Wildcats come up short

Varsity football team competes against Creighton Prep


Anna Burton

The game was long fought and the pace was changed many times throughout. Although Millard West took a loss, they don’t look back and keep their heads up for next week. “I like to think our team takes on the personality of our head coach,” assistant coach William Sadowski said. “I don’t think we ever feel out of a game. We don’t hang our heads, and we keep grinding away.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, Sept. 23, the Millard West Varsity Football team went to Buell to take on the Creighton Prep Bluejays. 

The Wildcats started with senior kicker Enrique Meraz kicking off to Creighton Prep. After three short runs totaling 11 yards, Bluejay senior quarterback Jack Piernicky threw an interception caught by junior free safety Reid Hazen. The Wildcats had a slow start to their first drive with several dropped passes and short runs. They ended up going for a fourth opportunity and coming up short, giving the ball back to Creighton Prep. With seven minutes and 26 seconds left in the quarter, both teams started to play less aggressive offense and stepped up their defensive games. The rest of the quarter was filled with short drives and zero points put up.

“The team got off to a really good start this week,” sophomore punter Sean Murphy said. “We were able to drive down the field really well, and we also got some game changing turnovers.”

In the start of the second quarter, Wildcat sophomore quarterback Brody Peterson threw a 34-yard pass to senior wide receiver Kieran Hernandez. Following this were two short runs and a pass leading to a Millard West touchdown scored by senior running back Nathan Pederson. With the ball back in the hands of the Bluejays, Piernicky threw an incomplete pass accompanied by a three yard run. Directly after, he threw yet another pick, caught by Hazen once again. Millard West then proceeded to run the ball three times for a total of 32 yards, followed by a 20 yard pass to senior wide receiver Jaxson Nuemann. Then Pederson ran the ball up the middle for another ten yard touchdown.

With 5:29 left in the second quarter, Creighton Prep took a 15 play drive with a lot of short yardage plays. After a timeout, Piernicky was able to complete a nine yard pass for the first Bluejay touchdown of the night. With only 49 seconds left on the clock, Millard West decided to kneel the ball twice and talk over the plan at halftime.

“Coming out of halftime we all felt good and proud of the first half,”  Murphy said. “We all knew what we had to do, it just didn’t happen unfortunately.”

The third quarter began with the WIldcats running the ball three times in a row, not gaining enough yards for a first. Following a punt back to Creighton Prep by Murphy, the Bluejays ran the ball nine times for a total of 82 yards and a touchdown to tie up the game 14-14. On the Wildcats next drive, they were able to secure one first down after a 16 yard run by Pederson, but fell short and had to punt after two incomplete passes. Creighton Prep then made a few short runs to end the quarter.

“I think it took the air out of us a bit,” assistant coach William Sadowski said. “I thought it felt like we controlled the first half, and frankly I felt like we should have had a larger lead. Give Prep the credit, they battled the entire time.”

The final quarter began with Piernicky throwing another pick to senior strong safety Collin Schollmeyer. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they couldn’t capitalize on their next drive and gave the ball right back to the Bluejays. This led to a 74 yard rushing touchdown by junior running back CharMar Brown which put Creighton Prep up by seven. This put the Wildcats in a tough position with just shy of nine minutes left in the game. 

Their next drive was long and hard fought, and ended up taking 14 plays to score a 14 yard passing touchdown. This was caught by sophomore wide receiver Jackson Williams, and gave the Bluejays just over three minutes to score. Creighton Prep took eighth plays and three timeouts to put them at a first and ten on the Millard West 37. With about one minute remaining, Piernicky made a complete pass to Brown for a touchdown, ultimately ending the game.

The Wildcats have another game coming up on Thursday, Sept. 30, and they are up against Lincoln East.