By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
Coming into this week, the Schlagle Stallions had a monumental task - defeating the red-hot Mill Valley Jaguars.
The challenge became tougher when the Stallions had to sit starting running back J'veyon Browning and starting quarterback D.J. Sayles on the bench due to injuries.
And as the game began, Mill Valley Jaguars senior running back Kendall Short made the night that much longer for the Schlagle Stallions.
The short-handed Stallions played the Jaguars tough early on.
The Schlagle defense held Mill Valley's powerful offense in check most of the first quarter - including a goal-line stand.
However, two special teams mistakes by Schlagle would open up the flood-gates for the Jaguars.
A bad snap on a punt led to a safety, giving Mill Valley its first two points of the game.
Later in the second quarter, another bad snap on a punt forced a short kick, leaving Mill Valley a short field to score on.
That's not a good idea.
Up 8-0 following a Staton Rebeck touchdown, the Jaguars would capitalize off the favorable field position. Quarterback Skyler Windmiller hooked up on a touchdown pass to L.J. Hatch, extending the lead to 15-0.
At the end of the first half, Short became the focus of the Mill Valley attack on offense.
Short began grinding way at Schlagle's solid front seven, capping off a second quarter drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. Short's first of three touchdowns in the game would be the last of Mill Valley's big second quarter.
After scoring just two points in the first quarter, Mill Valley would put 20 on the board in the second quarter, taking a 22-0 lead into halftime.
"We just had to keep making adjustments," Short said. "Once we got our focus back, we played well."
The Jaguars made nice adjustments in the second quarter, but they weren't needed in the second half.
The plan was giving Short the ball.
Following a kick-off return for a touchdown to open the second half, Short was involved in the majority of plays in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, easily ending the game with a season-high in carries.
He put a bow on two drives with touchdowns, pushing the score to 43-0 by the midway period of the fourth quarter. Short finished the game with 17 carries, 108 yards and most importantly, those three touchdowns.
For Short, the win was two-fold - it continued Mill Valley's winning streak and it provided him an opportunity to contribute big after missing a few games this season due to a concussion.
In the last two weeks, he's scored five touchdowns for the Jaguars, giving Mill Valley yet another weapon for district and regional opponents to be concerned about.
"This game gives me a lot of confidence with the district games," Short said. "We need to focus more as a team and to start off better in the future."
Schlagle drops to 4-3 on the season, while Mill Valley improves to 6-1.
Since dropping the first game of the season, the Jaguars have outscored their last six opponents 310-43.