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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Wildcats strand the Islanders

Millard West rides the momentum past Grand Island
Makayla Potter
Senior running back Bobby Joseph sticks out his arm to break through for a big run. Joseph would have two touchdowns against Grand Island, helping propel the Cats over Islanders. “Our game plan was definitely to run the ball as much as we could,” Joseph said. “We were more physical than them, and our offense clicked because of that.”

On Friday, Nov. 3, the 13 seeded Grand Island Islanders travel to Buell Stadium to take on the five seeded Millard West Wildcats in the second round of the 2023 Class A state football playoffs.

Millard West, with a 7-2 regular season record, rolled past the Millard North Mustangs, in what was legendary coach Fred Petito’s final game coaching the Mustangs for the pat 41 years, 49-14. The Wildcat defense held the Mustangs scoreless in the second half, and had two defensive touchdowns.

Grand Island, with a 5-4 regular season record, mounted a 13 point comeback in the 4th quarter to upset the fourth ranked Kearney Bearcats, 29-19.

Since both Millard West and Millard South were able to host playoff games, one game would be played at 4 p.m, and the other at 8 p.m. The Nebraska School Activities Association forced the game to be played at 4 p.m, due to the three hour commute for the Islanders.

Grand Island would start with the ball, and march down the field, thanks in large part to the run game. Senior quarterback Bode Albers picked up a first down on a 20 yard run to get the Islanders past mid field, but the strong opening drive was stopped on a 4th & 3. 

“Getting those 4th down stops on D was huge in helping our offense,” senior linebacker/safety Harrell Jackson said. “When you play a team like Grand Island that is a little more pass happy, us backers gotta help each other out.”

Millard West would start at their own 22 with exactly nine minutes in the first quarter. West would go down the field with ease, led by a strong run game of their own with senior running back Bobby Joseph. However, the drive stalled out thanks in large part to a holding call against the Wildcats, and they would settle for three, taking a 3-0 lead with 5:36 left in the first quarter.

The ensuing kickoff would start a series of unfortunate events. On the opening play of the drive, Grand Island would have a one yard run, however, it was instantly called back for a hold, setting up a 1st & 24 from their own six. Back against the wall, Albers next pass was incomplete, but connected to senior Jacob Albers for a 11 yard gain on third down, however well short of the first down maker. 

Standing at the Islander 49, senior wideout Jackson Williams took the short punt to the Islander 30, the line to gain on the Islanders drive just a moment ago. West would ride their strong run game into the endzone, as Joseph cut around the outside corner to score from three yards out to put the Cats up 10-0 with 3:25 left in the first quarter.

“The blocks were working well,” senior tackle Tyler Thaden said. “We focused on our techniques each play, and it worked in our favor.”

The next offensive drive for Grand Island needed to end in some points to try and stay alive in this game. After the first two runs went nowhere, sophomore running back Nelsyn Wheeler took it up the left sideline 79 yards on a house call to get the Islanders within a score. 

Grand Island rode that momentum into a quick Wildcat offensive drive. However, standing at his own five, senior Parker Dunn launched a massive kick into the wind that took a role to the Islander 16, a net punt of 79 yards from where he stood, flipping the field dramatically.

It was massive in the field position battle, as both teams would exchange punts, until late in the second half. The Wildcats finally broke through, and went past midfield as senior quarterback Brody Peterson hit junior tight end Breck Osborne along the far sideline. Moments later, Peterson would take it in himself to score. 

The score at the half was 17-7.

Millard West got the ball to start the second half, and started off the drive methodically, marching down the field and taking as much time off the clock as possible. After finally getting into Islander territory, Peterson found his main target in senior wideout Jackson Williams for a 45 yard score, putting the Cats up big, 24-7, with still 9:03 in the third quarter.

The Wildcat defense held firm on the ensuing Islander drive, and thanks to a missed field goal try, held Grand Island scoreless in the third. Seconds later, Joseph put the nail in the coffin, as he would break away for a 63 yard touchdown, as Millard West would be up 31-7 to end the third.

“We know the more and more we ran the ball, the big run would hit,” Joseph said. “I knew that last run would seal the game for us. When you play a team that had an upset in the first round, you gotta be ready for everything, and we were.”

That would be all the scoring she wrote in this one, as Millard West controlled the game from start to finish, winning 31-7, and pushing themselves one step closer to a state championship. They play Westside in the semi-finals at Phelps field.

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About the Contributors
Logan Moseley
Logan Moseley, Staff Reporter
This is Logan’s senior year and 4th year on staff. Last year he was the MWHS Wildcat News Broadcast Editor In Chief, Striv Executive Producer and one of the piloting students of the “High School Radio Project.” Moseley won 1st place in the NSAA Class A News Broadcast category, and placed in the Broadcast Feature category as well. Moseley worked with the President of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Jim Timm, on the HSRP, worked for the Corn Belt baseball summer league live streaming service, and was a PA for Millard North Legion Baseball. Moseley is a fan of the Los Angeles Rams and Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Makayla Potter
Makayla Potter, Staff Reporter
Makayla Potter is a senior at Millard West, this will be her first year on staff as a broadcaster but will be her second year on the Yearbook staff. Makayla was a Sports Editor for the 2022-23 Prowler where she found a passion for photography and learned all about the different types of activities Millard West has to offer. During the summer she spent lots of time with her peers and applied for several 4 year universities where she hopes to study for a career in either Sports and Entertainment Marketing or becoming a part of the journalism world beyond high school. This year Makayla hopes to further her knowledge in all things that media and journalism has to offer.

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