Wildcats battle Vikings

Millard West football suffers heartbreaking loss against Omaha North


Photo courtesy of Delaney Lueck

Millard West prepares to kickoff against Omaha North. The wildcats were looking to rebound after a tough loss against Millard South. “We wanted to make sure we started off strong,” junior Trey Mittelstedt said. “When we scored on the opening drive it gave the whole team a boost in confidence.”

Nathan Delaney, Staff Reporter

On Friday, Sept. 2, Millard West had their varsity football home opener against the Omaha North Vikings. Omaha North came into the game ranked #7 in the Omaha World Herald and a heavy favorite to win, but Millard West wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

The Wildcats received the open kickoff and started off strong with a 53 yard kickoff return by junior wideout Jackson Williams. After a couple run plays by junior running back Bobby Joseph and junior quarterback Brody Peterson, senior kicker Sean Murphy made a 27 yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.

Omaha North drove down to the Millard West 7 yard line powered by senior running back Te’Shaun Porter, but after getting stuffed on 4th and 4, Omaha North turned the ball over on downs to the Wildcats.

Millard West, with a strong option football game between Peterson and Joseph drove down the field but found themselves with a 3rd and 9 at around midfield. Peterson dropped back to pass and found Williams on a deep crosser for a 37 yard gain down to the Omaha North 9. Joseph then capitalized with a one yard touchdown to give Millard West a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We have grown tremendously as a team as the year progresses,” senior linebacker Brady Luther said. “You have to be confident in your teammate to get their job done to be a successful defensive unit.”

Omaha North, after two incomplete passes by senior Nate Collins and a short run by Porter, had to punt the ball back to Millard West.

Millard West was only able to get one first down off a 18 yard run by Peterson until they found themselves a 4th and 9 and punted the ball back to the Vikings.

Porter, on the next play, blasted a 74 yard touchdown run to cut the Millard West lead to 10-7.

Millard West kept the offense going with a 13 yard pass to junior tight end Dale Hansen. Then after a 17 yard run and 13 yard run by Peterson they were at the edge of field goal range. sophomore Jake Blackman had a 29 yard run to bring Millard West to the 6 yard line. The next play, trying to punch the ball into the endzone, Peterson fumbled the ball and Omaha North’s senior Zyon Knox jumped on it causing a huge shift of momentum for the Vikings.

Porter then had a couple of long runs of 20 yards and 30 yards and after a 25 yard pass from Collins to senior wideout Titan Glassman they had the ball at the Millard West 25. After a holding penalty and a false start penalty on Omaha North though, they turned over the ball on downs to end the first half. Millard West went to the locker room with a 10-7 lead.

“The coaches wanted us to keep our minds strong and take it like the score was 0-0,” junior Trey Mittelstedt said. “The game was gonna be a long hard fight and we wanted to stay calm and focus on one play at a time.”

The offense was slow in the third quarter and neither team was able to drive into enemy territory. Each team had two possessions and both were punts, putting the score after the 3rd quarter 10-7 Millard West.

“The game was a very long hard fought battle in the trenches,” junior tackle Logan Johnson said. “Each team was trying to get an edge at the line of scrimmage but neither team was willing to go down without a fight.”

To start the fourth quarter Omaha North had two incomplete passes by Collins and a 4 yard run by Porter before punting the ball back to Millard West.

Millard West started off the drive with a 56 yard pass from freshman Will Anderson to Hansen to bring them to the red zone. Then Anderson had a 15 yard pass to Joseph to bring them inside the 10 yard line. Millard West failed to punch the ball into the endzone and had to settle for a field goal giving the Wildcats a 13-7 lead.

Omaha North ran the ball with Porter seven times in a row for a total of 32 yards. The Vikings then called timeout on third and 4 with 3:44 left in the game. Collins pitched the ball to Porter who started to run wide then stopped and threw a 45 yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Khalil Davis. To give Omaha North a 14-13 lead with 3:37 seconds left in the game.

Anderson and the Wildcats trouted out to the field to try to complete a game winning drive. Anderson had a 10 yard pass to Joseph and a 8 yard pass to senior Noah Shrader to bring the Wildcats to midfield. Anderson then unleashed a 32 yard pass to sophomore Brayden Johnson to bring the ball to the Omaha North  25. Then after a sack by senior defensive lineman Julian Tuner-Wright on 3rd down, Millard West had a 4th and 20 and one final play. Anderson dropped back and threw up a pass that fell incomplete near the first down marker.

Omaha North then ran the clock to win the game. Millard West lost in heartbreaking defeat 14-13 to Omaha North. The Wildcats look to rebound after a heartbreaking loss as they play at Burke on Friday, Sept. 9.