Wildcats prevail against the Bearcats

Varsity football team competes in fourth game of their season


Anna Burton

The Wildcats were able to secure a big win early on in the season. Even though they won, the players and coaches appreciate Kearney and their program. “Our program has a great deal of respect for Kearney,” coach Seth White said. “Their teams always have speed and they always play hard. From a defensive perspective, they do multiple motions and shifts so it requires being prepared for a variety of different things.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

Coming off a loss to Millard South,  the Millard West football team took on the Kearney Bearcats on Friday, Sept. 17. With a record of 1-2 before the game, the Wildcats needed a win to get in better position for the playoffs.

The game began with Millard West receiving the ball on the 25 yard line. This season the Wildcats hadn’t had a lot of experience with passing, but this game changed that aspect. After a short run, Millard West sophomore quarterback Brody Peterson threw the ball to senior wide receiver Kiernan Hernandez for a 15 yard gain. This got the momentum going for the Wildcats and after another 29 yard pass to senior wide receiver Jaxson Nuemann, senior running back Nathan Pederson got a one yard rushing touchdown.

On the Bearcats first drive, they were not able to get past the Wildcat defense and punted the ball without reaching a first down. With the ball back in the hands of Millard West, Pederson rushed for a total of 73 yards across seven downs for another touchdown. Following the score, Kearney once again failed to outplay the Wildcat defense and punted for the second time in the quarter.

“There is always a little uncertainty about your opponent,” coach Seth White said. “I think our team felt confident by the end of the first quarter that we could control the line of scrimmage, which always gives you your best chance to win.”

At the start of the second quarter, the Bearcat defense stepped up and were able to stop Millard West from getting any first downs. After several short plays, Kearney had possession and decided to go for a fourth and one opportunity. This could have given them their first first down of the night, but instead they were penalized because of a false start, pushing back the chains five yards. Following this, both teams failed to progress and couldn’t get close to scoring for the next three drives. 

With about five minutes and 30 seconds left in the half, the Bearcats had an 81 yard passing touchdown. Four minutes after the score, senior kicker Enrique Meraz made a short field goal for Millard West to make the score 16-7. This ultimately ended the quarter.

“We just need to work on giving our 110% everyday at practice,” Meraz said. “My biggest challenge this week was trying my fastest to get a knot out of my thigh. It challenged me a lot because it would hurt while kicking and it was very sore all the time.”

The third quarter started off slow, but was the Wildcat’s highest scoring quarter in the game. After a Bearcat punt, Pederson and sophomore wide receiver Jackson Williams had several high yard runs, getting Millard West to the 10 yard line. Peterson then passed the ball to Williams for a touchdown, making the score 23-7. Following this, Kearney was able to get their first first down of the night, but shortly after the ball was picked off by junior cornerback Brady Brau. 

With Millard West back in possession, they made several quick runs and a pass to get them to the 15 yard line. Peterson then got his second passing touchdown of the night after senior tight end Tyler Sprietzer beat the Bearcat defense to make a catch. Near the end of the quarter, Kearney was in bad field position and attempted to punt the ball on a fourth and 16. This was blocked, then returned by Brau for seven more Wildcat points.

The fourth quarter was long and filled with short runs by Millard West. Although the Bearcats were down by 30, they didn’t give up and with three minutes and 30 seconds left they scored. This brought the score to 37-14, ultimately ending the game.

“We stayed focused and were sharp all week,” Peterson said. “I feel that the team could work on having more energy at times, and I felt pretty good having two passing touchdowns. It makes things a lot easier for Nate and our offensive line when we are able to throw.”

The Wildcats came out fast and ready to play this week. They face off against Creighton Prep tonight and will hopefully bring home another win.