Even at 1-4, Millard North remains a very dangerous opponent — as Papillion-La Vista found out Friday night.
The ninth-ranked Mustangs scored the first 24 points and cruised to a 38-21 victory over No. 7 Monarchs in a District 2 contest at Foundation Field.
Millard North had dropped four of its first five to ranked teams, but coach Fred Petito said his squad never lost confidence along the way.
“We've been in every game into the fourth quarter,” Petito said. “We feel our kids are pretty resilient. They trust each other and the coaches and they're mature kids.
“Our record is what it is, but tonight we made enough plays. We were anxious to play against a good team.”
That readiness showed. The Mustangs scored on all four of their first-half possessions against a Monarch team that had won four straight after a season-opening loss.
Millard North quarterback Clay Fisher sat out the first quarter with what Petito called “a coach's decision,” but sophomore Ethan Morrison directed two scoring drives to put the Mustangs in control early.
Their first drive covered 39 yards and ended with a 3-yard touchdown run from Adrrell Taylor.
A 41-yard completion to Taylor on fourth-and-1 set up fullback Grant DeVries' 3-yard scoring run to put the Mustangs up 14-0 late in the quarter.
Jack Thompson added a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter before the Mustangs delivered the knockout blow late in the half.
Three Fisher runs moved the ball to the Monarch 28 before he hit Avram Tynes on a touchdown toss with 17 seconds left in the half.
Millard North ran twice as many plays from scrimmage as the Monarchs in the first half (36 to 18) and frustrated quarterback Alec Ditoro with five sacks.
“We made them one-dimensional, which they don't mind because they like throwing the ball,” Petito said. “But we were able to put pressure on Ditoro, and you have to do that against their offense.”
The Monarchs made a brief run when Ditoro hit Reid Matthias for a 69-yard scoring strike midway through the third quarter, but the next three P-LV drives ended on a punt and on downs as they failed to draw any closer.
Fisher, who led the Mustangs with 143 yards on 30 carries, added scoring runs of 1 and 18 to put the game out of reach. DeVries crossed the century mark as well, churning out 142 yards on 24 attempts.
Ditoro threw two late scores to Lucas Hostetler and Matthias and finished with 322 yards on 15-of-30 passing.
Millard North's difficult slate continues with Friday's home game against No. 8 Bellevue West, while Papillion-La Vista is on the road to face top-ranked Omaha North.
Millard North (2-4) ............................ 14 10 0 14—38
At Papillion-La Vista (4-2) ............................ 0 0 7 14—21
MN: Adrrell Taylor 3 run (Jack Thompson PAT)
MN: Grant DeVries 3 run (Thompson PAT)
MN: Thompson 26 FG
MN: Avram Tynes 28 pass from Clay Fisher (Thompson PAT)
PLV: Reid Matthias 69 pass from Alec Ditoro (Gage Romans PAT)
MN: Fisher 1 run (Thompson PAT)
MN: Fisher 18 run (Thompson PAT)
PLV: Lucas Hostetler 26 pass from Ditoro (Romans PAT)
PLV: Matthias 60 pass from Ditoro (Romans PAT)
RUSHING: MN: Fisher 30-143; DeVries 24-142; Taylor 6-36; Ethan Morrison 11-37; Jacob Matthew 1-9. PLV: Sean Van Briesen 4-46; Ditoro 8-(minus 8).
PASSING: MN: Fisher 1-1-0 28; Morrison 1-1-0 41. PLV: Ditoro 15-30-1 322.
RECEIVING: MN: Taylor 1-41; Tynes 1-28. PLV: Matthias 4-173; Hostetler 4-58; Jack Kalina 3-47; Jalen Allison 2-24; Van Briesen 2-20.