Mill Valley proved again, its hard to knock out the champ.
The four-time defending Kansas Class 5A state champions rallied for an incredible 48-47 victory over Blue Valley Southwest in the state semifinals, and advanced back to the state title game for the fifth straight year.
Last season, Mill Valley did it by beating Blue Valley Southwest, 63-0. This year, they needed improbably heroics.
After a wild first half which resulted in a 35-34 Mill Valley lead, the Timberwolves took a 40-35 edge when Dylan Dunn lobbed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Alex Parks in the right side of the end zone with 6:05 left in the third quarter - the first lead for BV Southwest since 3-0.
Mill Valley (10-2) was held on a fourth-down attempt in the red zone with 2:37 left in the third. From its own 8, the T-Wolves scored again after a 47-yard pass to the Mill Valley 45. Southwest eventually scored after Dunn fired a 5-yard touchdown pass to Emmitt Peters for a 47-35 lead with :15 left in the third.
The Jaguars used a big kickoff return, a Daniel Blaine 23-yard pass to Davion Harris down to the 14, and a Blaine keeper up the middle to the end zone brought the score to 47-42 with 9:32 left.
Southwest drove the field before eventually facing a fourth-and-7 with 3:11 left. However, a Dunn pass off his back foot overshot his target to give the ball back to Mill Valley with 3:05 remaining.
A 14-yard run by Jaden Scobee, a Blaine 14-yard pass followed by an unsportsmanlike penalty quickly put the Jags down to the BVSW 29 with 2:11 left.
Mill Valley ran into the red zone before a Blaine 16-yard apparent touchdown run with :53 left was called back.
Following a Scobee first down run to the 6, the running back was held to runs of 2 and -1. Facing third-and-goal, Blaine rolled to the left and looked to be brought down before firing the ball for an incomplete pass, setting up one final play with :03. Blaine dropped back to the 15, scurried to the right, found wide open space for the final 12 yards, dove into the end zone and the Jaguars flooded the end zone in celebration. Blaine finished with four rushing touchdowns in the contest.
Blue Valley Southwest concluded its best season in school history at 10-2. Dunn, who fired five touchdown passes in the game, concluded his career with 94 touchdowns and near the 9,000-yard mark.
Mill Valley apparently lost star running back Tristan Baker to a leg injury for next week.
Gardner-Edgerton returns back where it left off last year - the state championship game.
The Trailblazers ran away from Blue Valley for a 35-3 victory in the Kansas Class 6A semifinals, and advance to the state title game. Gardner-Edgerton will face Derby next Saturday at 1 pm in Emporia.
Blue Valley, the darlings of the 6A playoffs after entering as a No. 6 seed at 4-4, reeled off three wins before Friday, and took a 3-0 lead on a Richman 34-yard field goal in the first quarter.
But it was all Trailblazers thereafter.
The Trailblazers (11-1) took over at their own 10 with 3:05 left in the first period. Dylan Butash started the drive with a 16-yard gutsy run up the middle, and eventually, G-E drove the field, capped by a Bravin Powell keeper with 8:53 left in the half.
Gardner-Edgerton went on a 66-yard drive that ended on a Powell 19-yard pass to Randy Singleton in the back left of the end zone for a 14-3 lead with :38 left.
Then Singleton stepped up again, as on the ensuing possession, Chris Aiello threw a pass to the right sideline that Singleton stepped in front of the receiver, picked off the pass and sprinted for a 29-yard pick-6, and a 21-3 lead with :38 left.
The second half was more of the same - another Powell keeper for a touchdown, another interception by Singleton and in the end, the Trailblazers were making plans to drive down I-35 to Emporia.
Last year, Gardner-Edgerton fell in double overtime, 21-20, to Manhattan.
Blue Valley finishes at 7-5.
St. Thomas Aquinas stands just 48 minutes from its second state title.
The Saints cruised past Tonganoxie, 42-14, in the Kansas Class 4A semifinals, and will face Andover Central in the state title game next Saturday in Topeka.
After a Tongie fumble on the opening drive, the Saints opened the scoring with a Gianni Rizzi seven-yard score.
A three-and-out led to a short field at the Aquinas 47. From there, the Saints methodically drove into the red zone, leading to another Rizzi touchdown run, this time from 18 yards out and a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
The second period snowballed further, as Tongie held off an Aquinas drive with a goalline stand. But the next play, a pass was tipped at the line to leave a floater for senior Cooper Wortman, who easily snagged the ball at the THS 8, and sauntered into the end zone for a 21-0 cushion with 11:14 in the half.
A 22-yard Aiden Skinner touchdown pass to Joe Loughman, a 58-yard scoring run by Cole Richardson, and a 30-yard run by Gavin Middendorf ballooned the lead to 42-0 at intermission.
For the game, Aquinas rolled up 449 total yards, while Tongie mustered 135. Rizzi (109 yards) and Richardson (138) led the ground game for the Saints.
Tonganoxie (9-3) scored on a 33-yard pass from Trevor McGraw to Isaiah Holthaus, and a blocked punt, scoop and score by Holthaus led to the Chieftains scoring.
The Saints (9-3) previously won their only state title in 2018, taking the Class 5A championship over Wichita Northwest.