quarterback Charlie Quaintance dropped back to pass and dialed up the deep ball. The pass was dropped by sophomore wide receiver Isaiah McMorris. The Mustangs would fail to pick up a first down and ended their first drive three and out.

After a solid punt return by junior Brady Brau, the offense for Millard West started cooking when a 25 yard run by senior running back Nathan Pederson perfectly set up the Wildcats first score of many Peterson threw a laser in the end zone to Willams for a touchdown. The Mustangs got over their offensive woes with a touchdown of their own after another deep shot was completed to junior wide receiver Noah Bagonowski. That set up a Quaintance touchdown run to tie the game with 1:58 to go in the first quarter. The Wildcats weren’t done scoring in the first quarter though, as Pederson ran for a 75 yard touchdown on the first play of the drive. The first quarter came to a close with the Wildcats up on the Mustangs 14-7.

Millard West started off the second quarter hot on defense with the pass rush putting Quaintance under pressure. As a result, Quaintence threw an ill-advised pass to the left side where junior Keegan Mountain came up with the interception to bring out the Millard West offense. That play would set up Pederson’s second touchdown of the night after hitting the open space and winning the foot race to the end zone and scoring the 54 yard run. The Mustangs kept fighting back putting together a long drive capped by a 26 yard touchdown run by Quaintance but a missed extra point kept the game 21-13 in the Wildcats favor. Both teams would trade punts to end the first half.

“At half, as a defense we knew we had to slow down their offense because they came out and threw it a lot more than we expected,” Mountain said. “Our offense had already given us 21 points and we knew they would score again, so we tried our best to limit the big plays and keep everything in front of us. We backed up the secondary a few yards, and also the linebackers.”

Millard North was on offense first the second half, but was unable to put up any points to show for it as they punt the ball back to Millard West’s high flying offense. Pederson would once again add to his touchdown total with a 63 yard run bringing the score to 28-13. The Mustangs attempted the deep shot again, this time to Bagonowski but the receiver couldn’t get a handle on it. The defense took advantage of the opportunity and stripped the ball away from senior running back Ben Weindel to regain possession. The offense wouldn’t disappoint on the following drive with Peterson solidifying his connection with Williams, with a pitch out to the left side giving him his second touchdown of the night. The third quarter came to close with both teams trading punts. Wildcats 35 – Mustangs 13.

The Mustang offense showed up in the fourth quarter, finally connecting on the deep ball to McMorris for his first touchdown of the night on a 61 yard bomb by Quaintance. Due to the missed extra point from earlier in the game, Millard North attempts a two point conversion. Millard West defense was all over it with the defensive line sacking the quarterback right away to keep them at 19 points. A quick Millard West three and out brought the Mustang offense back onto the field where Quaintance found Bagonowski on another deep pass before getting tripped up at the 10 yard line. Quaintance would find McMorris on a quick slant into the end zone to give the Mustangs new life as they have the opportunity to make it a one score game with a successful two point conversion with seven minutes to play. Another missed extra point would keep them down by 10. Peterson and the offense would sniff out any hope of a comeback on their next drive scoring his second touchdown pass of the night to his favorite target Williams 14 yards out. The Stangs offense utilized the pass attack once again after a big gain by McMorris set up a Quaintance touchdown pass to Weindel. They followed the touchdown with another failed two point conversion. With 3:05 left to play, the Wildcats ran up the score with a 54 yard touchdown run by Pederson and officially ended the game after a Brau interception led to a 41 yard touchdown by senior Chase Hultman. The Wildcats end the game 56-31 and get their first win of the season in dominating fashion.

The team is back in action on Sept. 10 facing rival Millard South in the annual Battle of Q st.