Jaguars win school’s first athletic state championship

Despite the cold weather, football team dominates Bishop Carroll, winning 35-14

By Eli Soell

Tori Aerni, JagWire editor-in-chief

Under the leadership of 22 seniors, the football team brought home the first athletic state title in school history with a 35-14 win over the Bishop Carroll Golden Eagles on Saturday, Nov. 28 in the 5A state championship game.

Carnie Smith Stadium at Pittsburg State University was filled with over 3,500 Jaguar fans. Head coach Joel Applebee appreciated the support.

“[The fans] were awesome,” Applebee said. “I don’t hear a whole lot during the game, but every once and a while [I] hear things. I have no doubt in my mind that they were just as they were all year — unbelievable.”

Senior linebacker Nick Ribares is proud that the team can bring back a state title to “the best crowd in the state.”

“To bring this to our school and put us on the map, it’s a special moment,” Ribares said. “[The fans] are the best crowd in the state. All of them coming out [to support], that was amazing. They are so big [of an impact].”

The Eagles started with possession, but a fumble less than a minute into the game allowed the Jaguars to take over at the Bishop Carroll 25-yard line.

Senior quarterback Logan Koch ran 19 yards for the first touchdown of the game shortly after the fumble. The PAT by senior kicker Andrew Hicks was good, giving the Jaguars a 7-0 lead with 10:00 to play in the first quarter.

A diving catch in the end zone by senior wide receiver Lucas Krull from Koch added another touchdown to the board. The PAT by Hicks was good, extending the Jaguars lead to 14-0, 6:55 remaining in the first quarter.

Koch had his second rushing touchdown of the night with 3:49 to play in the first quarter. A successful PAT brought the score to 21-0, Jaguars.

The final points of the first quarter came from a touchdown by Bishop Carroll, ending the quarter 21-7.

The Jaguars attempted a field goal at the end of the first quarter, but were not successful. Despite this, the first quarter was crucial for their win, according to Koch.

“Those first three drives we came out firing,” Koch said. “Then the defense really shut [Bishop Carroll] down in the second half.”

The Jaguars and the Eagles scored back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter, respectively. Koch ran for the Jaguar’s touchdown, his final of the game. This brought the Jaguars lead to 28-7. Bishop Carroll ran for a touchdown to end the second half, 28-14, Jaguars with the lead.

Applebee said he was proud of the players for their response to Bishop Carroll’s offensive plays.

“Defense played lights out,” Applebee said. “They kept us in the game. We had that lead but Carroll had some momentum going for them, and our defense played unbelievable. [Bishop Carroll] threw the kitchen sink at us as far as trick plays and our kids responded well.”

The Silver Stars performed their pom routine at the half, and the Jaguar band completed a combined performance with the Bishop Carroll band.

With a light rain falling, the third quarter was scoreless. Ribares credits this to continuous strong defense.

“We just talked to each other,” Ribares said. “We really just came together as one and decided that as a [defense] we needed to step up and we held them to zero.”

Along with strong defense, senior cornerback Sebastian Peterson said the high energy of the team kept the team motivated in the third quarter.

“We just had to bring energy every single drive,” Peterson said. “Second half the defense did a great job of stepping up and not letting them score. [There were] big plays on both sides of the ball.”

The first and only points of the second half were scored through a touchdown run by Jegen. This brought the score to 35-14, securing the state championship title for the Jaguars.

Peterson said he is excited about the legacy the 2015 football team will leave behind, and also celebrating with the team.

“It’s a great feeling because we get to go down in history as the best [football] team at Mill Valley. But more than anything, I just want to enjoy the win with my teammates,” Peterson said.

Senior defensive back Chase Midyett also looks forward to the legacy and memories it will leave for the school.

“This is huge for the school. Everybody supported everybody all the way through,” Midyett said. “Nobody will ever forget this ever. I love everybody.”

Winning the state title this weekend was a family affair for Applebee. Earlier in the season, the Jaguars defeated the Derby High School Panthers coached by Applebee’s cousin, Brandon Clark. Derby defeated Blue Valley in the 6A state championship, giving the family two state champion titles in one day.

“Derby holds a special place in my heart,” Applebee said. “Coach Clark is a great friend of mine, one of my best friends and a family member, so I’m proud of them as well.”

Above all, Applebee said the win was a combined effort of hard work and enthusiasm put in by the players, community and school.

“I’m just so proud of these kids for how hard they work,” Applebee said. “They deserve it. Even more, I’m just proud of our school and our community. These kids have invested a lot, our school has invested a lot, we’re proud to bring this back.”

More game photos

More crowd photos

More celebration photos

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