The Mountain View and Eagle football teams entered Friday night’s season opener with fresh faces all over the field after heavy graduation losses.
That youth led to a few mistakes, but it also saved the Mavericks, who held on for a 21-19 win at Eagle’s Thunder Stadium.
Eagle receiver Nick Williams snuck behind Mountain View safety K.J. Lynch for a 54-yard completion midway through the fourth quarter. But the sophomore, who played on the Mavericks’ freshman team last year, hustled and chased down Williams at the 3-yard line.
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That tackle proved the difference-maker as Mountain View mounted a goal-line stand and held off one final rally to open its state title defense with a win on the road against a perennial power.
“I was just thinking, ‘I can’t let him score,’ ” Lynch said. “Just anything to save the touchdown, because this was a very tight game. If that play would have scored, I don’t know where we’d be right now, if it would have been a ‘W’ or no.”
Fresh off the program’s first state title, Mountain View fields new starters at 18-of-22 positions. Gone are seven All-Idaho members. But no one cries for the defending state champ. Mountain View will get every opponent’s best shot all season as they try to dethrone the Mavericks.
But Mountain View passed its first test Friday as Lynch and a host of other young players tried to make their mark in a rematch of last year’s state semifinal game.
“We have a lot of young’uns out there,” said Cade Ray, Mountain View’s senior defensive end and only returning defensive starter. “We’ve done the reps in practice, but now we know they are ready to step up to the challenge.
“We’ve got a lot of things to clean up. But from the looks of it, I think we’re looking pretty good.”
Eagle racked up 497 yards of offense Friday. But it couldn’t earn the final 3 it needed as the Mavericks held the Mustangs out of the end zone, then Eagle’s Kaden Williams missed the go-ahead, 19-yard field goal.
The two-headed backfield of Jaymon Barrus and Caden Hansen paced the Mountain View offense. Barrus, a junior, ran for 90 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Hansen, a senior and last year’s leading rusher, finished with 93 yards on 28 carries.
The win marked Mountain View’s seventh in its last eight games against the Mustangs. It also spoiled the debut of Eagle’s new $621,204 artificial turf field. Construction delays put Eagle’s ability to host its home opener into doubt, but Sprinturf finished the field in time and it passed its final safety test late Friday afternoon.
MTN. VIEW 21, EAGLE 19
EAG — Nick Williams 18 pass from Devan Bridgewater (pass failed), 9:51
MV — Jaymon Barrus 4 run (run failed), 6:11
MV — Noah Bryant 2 run (pass failed), 0:49
EAG — Bridgewater 1 run (kick failed), 8:41
MV — Magnus Wattles 36 field goal, 3:36
MV — Bryant 3 run (kick failed), 11:45
EAG — Kaden Baskett 21 pass from Bridgewater (Kaden Williams kick), 9:58
RUSHING — Mountain View: Carson Wells 1-9, Dylan Martinez 1-12, Caden Hansen 28-93, Blake Jablonski 1-12, Noah Bryant 6-36, Jaymon Barrus 19-90. Eagle: Devan Bridgewater 14-42, Preston Vandegriff 6-24, Nelson Russell 4-36, Luke Favillo 16-97, Kaden Baskett 3-22.
PASSING — Mountain View: Bryant 11-25-1 97. Eagle: Bridgewater 23-43-1 276.
RECEIVING — Mountain View: Joey Elwell 3-25, Wells 4-41, Ethan Ball 1-8, Jablonski 3-23. Eagle: Brennan Larsen 5-51, Karl Thomas 3-11, Nick Williams 6-135, Vandegriff 1-5, Russell 3-19, Favillo 1-8, Cam Churchill 1-12.