Nobody in the Kaw Valley League has had an answer against the Mill Valley offense this year. Add Lansing to the list.
The Lions’ first defensive stop didn’t come until there was 6:30 left in the fourth quarter. Jaguar starting quarterback Skylar Windmiller hadn’t been in the game for nearly a quarter. The score at the time was 70-27, en route to a 77-33 final.
It was just one of those games where you can do little else than shrug. Unfortunately, this year the Lions have played that type of game too many times.
“We just couldn’t stop them. We couldn’t play defense,” said a laconic Lansing coach Bill Pekarek.
Thanks to their two previous wins against Schlagle and Washington, the Lions, 3-6, will move on to the playoffs. They will play at St. Thomas Aquinas next Friday at 7 p.m.
Despite the lopsided final against Mill Valley, the Lion offense did just enough to keep the game competitive in the first half. The Lions scored first on an unpredictable misdirection play. Quarterback Krysten Abbott sold a fake hand-off to the left, then rolled right and connected on a deep pass to Khalil Bailey for an 82-yard score.
“It was a play we knew we needed to run, and it worked,” Pekarek said.
On Mill Valley’s second play from scrimmage, a blitzing Lion hit Windmiller hard a split second after his release. That was the extent of the pressure they could get on the Jaguar quarterback.
More often it was Windmiller running over Lion defenders. Windmiller led the Mill Valley offense to 529 total yards and 11 touchdown scoring drives. His first touchdown run came on an 11-yard keeper 38 seconds into Mill Valley’s opening drive.
On the first play of their second drive, Windmiller dropped in an over-the-shoulder touchdown pass. That drive took 6 seconds. The Jaguars added three more first-half touchdowns, all coming in short order.
“They have a good offense,” said Pekarek. “We didn’t play well. They played good.”
Lost in the Mill Valley fireworks is the fact that Lansing actually moved the ball pretty well, accumulating 379 total yards, 248 of which came on the ground.
Once they were down 28-7 in the second quarter, Lansing committed to the ground game, and it worked. Lucas Mein had consecutive left-tackle runs for 33 and 35 yards. He scored on an eight-yarder.
The score made it 35-14 at half. After getting a turnover on the opening second half kickoff, the Lions drove down and Abbott scored on a keeper to cut the Mill Valley lead to 35-21. Mill Valley came right back with a score though.
After that, Lansing started coughing up turnovers. The game went from looking like a respectable loss to a blowout within a few possessions.