Jaguars start slow, finish with a flurry in 56-7 victory against Turner
When the scoreboard reads 56-7 at the end of the game, it’s easy to forget what led to that point.
Yes, Mill Valley quarterback Skyler Windmiller threw all over the place, senior Jake Theis had a fancy one-handed interception return and freshman Christian Jegen hauled in three touchdowns.
The fireworks in Mill Valley’s home opening victory against Turner were endless, but only after Windmiller fell indebted to his defense.
“I pretty much gave up that early touchdown,” he said.
The first series for the Jaguars (1-1) was a string of bad plays, ending in a Windmiller interception that the Bears (0-2) took to the one-yard line. After punching in the touchdown and taking a 7-0 lead, the Bears picked off Windmiller again, this time in the end-zone.
With a more reasonable situation, the Mill Valley defense held and allowed the offense to shake off its dreary start. Windmiller is chalking this game up as a defensive shutout, no matter what the scoreboard says.
“They corrected some mistakes that they made,” coach Joel Applebee said. “It shows a lot about what these kids have done and the character they have, so I’m proud of them for bouncing back.”
After the Jaguars scored, the Bears marched down for a field goal attempt for a 10-6 lead. Once again, the defense held, and then the wheels came off. Windmiller was hitting his receivers and aside from a few drops, everything was clicking. After his two interceptions, Windmiller finished with 294 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver L.J. Hatch caught six passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Mill Valley was coming off the heels of a 43-21 loss to Manhattan, and the team felt like it needed this type of performance. Manhattan was one of the best teams the Jaguars will face all year, so the game now stands as an early season measuring stick and mistake-laden motivation.
“We were not going to have it tonight,” senior Tim Thomas said after Friday’s game. “I think last week really inspired us to get it done.”
Mill Valley will be going into next week’s matchup against Basehor-Linwood (1-1) still searching for its identity, Windmiller said. There is a lot to iron out as far as fundamentals go, but Applebee said that this team should not be playing its best football this early in the season. Learning from mistakes is all part of the process. But there is a sense that this team does know what it is capable of, and Windmiller said he and his teammates have worked too hard for anything less.
“It would break our hearts if we didn’t come out and play like we could,” he said.