Football wins third straight 5A state title, defeating Maize High School, 28-14

The team won titles in 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021

Elise Canning, JAG editor-in-chief

Mill Valley won its third straight 5A football title Saturday, Nov. 27, defeating Maize High School, 28-14. Smith Carnie Stadium in Pittsburg has become a home away from home for the team, as the Jaguars have won five titles in seven years there. Maize High School was playing for its first state title.

The game started off fast with senior Reice Kennedy running for 12 yards for a touchdown just 3 minutes into the first quarter. Following Kennedy, junior Jesse Wood made the extra point.

Mill Valley took the 7-0 lead into the second quarter. After 10 minutes, junior quarterback Hayden Jay got a six-yard touchdown run. Wood scored the extra point and put the score at 14-0.

To start the third quarter, senior Kendrick Jones received a pass from Jay and ran 20 yards to score a touchdown putting the score at 20-0. The extra point failed.

With 3:49 left in the third, Maize scored its first touchdown of the game after senior quarterback Avery Johnson pushed through Mill Valley’s defensive line and ran 69 yards to the end zone. Maize scored its last touchdown with 10:33 left in the game on another Avery Johnson run, putting the score at 20-14.

To seal the Jaguar victory in the final 7 minutes, Jay made a pass to senior Jared Napoli, who ran 20 yards into the end zone. The two-point conversion by Kennedy helped extend the lead, 28-14. 

Mill Valley’s defensive line held Maize to its the lowest number of points (14) in a game all season. Senior Javuan Neal had faith in the team’s defense and knew it would lead them to victory.

“If you get good defense, then you’re straight for the game. We worked really hard in practices and I think it really paid off today,” Neal said. “You could see it on the field and I’m really proud of how it turned out.”

Senior Kris Twigg also believed the team’s defense was what led them to the win.

“Our defense was what helped the most,” Twigg said. “We played lights out and everyone fought all the way to the end for the team.”

Twigg said a combination of hard work and senior leadership led to the victory. Most of the senior class has been playing together since they were 12 years old.

“We work every single morning for years straight for this. It brings us all together and that’s exactly why we win,” Twigg said. “It’s been a great four years.”

Mill Valley finished the season 12-1; Maize ended 10-3. 

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