Lynx click on all cylinders in 39-0 Metro road victory

Jakob King, for the Journal

Jill Meier/BV Journal 

Tate Johnson escapes the Washington defense as he hauls the ball in for a tourchdown in Saturday’s 39-0 Metro Conference win.


From the very first whistle of the game to the very last, the Brandon Valley Lynx outplayed the Washington Warriors in all three phases of the game at Howard Wood Field Saturday night.
That’s not meant to be hyperbole, either. On the game’s opening kickoff, Lynx senior Mark Mutschelknaus took the ball and raced 92 yards for the game’s opening points, foreshadowing what would be a dominating 39-0 victory, the fifth straight win for the Lynx.
“That’s a great way to start a game,” said head coach Chad Garrow. “Playing at Howard Wood, a lot of times we’ve come up and had some unfortunate special teams’ errors that other teams have scored on . . . it’s good to get that lead and get them chasing us.” 
But the Lynx were just getting started at that point.
After forcing Washington to punt on their first series, Lynx senior running back Tate Johnson committed one of the only miscues of the night for the visitors by coughing up a fumble.
Fortunately, Washington wasn’t able to take advantage of the takeaway, as they were stopped on fourth down and had to put the ball back in the hands of the Lynx.
It took just four plays for BV to capitalize on the short field, as Johnson extended the lead to 14-0 with his first touchdown of the game. The Lynx senior went over 100 yards in the first half alone, and as a team BV ran for 271 yards, which was a big reason behind their dominance.
“It’s a combination of our line gelling really well, and Tate being that good,” said Garrow. “Tate’s just so familiar with our offense. He can take little runs and turn them into big ones. He’ll eventually break one for 35 or 45. He’s just a gifted runner.” 
The next time the Lynx got the ball back, they went to the air. Two completions by senior quarterback Joe Kolbeck resulted in a 31-yard chunk and set up a field goal attempt that would have given the Lynx a three-score advantage at halftime. The attempt sailed wide of the uprights, though, keeping the score 14-0 at the intermission. 
The Lynx offense has, rightfully so, received a lot of the credit for their team’s success thus far in the 2020 season. But on Saturday, the defense was the most valuable side of the ball. Out of 10 offensive possessions for Washington, four ended in turnover on downs, four ended in punts, and twice the Lynx defense took the ball away.
“I thought they played amazing,” said Garrow. “That’s two weeks in a row that they’ve really been on top of their game. They did a great job of covering, we didn’t let anybody get over the top of us.” 
On BV’s first series of the second half, the Lynx got the ball in the hands of their other senior playmaker, Jackson Hilton. With the ball on Washington’s 22-yard line, Kolbeck rolled out and dumped the ball off to the senior wide receiver. Hilton did the rest, evading two Warrior defenders and outrunning the rest to the end zone to give his team the lopsided 20-0 edge.
Washington answered with their best drive of the game, looking to spark a comeback. Junior quarterback Max Thompson found senior wide receiver Malcolm Johnson for a 45-yard completion down to the Lynx 30-yard line. Later in the drive, the Warriors converted on fourth-and-2 and were stationed at the Lynx 11-yard line. But on the next four plays, Washington lost six yards, thanks to a sack by junior linebacker Owen Warren, which ultimately forced Washington to turn the ball over on downs.
Shortly after, Johnson delivered the knockout blow.
On the third play of the game’s final quarter, the senior speedster took the ball up the middle, ran through a linebacker, and galloped 46 yards to the end zone, leaving the Warrior secondary in his dust and sealing BV’s fifth consecutive victory. The run made the score 26-0 and at that point, the hole was too deep for Washington to dig themselves out.
The Lynx scored twice more with the game out of reach. Kolbeck logged a 38-yard touchdown run and junior defensive back Carson Askdal finished the scoring with a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown, making the score 39-0 and providing the night with a fitting end.
The victory comes in the final Metro Conference game of the regular season for the Lynx. After a season-opening loss to Roosevelt, BV has won their last three against Metro Conference rivals, which should set them up favorably in terms of playoff seeding.
This Friday, BV turns its attention to ESD Conference rival, the 5-1 Harrisburg Tigers, who are coming off an impressive 46-42 victory over Lincoln. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Lynx close out their season on West River soil when they travel to face Rapid City Stevens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Post-season action gets underway Oct. 29.


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