Jaguars advance to state championship game in win over St. Thomas Aquinas

On Friday, Nov. 18 the Jaguars beat the Aquinas Saints 14-13 to win the sub-state championship

Katya Gillig, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

In the sub-state championship game, the Jaguars beat the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints 14-13. With the win, the Jaguars will play for the 5A state championship.

Early in the first quarter, sophomore defensive back Tanner Moore intercepted the ball to give the Jaguars possession. Junior quarterback Brody Flaming capitalized on the turnover by running the ball for a touchdown. After a successful extra point by sophomore kicker Jack Matchette, the Jags had a 7-0 lead.

The Saints answered back with a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

After a fumble recovered by junior defensive lineman Ike Valencia, Flaming passed it to junior wide receiver Evan Rice for a touchdown. Matchette’s extra point gave the Jags a 14-7 lead.

The defense ended up with five turnovers. Flaming believes the defense was a key factor in the game.

“We were struggling a little bit …moving the ball,” Flaming said. “They came up huge. Five turnovers, and that helped a ton coming down the end of the stretch there.”

Aquinas scored a touchdown early in the third quarter, but mishandled the snap on the extra point. With this the Jaguars maintained the lead, 14-13. This would be the final score.

After driving down the field, the Saints had the ball and were close to the end zone, but fumbled the ball to give the Jags possession.

Head coach Joel Applebee believes the defense stepped up big against a tough offense.

“Playing that type of offense, it’s tough,” Applebee said. “You’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to understand you’re going to be in it for an entire game. You’ve got to play every snap of the game, and I thought they did an outstanding job.”

With 1:20 left in the game, the Jaguars punted the ball, but a roughing the kicker penalty was called on Aquinas, allowing the Jaguars to remain in possession. The Jaguars then took a knee to end the game.

After a hard fought game, Flaming is excited about the team effort that allowed the team to win.

“It’s amazing feeling, and I couldn’t have done it without all these teammates right behind me,” Flaming said.

Heading into next week, Applebee is proud of how far the team has come during a year deemed as “rebuilding.”

“We’re a completely different team,” Applebee said. “I feel like these guys have taken a step every week, gotten better every week and I really do believe that we’re playing our best football right now.”

The Jaguars will play against Goddard High School in Pittsburg on Saturday, Nov. 26 for the 5A state title.

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