Lions’ rally comes up short in 21-14 road loss at Mill Valley

Lawrence senior wide receiver Avion Nelson runs down the sideline against Mill Valley Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Shawnee — Lawrence High struggled to produce offensively against Mill Valley most of Friday night, dropping the road test, 21-14, after a second-half rally.

LHS (3-1) posted 211 yards of total offense, including 140 on the ground, in the Lions’ first loss of the 2021 season.

Head coach Clint Bowen didn’t think the Lions practiced well on the Monday and Wednesday, leading up to the game.

“I think that’s where the game was lost. We have to learn as a team and grow up as a team. There’s no such thing as just going out there and counting the periods and getting through practice,” Bowen said.

The Lions’ defense made up for a poor opening drive with a third-down sack from junior Lance Bassett. However, the Lions couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity after placing Mill Valley deep in LHS territory.

Mill Valley got into the end zone just before the end of the first quarter, picking up six points off a run from quarterback Jay Hayden.

Another fourth-down stop led by Bassett cut Mill Valley’s initial drive short in the second quarter.

Sophomore Brayden Heck couldn’t find much traction on the Lions’ next possession, though, and didn’t find many openings.

Taking away more momentum, the LHS defense didn’t stand up to the Jaguars’ next drive. A pair of 15-plus yard receptions set up another Mill Valley score, pushing the MVHS lead to 14.

Bowen said Mill Valley’s size limited the LHS defense.

“Their D-line played really well,” he said. “They were winning the line of scrimmage, that really got us disrupted offensively. We’ve got to be a little bit bigger on the field and close the edges down.”

Penalties plagued LHS throughout the first half, hurting the Lions’ defense well into the second quarter. Trying to respond before the half, quarterback Truman Juelsgaard suffered a sack on a last-second play, sending the Lions to the locker room scoreless.

Starting the third quarter with the football, Mill Valley struck almost immediately on a 60-yard touchdown pass, giving the Jaguars a comfortable 21-0 lead early in the second half.

LHS found some success on the following drive, marching down the field behind Heck’s gradually improving ground attack.

Despite not finding much of a groove in the first half, Heck saw more support from his line the rest of the game.

“I think there was more of an adjustment on our part of getting our line to move people on the line of scrimmage a little bit more in the second half,” Bowen said.

The LHS coach doesn’t want his players digging themselves into holes.

“Kids have a tendency to want to try and do other people’s jobs. I don’t want to make our kids hit that panic button.”

A 10-yard penalty against Mill Valley set up a major red zone opportunity for the Lions. Senior Avion Nelson found a gap and charged in for a 3-yard touchdown rush, cutting the Jaguars’ lead to 14.

The Lions’ first scoring drive of the night ate up the remainder of the third-quarter.

Despite picking up excellent field position off the kickoff return, Mill Valley’s offense was stopped in its tracks by a third-down tackle from junior Kenton Simmons.

Juelsgaard couldn’t find a rhythm on offense, though, giving up a sack to force a three-and-out for LHS. Grinding to get the ball back, the Lions’ defense came up with its second-straight stop of the half.

Back in possession with 4:45 to play in the game, the Lions started looking downfield. Juelsgaard connected with senior Baylor Bowen twice for a pair of first downs, moving LHS into Jaguars territory.

Avion Nelson broke away for a 16-yard touchdown rush, his second of the evening. LHS cut Mill Valley’s lead down to 7 with just 2:47 left in the fourth quarter.

LHS senior Evan Bannister sacked Mill Valley QB Hayden with just 1:19 left, setting up a vital stop for the Lions.

Getting one last shot with 0:53 remaining in the game, LHS was forced to work deep in its own territory. After earning two first downs off receptions by Baylor Bowen and Nelson, Juelsgaard couldn’t connect on his last throw of the night to salvage the comeback attempt.


Lawrence High 0 0 0 14 – 14

Mill Valley 7 7 7 0 – 21


1st Quarter:

02:17 – MVHS touchdown: Hayden 5 run. Wood kick is good. (LHS 0, MVHS 7)

2nd Quarter:

08:04 – MVHS touchdown: Baker 3 run. Wood kick is good. (LHS 0, MVHS 14)

3rd Quarter:

11:19 – MVHS touchdown: Napoli 7 pass from Hayden. Rushed 60. Wood kick is good. (LHS 0, MVHS 21)

4th Quarter:

11:57 – LHS touchdown: Nelson 3 run. Glasgow kick is good. (LHS 7, MVHS 21)

02:47 – LHS touchdown: Nelson 16 run. Glasgow kick is good. (LHS 14, MVHS 21)


Mill Valley 21, Lawrence 14


First downs 8 | 9

Rushing yards 140 | 141

Passing yards 71 | 122

Total-offense 211 | 263

Fumbles-lost 0 | 0

Interceptions 0 | 0

Penalties-yards 25 | 45

Individuals Statistics:


LHS: Brayden Heck 18-66, Avion Nelson 7-45, Truman Juelsgaard 10-26,

MVHS: Reice Kennedy 7-27, Kendrick Jones 3-15, Tristan Baker 14-81


LHS: Truman Juelsgaard 8-18, 71

MVHS: Jay Hayden 10-17, 122


LHS: Baylor Bowen 5-41, Kivryn Heck 1-10, Brayden Heck 12, Jaydon Brittingham 1-2

MVHS: Sean Allerheiligen 1-6, Kendrick Jones 7-109, Jared Napoli 2-20, Aidan Jacobs 1-2


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