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Marsh leads Mill Valley past Wichita Northwest for 5A title

Dashaun Vereen Pittsburg Morning Sun

PITTSBURG — After a slow start to Saturday’s Class 5A state championship game, Mill Valley quarterback Cooper Marsh outlasted a highlight-packed performance from Wichita Northwest quarterback Geremiah Moore to lead the Jaguars to a 49-35 win over Northwest at Carnie Smith Stadium on Saturday.

Mill Valley defeated Northwest in the state championship game for the second straight year. The loss marked the third straight title-game loss for Northwest, while Mill Valley captured its fourth state title in the past six years.

Marsh accounted for six total touchdowns, (three passing and three rushing) and 385 total yards to lead the way for Mill Valley (10-2).

Moore rushed for 119 yards and one touchdown, along with 197 yards and a touchdown through the air for Northwest (10-1).

Last year, Marsh and the Jaguars outlasted Northwest in a shootout, claiming a 40-31 victory. This year’s rematch eventually evolved into another high-scoring shootout.

Both teams struggled to gain first downs early, with defenses earning key stops on the first four three possessions.

Midway in the first quarter, Mill Valley found itself on its own 9-yard line, following a delay of game penalty and a near loss of possession following a Marsh fumble.

Marsh responded with the first touchdown of the afternoon, on a 81-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Reishus to put the Jaguars up 7-0 with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter.

Mill Valley continued to push its advantage, following a Northwest fumble on first down of the next possession. Deep inside Northwest territory, Mill Valley leaned on seven consecutive running plays, which culminated in a touchdown from Marsh from the one to take a 14-0 lead.

Northwest began to chip into the Mill Valley lead, starting with a 50-yard strike from quarterback Moore to Trenton Salisbury-Smith. But Mill Valley stopped the Grizzlies on fourth down in the red zone.

Undaunted, Northwest regained its momentum on its next drive. LJ Philips gave Northwest its first touchdown, slicing his way down the numbers for a 30-yard touchdown run.

Marsh answered on the ensuing Jaguar possession, calling his own number on a read option for a 40-yard run. He then punched in the touchdown in the red zone to add to the lead.

Northwest continued to cause the Jaguar defense trouble, led by Moore’s escapability.

On what seemed to be a broken play, Moore made two Jaguar defenders miss in the backfield, before rolling to his left and juking past two more Mill Valley defenders on his way to a 30-yard run. Phillips added his second touchdown of the half to end the possession, and make the score 21-14.

In very similar fashion to last year, the teams lit up the scoreboard in the second half. Moore opened the third frame with a 76-yard touchdown to Kaleb Coleman.

Marsh continued to roll in the third quarter, finding Kendrick Jones for a 50-yard touchdown completion.

It was the first of two consecutive Mill Valley touchdowns, aided by a 28-yard touchdown from Quin Wittenauer.

Down 35-28, Moore added to his highlight reel, spinning and juking through defenders for a 33-yard run. Julius Bolden punched in the touchdown at the goal line to cut the lead to 35-28.

With inside of 10 minutes in the final quarter, Grizzly Zaire Adkins broke on a Marsh pass towards the sidelines, capturing the first Wichita Northwest interception.

Moore continued to slice past the Mill Valley defense, rolling out the pocket on fourth and eighth, before racing down the sideline and juking past multiple defenders for a 25-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Not to be outdone, Marsh pushed the Jaguars down the field with two long passes, including a 40-yard completion to Jacob Hartman. Marsh punched in the touchdown from four yards out to give Mill Valley a 42-35 lead with five minutes remaining.

Deep in Northwest territory, Trey Worcester pushed into the backfield to stop a fourth and one rushing attempt, causing a turnover-on-downs on a big late game possession.

Marsh added another touchdown, this time on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Wittenauer, pushing the lead to 49-35.

Kolten Jegen registered his second strip-sack to seal the Mill Valley championship.

MILL VALLEY 49,WICHITA NORTHWEST 35

Northwest (10-1);0;14;14;7;—;35

Mill Valley (10-2);14;7;14;14;—;49

First quarter

MV—Reishus 91 pass from Marsh (Tennant kick), 4:35

MV—Marsh 1 run (Tennant kick), 1:26

Second quarter

WNW—Phillips 36 run (Arndt kick), 8:50

MV—Marsh 3 run (Tennant kick), 6:23

WNW—Phillips 1 run (Arndt kick), 3:11

Third quarter

WNW—Coleman 76 pass from Moore (Arndt kick), 11:29

MV—Jones 50 pass from Marsh (Tennant kick), 8:57

MV—Wittenauer 27 run (Tennant kick), 3:05

WNW—Bolden 1 run (Arndt kick), 1:52

Fourth quarter

WNW—Moore 25 run (Arndt kick), 8:21

MV—Marsh 3 run (Tennant kick), 5:08

MV—Wittenauer 22 pass from Marsh (Tennant kick), 3:14

RUSHING—WNW: Bolden 19-88, Moore 18-109, Phillips 11-68, Ross 2-(-12). MV: Marsh 24-134, Wittenauer 21-65, Team 4-(-8).

PASSING—WNW: Moore 10-14-0-197, Ross 1-6-0-12. MV: Marsh 7-16-1-255.

RECEIVING—WNW: Salsbry-Smith 6-93. Martin 3-24, Coleman 1-76, Ross 1-6, Bolden 0-10. MV: Jones 3-90, Reishus 1-91, Hartman 1-40, Wittenauer 1-22, Napoli 1-12.