On Friday, Mother Nature provided the greatest obstacle the Mountain View Mountain Lions have faced during the season’s first three weeks.
On a night when half of Southern Arizona’s high school football games were rained out and rescheduled for Saturday, game play was delayed some 90 minutes, before Mountain View could take the field and destroy the visiting Desert View Jaguars, 46-7.
“The main thing was to be 3-0,” said Mountain View coach Larry Branson. “We have a meat grinder for the next four weeks.”
That’s when the Mountain Lions will take on powerhouses like Salpointe, Cienega and Ironwood Ridge. They’ll also host Tucson High, coached by former Mountain Lion coach Justin Argraves, which could make that confrontation emotional.
In recent rankings throughout Southern Arizona, Cienega was ranked No. 1, while the Nighthawks were ranked No. 2.
Last Friday, the Mountain Lions broke out of the rain delay with their cleats dug firmly in the ground.
Weston Kimmel ran 19 yards on the first play. Two plays later, quarterback Cris Thorson started running to the right, cutting back to the left and racing 61 yards down the left sideline. His run put the ball on the Desert View 2-yard line.
Marcos Mcmillon went 2 yards for the touchdown. After a missed conversion, it was 6-0.
“Desert View had athletes,” Thorson said. “But we played our game.”
The Mountain Lions’ defense gave the ball back to the offense when Cecil Fuentes recovered a fumble on the Desert View 32-yard line. Mcmillon went back to pass and found go-to-guy Jerry Teague for 32 yards, bringing the score to 13-0.
The Jaguars returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards. That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Ivan Fausto, cutting the lead to 13-7.
Weston Kimmel caught a pass from Thorson and went 32 yards for a touchdown to give the Mountain Lions a 20-7 lead with 6:43 left in the first half.
Thorson finished with only five of 10 completions, but threw for 105 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the Mountain Lions’ leading rusher with 90 yards on nine carries.
“I wish we could run better,” Branson lamented.
The Mountain Lions still ran for 234 yards in the game. They’re averaging 6 yards per carry for the season.
Mcmillon finished with 12 carries for 58 yards and two touchdowns, while Austin Trebilcock gained 53 yards on the ground, including a 10-yard touchdown.
The Mountain Lions’ defense dominated in the second half, as they prevented the Jaguars from scoring.
Kimmel intercepted a pass, the team recorded a defensive safety, and the players held the Jaguars to just 130 yards, all on the ground. Kevin Mellen also intercepted a pass in the first half.
“Our defense is opportunistic,” Thorson said. “Our entire defense flies around.”
The nucleus of this year’s successful team existed during last year’s 3-7 season. This year, the Mountain Lions are thriving with the same group.
“Coach Branson is getting the weapons open,” Thorson said. “It’s huge for the program.”
Branson is happy with where is team is currently sitting.
“If you’re going to build a program, you have to do it in steps. Right now they believe in themselves,” he said.
This Friday, the Mountain Lions will travel to Salpointe for a 7 p.m. tilt.