By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Yukon knew the stakes were high going into their District 6AI-1 matchup with Westmoore.
The Jaguars knew the stakes also. A trip to the class 6A playoffs.
Westmoore came up with the big plays and held off a late Yukon comeback bid to upend the Millers 35-21 and end YHS’ season.
The Millers closed their year 4-6 overall and 2-4 in in the district. Westmoore advances as the third place team.
Yukon had to win the game and beat the Jaguars by 11 points to finish third in the district after forcing a three-way tie.
And, the Millers were poised to make a run at that win in the second half, trailing the high scoring Jaguars only 13-6 at the half.
But, Westmoore scored on the first play of the second half and countered the Millers each time YHS scored in the second half.
“I told the players after the game how proud I was of them,” YHS head coach Jeremy Reed said. “I will always remember them for the willingness to buy into something new, so different and their willingness to fight. I thought they played so, so hard tonight.
“We played a really good football team, I think they know they (Westmoore) were in a game tonight,” he said. “I am just really proud of our kids tonight and how they played.
“They never quit, that is who they are and who they became. I don’t know if that it who they were, but that is who they became. I just can’t say enough about the effort they gave in the game.”
Yukon was down 13-0 late in the first half, but put together a drive and cut the lead to 13-6 when Perry Olsen scored on a one-yard run as time ran out. The score capped a six-play, 65-yard drive. The score was highlighted by a 42-yard Olsen to Carvelle McKinley pass to the Westmoore 10-yard line.
With one second left on the clock and faced with a fourth and one, Olsen kept the ball on a quarterback sneak and scored. The extra point was blocked, but YHS went into the locker room carrying momentum.
That momentum did take a hit when Westmoore quarterback Braxton Bohrofen scored on a 67-yard on the first play of the second half. Bohrofen passed to Jacob Clark on the conversion that gave the Jags a 15-point, 21-6 lead 11 seconds into the third quarter.
A missed Westmoore 45-yard field goal try gave the Millers some new life midway in the third quarter. Yukon put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive that Olsen scored for the second time and cut the lead to 21-13. Runs of 34 and 11 yards by Noah Davis (he had six carries for 57 yards in the drive) set up the score.
Westmoore countered with a 54-yard scoring drive with Bohrofen scoring on a seven-yard run that opened a 28-13 lead. Bohrofen teamed up with Garrett Palmer on a 30-yard pass to set up the score.
The Millers moved the ball to the Westmoore 41, gambled on a fourth and six play and came up short.
Westmoore’s Braxton George raced 56-yards on a second down play that opened a 35-14 lead with 7:20 left in the game.
Yukon kept their hopes alive less than a minute later after Olsen tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to McKinley with 6:23 remaining.
Yukon’s defense stopped Westmoore in three plays and forced a punt. But, the Millers could only get to their 33, turned the ball over on downs.
Yukon had one more chance, but an interception by Westmoore’s Caleb Thompson ended the game.
“The kids bought into the overall program and it wasn’t just words they were saying, they were living it out,” Reed said. “That is special to watch. It is hard to talk tonight and think that it is over, but what so many special things our kids were able to achieve in one season.
“Westmoore is so explosive,” he said. “We knew going in how explosive they are. We think talent wise, they are the most talented team we have played and when you play a team like that, they are dangerous. They just got us.”