No matter how much faith a coach has in his players there are times playing an opponent straight up is going to be a difficult task.
Some coaches play it tight, trying to minimize the damage and other go the other way by doing things out of the ordinary in attempt to create momentum and confidence in his players.
Mountain View coach Mike Fell faced that type of situation on Friday while taking on No. 1 Mountain Pointe in 6A Conference non-region action.
It was clear early on that Fell was going to take some chances against the Pride.
Some of it worked and some didn’t in a 35-3 loss at Toro Stadium.
“We had to do some things that gave us a shot,” Fell said. “It didn’t look good early, but I thought we settled in and started to play at their speed and did some good things.”
The first sign came in the second quarter after Mountain Pointe (3-1) scored easily on its first two drives for a 14-3 lead thanks to a 25-yard scoring run by Jakim McKinney and a 23-yard scoring run Greg Bragg.
The Toros were set to punt on a 4th-and-9 from their 18, but the Pride were called for a 5-yard penalty. Fell decided to send the offense back out on 4th-and-4.
The assumption was Mountain View (2-2) was just trying to draw the aggressive Pride defense offsides, but quarterback Brandon Nunez let it fly and an incompletion that hit the receiver in the hands all but set Mountain Pointe for an easy third score.
“At that point, I didn’t know if we were going to stop them,” said Fell, who also went for it on fourth down four other times, converting twice. “They had two (drives) in a row they just went down the field, and I was thinking we better hang on to the football. We had it on our hands and dropped it.”
The Pride pounced as McKinney (8 carries, 93 yards) scored his second of three scores on the night from 13-yards out for a 21-3 lead heading into halftime.
Mountain Pointe quarterback Nick Wallerstedt opened the second half with a 73-yard run to push the lead out to 28-3 one offensive play into the second half.
“I told one of my assistants you work your butt off at halftime making all of these adjustments and just like that they blew it up,” Fell said. “We can’t let that happen.”
The Toro defense gave up 297 yards rushing, but made some plays along the way as Alex Talamantes, who had some tackles for a loss, Jeremiah Hollen made tackles in the middle and Aaron Stinnett recovered a fumble.
“We came out with a new formation and didn’t follow our assignments,” Talamantes said. “After that we went back to our basic defense and matched up better. We were embarrassed (56-0) last year against them and we played them much tougher this time.”
The Pride controlled from the start but the Toros moved the ball and were able to get into the red zone five times against the Mountain Pointe defense, but never found the end zone.
It’s a ratio that won’t win many games and something that as to change going forward. The Toros turned it over twice (an interception and a fumble) and had a dropped pass in the end zone.
“We have to do a better job of getting in the end zone,” said junior quarterback Brandon Nunez, who dropped the ball while scrambling on the last red zone chance. “I dropped the ball and threw an interception. We had penalties and a lineman completely missed a block so we couldn’t even get the play off. We have to clean that stuff up.”
Mountain View wide receiver Jacob Dinwiddie dropped the ball in the end zone while being covered well by Lacarea Johnson, who also won a battle with Dinwiddie for a jump-ball interception.
“I have to make one of those plays,” said Dinwiddie, who finished with seven catches for 85 yards. “We were battling and he won those plays. We had our chances, but didn’t come through when we got close.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mountain Pointe 35, Mountain View 3
MP 7 14 7 7–35
MV 3 0 0 0– 0
MV – Ryan 32 FG, 6:40
MP – McKinney 25 run (Abercrombie kick), 4:23
MP – Bragg 23 run (Abercrombie kick), 11:36
MP – McKinney 13 run (Abercrombie kick), 8:52
MP – Wallerstedt 77 run (Abercrombie kick), 11:33
MP – McKinney 13 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 8:37
First downs 17 12
Rush-yards 31-297 26-63
Comp-Att-Int 7-10-0 20-35-1
Pass yards 78 196
Total yards 375 259
Pen-yards 11-103 5-31
Fumble 1-1 1-1
MP – Bragg 12-73, McKinney 8-93, Wallerstedt 4-80, Salgado 1-25, Moss 2-4, Nitura 2-14, Ramirez 2-8, Gibson 1-0. MV – Yamada 14-46, Nunez 8-10, Dinwiddie 1-4, Hollen 1-(-)2, Waite 2-(-)1.
MP – Wallerstedt 8-8-0-75, Williams 1-2-0-3. MV – Nunez 20-35-1-196.
MP – Salgado 2-23, Johnson 2-27, Churchwell 1-12, J. Gipson 1-3. McKinney 1-13. MV – Dinwiddie 7-85, Allen 6-49, Waite 2-29, Barney 2-30, Yamada 3-3.