PITTSBURG, Kan. It was supposed to be a day of redemption for Northwest in its second straight 5A state title appearance, after losing to Saint Thomas Aquinas last year.
Mill Valley defeated Wichita Northwest 40-31 to win the Kansas 5A State Football Championship at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg on Saturday, November 30, 2019. (Photo: Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)
But the Grizzlies’ undefeated season came to an end with a 40-31 loss to Mill Valley.
“Ultimately the things that killed us were the things we talked about all year, dumb penalties at the wrong time and turnovers,” said Northwest head coach Steve Martin. “We had two early ones that spotted the 21-7 score and you can’t do that against a well-coached and a good team like them and at the end of the day they made less mistakes.
After Reagan Jones scored the first touchdown of the game on a 38-yard run just two minutes in, 40 seconds later Mill Valley quarterback Cooper Marsh answered with a touchdown run of his own.
In the second quarter the Jaguars threatened to pull away, taking a 21-7 lead. A fourth down stop in the red zone followed by a rushing touchdown from Jamar Martin sent the game into halftime at 21-17.
Another rushing touchdown, 24-yards to the house from Marsh early in the fourth quarter put Mill Valley up 31-17.
But suddenly the Grizzlies mistakes were almost erased when Northwest cut a 14 point deficit in 30 seconds.
With nine minutes left to play, Reagan Jones found the end zone on a 50-yard run to cut the lead to 31-24.
Then the Grizzlies recovered the fumble on the ensuing kick off, and on the next play, Reagan Jones found Zion Jones in the end zone to tie the game at 30 all.
“Definitely the momentum shifted, we were on top and I think we could’ve just capitalized on that moment and we didn’t,” said Reagan. “We messed up on third down and it really cost us the game.”
Mill Valley added on another touchdown with five minutes left n the game, and then kicked a field goal to seal it.
“It’s heartbreaking when you know you have a chance,” said Martin. “But that’s life, we go through that every day of our lives.”
The win marks Mill Valley’s third state championship in five years.