Class 5A state football preview: Wichita Northwest vs. Mill Valley

By Blake Chadwick

Class 5A

Who: Wichita Northwest (10-0) vs. Mill Valley (8-2)

When: 1 p.m., Saturday

Where: Pittsburg State University

Overview: For the second straight year in the Class 5A state championship game, the Mill Valley Jaguars will take on the Wichita Northwest Grizzlies. 

In a battle of high powered offenses, the Jaguars will be looking to win their second straight 5A state championship. 

The Grizzlies, on the other hand, have made it to three straight class 5A state championships, losing 40-31 to the Jaguars in 2019. 

Wichita Northwest Grizzlies

Head Coach: Steve Martin

  • Key Players 
  • RB Julius Bolden 5-10, 195, Sr. (139 carries, 1358 rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns) 
  • ATH Geremiah Moore 5-9, 175, Jr. (1,021 all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns)
  • OL Kaleb Nott 6-7, 330, Sr.
  • WR Kaleb Coleman 5-10,175, Sr. (411 receiving yards and 7 total touchdowns) 
  • S Todric McGee 6-1, 195, Sr. (53 tackles, 3 INT and 2 FF) 
  • DE Zac Daher 6-4, 245, Sr. (37 tackles and 4 sacks)
  • LB Darius Diaz 5-10, 185, Jr. (53 tackles and 3 sacks)
  • DB Wetu Kalomo 6-1, 175, Sr. (21 tackles and 14 pbu) 

 

What makes your team special?

“Twenty-five seniors! This group of seniors have been a part of 44 wins and 4 losses in the past four years. They have been a group that is close-knit, and that is why this team is so fun to be around. There is never a dull moment with these guys. These guys have developed into a special class that is leading by example. Usually known for high-scoring offenses, the defense under second-year defensive coordinator Marc Marinelli has brought balance to the program and that has been key in the past two years.”

Who have been key players for you this season?

“I think it starts with our offensive and defensive line play. Last year we graduated four senior offensive linemen and these guys have improved weekly. Unlike the offensive line, our defensive line returned from last year intact and leads a defense that has only given up 1.8 yards per carry on defense. JayRon Tolefree stepped in for an injured Michael Anthony at OLB and the defense has not missed a beat. Julius Bolden and Geremiah Moore have carried on the tradition of the 1-2 punch in the backfield for Running Back High! Throw in up-and-coming star LJ Phillips, and these guys have been fun to watch grow.”

Have any players been a surprise?

“Geremiah Moore has been an electric playmaker for the Grizzlies. Whether it’s kick returning, playing WR, RB or QB, people have to know where he is at all times.”

What got your team into the state championship game?

“RESOLVE! This team has jumped over every hurdle thrown their way this strange year.  From no team workouts from March-July, this group stayed together. From starting practice, then getting canceled, this team just continues to fight and that shows daily with this group.” 

What does your team need to do in order to win the state championship game?

“Win the line of scrimmage. This rematch will come down to one thing: who can run the ball and stop the run. Sounds simple, but this will be key in this matchup.”

Mill Valley Jaguars

Head Coach: Joel Applebee

  • Key Players 
    • QB Cooper Marsh 6-0, Sr. (1,342 yards passing yards 13 touchdowns, 4 int, 429 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns)
    • Senior RB Quin Wittenauer 5-9, 170, Sr. (1,173 rushing yards and touchdowns)
    • WR Jacob Hartman 5-11, Sr. (726 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns)
    • OL Robbie Dervin 5-11, 260, Sr. 
    • MLB Kolten Jegen 5-11, 220, Sr. (94 tackles)
    • S Hunter Gray 5-11, 180, Sr. (61 tackles and 1 int)
    • S Trey Worcester 6-0, 185, Sr. (49 tackles)
    • DL Ethan Kremer 6-0, 265, Sr. (49 tackles 7 sacks) 

What makes your team special? 

“Our seniors have done a tremendous job of leading this team all year.  They have adapted with all the COVID restrictions and protocol and made the most of this year.  They have been focused on daily improvement and taking it one day at a time.” 

Who have been key players for you this season? 

“Cooper Marsh, Quin Wittenauer, Kolten Jegen and the whole offensive line tandem.” 

Have any players been a surprise? 

“Our offensive line has really come together and played well together. That was a key emphasis going into the season.” 

What got your team into the state championship game? 

“Perseverance and determination by all of our players was key this season. They had the goal of improving daily, and did continue to keep that mindset.” 

What does your team need to do in order to win the state championship game? 

“Continue to take it one day at a time and get better with each rep. Keep the focus on us as a team.”