After a 1-3 start to the 2019 season that saw Mill Valley Football lose each game by no more than a touchdown.
The Jaguars finished the season on a 9-0 undefeated streak on their way to the 5A State Championship.
“We had a group (of seniors) that completely sold out on being the best teammates possible,” said Mill Valley football head coach Joel Applebee.
Returning from Mill Valley’s 2019 championship season will be 14 starters, eight on offense and six on defense.
Quarterback Cooper Marsh and running back Quin Wittenauer return in the backfield.
The duo will try to replicate the success they had last year that included setting a new school single-season rushing record.
Marsh threw for 2020 yards and 20 touchdowns and added 925 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing. Wittenauer balanced the rushing attack with 832 yards and 9 touchdowns.
They will benefit from a returning, experienced offensive linemen in seniors Same Hecht and Robbie Dervin.
Offensive targets include Ty Reishus, Jacob Hartman, Kendrick Jones, and Jared Napoli. The quartet of receivers combined for 1,696 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Jaguar offense averaged close to 34 points per game while only surrendering an average of 13 points per game. The margin of victory in the playoffs was 22 points in 2019.
Defensively, the Jaguars will be just as potent.
Upfront leading the way for the defense is Ethan Kremer. The 2-time 6A state wrestling champion has received numerous offers from Division 1 and 2 colleges.
“Ethan’s work ethic in everything he does is tremendous. He is a very focused, goal-driven young man,” complimented Applebee.
“(Ethan) wants to be the best at what he does; whether in the classroom, on the field, on the mat, or in the community. He is a great leader for our program.”
Kremer recorded 54 total tackles which 17.5 of them for losses as well as 5.5 sacks.
The Jaguar defense hopes to be stingy again thanks to Cole Knappen and Aiden Shaffer upfront.
The linebacker core features Kolten Jegen with Cole Clauder and Trey Worcester in the secondary.
On special teams, Kicker and Punter Chris Tennant will give a significant boost for Mill Valley. Tennant successfully converted on 48 of 49 point-after attempts and 14 of 17 field goals.
“Chris is an incredible weapon to have on our team. He has proven that in situations throughout his career,” said Applegate.
“He does it all with his punting, kicking, and PAT/Field Goals.”
Mill Valley moves over to the Sunflower League this season with the likes of Lawrence Free State, Gardner Edgerton, Olathe North, and ten others.
“The league is extremely competitive. We will have our hands full,” said the Jaguars football head coach.
“There are plenty of tradition-rich programs and other programs that are on the rise. It will be a tough schedule, but one we are very excited about and looking forward to.”
The Jaguars open up the 2020 Season at home against the Trailblazers for their first Sunflower League match-up.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of the article stated that Kremer had an offer from K-State to play football. At this time, that is in correct. We apologize for the error.