A dominating second half on defense by Stanford recruit Harrison Phillips and two electrifying touchdowns by Skyler Monaghan keyed Millard West's 27-10 football victory Thursday night over Millard South.
Phillips led a pass rush that sacked Millard South quarterback Anthony Cloyd four times in the second half. Phillips had six solo tackles, including one of the sacks, after halftime.
Monaghan ended the first half with a 30-yard touchdown grab from quarterback Ross Drwal and deflated the Patriots' comeback hopes, after they had pulled within six points in the third quarter, on a 99-yard return of a kickoff that he muffed before turning upfield.
“My heart skipped a couple beats there,'' Phillips said, “but Skyler did what he does and made a play.”
Millard West coach Kirk Peterson was pleased with all three of his playmakers — “They were pretty average tonight and that's with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.”
The No. 5 Wildcats (3-1) were coming off a 23-21 loss to Omaha Burke that cost them the No. 1 ranking in the Top 10.
The victory in the televised game at Buell Stadium, where an estimated 2,000 attended, allows West to claim the Millard round-robin title. It beat Millard North two weeks ago.
Cloyd was 7 of 16 for 95 yards and had two passes picked off, both by Wildcat senior defensive back Mike Brummer in the first half. Cloyd's longest run was 35 yards late in the third quarter.
“He is so scary to defend,'' Peterson said. “I thought we did a pretty good job keeping him in check.”
Phillips said he tried to do too much in the Burke loss.
“I knew I didn't play as well as I could have,'' he said. “Our practices this past week were the most physical I've been through, but I hope all the practices the rest of the year are just as hard.”
All three Wildcats touchdown drives started on Millard South's half of the field.
After Brummer's first pickoff, West went 41 yards with Thomas Russell scoring on a 5-yard run.
Monaghan made it 12-0 with his touchdown catch in double coverage in the final minute of the first half. He set up the 37-yard drive with a 28-yard punt return.
Danny Sandoz, whose first extra-point kick of the game was blocked, made his next one for a 13-0 halftime lead.
On the opening possession of the second half, Cloyd scored from the 1 one play after connecting with sophomore wide receiver Logan Lichter for a 47-yard gain. Scott Botkin's extra point made it 13-7 Wildcats.
After Monaghan's kickoff return, West's defense forced a three-and-out and the offense took over at the Patriots 41.
Monaghan had a pair of short-yardage catches — he ended with seven catches for 91 yards — before Victor Beanum scored with 2:53 left in the third quarter for a 27-7 cushion.
Botkin's 29-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter — it still left the Patriots needing three scores — completed the scoring.
Danny Baker, Rick Pesek and Jake Stauffer had the other second-half sacks for the Wildcats.
“We finished this one,'' Peterson said. “It maybe didn't look like it, how we started the third quarter.
“We played with more intensity.”
Millard South (1-3) ............................... 0 0 7 3—10
At Millard West (3-1) ............................ 6 7 14 0—27
MW: Thomas Russell 5 run (kick blocked)
MW: Skyler Monaghan 30 pass from Ross Drwal (Danny Sandoz kick)
MS: Anthony Cloyd 1 run (Scott Botkin kick)
MW: Monaghan 99 kickoff return (Sandoz kick)
MW: Victor Beanum 5 run (Sandoz kick)
MS: FG Botkin 29
A: 2,000 (est.)
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Video: See highlights from Millard West's win: