Running back Dawson Downing shines in Bishop Miege rout of Blue Valley Northwest

Bishop Miege walked off the field with its first win of the season in a 51-36 rout of Blue Valley Northwest Friday.
Bishop Miege walked off the field with its first win of the season in a 51-36 rout of Blue Valley Northwest Friday.

By Brennan Dial

A series of key defensive stops, a sharp passing attack and a standout performance from running back Dawson Downing propelled Bishop Miege to its first win of the season in a game that pitted two former grade school teammates against each other.

[pullquote]Jon Holmes on Bishop Miege’s first win of 2014
Click the arrow to hear Bishop Miege head coach Jon Holmes talk about the Stags solid showing against Blue Valley Northwest in week one.

[/pullquote]Miege quarterback Ryan Willis, who has committed to play at the University of Kansas next year, got the better of Blue Valley Northwest’s Zach Zegunis in the Stags’ 51-36 win Friday. Willis and Zegunis played alongside one another as members of a Football and Cheerleading Club of Johnson County team in fourth and fifth grades.

The Huskies kept pace with the Stags though the first quarter, but a second quarter safety shifted the momentum to Miege, who put together a 23-0 run that essentially put the game out of reach for BV Northwest. Despite the fact that Miege lost four of its key receivers from 2013 to graduation, Willis found a quick rhythm with his receiving corps. Senior tight end Chris Ford scored the Stags first points of the season on a 34-yard reception in the first quarter — and then kept piling on the stats. He finished the day with seven receptions for 100 yards. Junior wideout Danny Murphy was also a factor, catching a 52 yard pass for a touchdown.

Willis finished the night with 266 passing yards and three touchdowns.

“My receivers showed me what they can do and I have complete confidence in them,” Willis said after the game. “They can have a huge impact on our team this year.”

The passing game got a major boost from junior running back Downing, who had no problem finding seams in the Blue Valley Northwest defensive line. He ran over and through the Huskies defenders finishing the game with three touchdowns and 230 yards.

Miege head coach Jon Holmes said he was pleased with the Stags’ first outing of the season.

“Our guys have been thinking about this for a long time, we were able to come out and execute our game plan,” he said. “I was very proud of our guys tonight.”

Miege will hope to build on its first-week success with a win next week against rival Gardner-Edgerton, which handed the Stags their only regular season loss of 2013. Gardner-Edgerton was shut out 40-0 in its season opener against SM East on Friday.