All season long, Mountain View senior Keenan Pattwell has played through painful stomach issues against the advice of his doctors.
Friday night at a jam-packed Thunder Stadium, the Mavericks’ top playmaker turned in his gutsiest performance yet.
Pattwell caught seven passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns as Mountain View rallied to knock off top-ranked Eagle 25-15 in the 5A state semifinals.
“He’s the best athlete I’ve witnessed in my life,” said senior quarterback Tucker Rovig, who threw for 183 yards and three TDs. “He tells me before the play that he’s going to go get the ball, and I have full confidence that he will, every time.”
Mountain View (10-2) advances to its third consecutive 5A title game, where it will face Capital (10-1) next Saturday at Bronco Stadium.
“It’s so much fun to be out here, making plays and doing it for the team,” said Pattwell, who added 43 rushing yards. “The brotherhood and camaraderie we have is unbelievable. I’m just so happy I get to play one more game with these guys.”
The game featured the top two defenses in 5A, and points were tough to come by. Mountain View only threatened once in the first half, but the Mavericks made it count when Rovig lofted a perfect fade route to Pattwell for a 6-0 lead.
After failing to record a first down in the opening quarter, Eagle (10-1) showed some life in the second. One promising drive was erased by Ty Haun’s interception in the end zone, but senior QB Slayter Jeffries led the Mustangs right back down the field and scored on a 1-yard run for a 7-6 halftime lead.
Both teams scored once in the third quarter, with Caden Hansen (22 carries, 106 yards) rumbling 11 yards for Mountain View, and Jeffries firing an option jump-pass to Kaden Snooks for a 24-yard score. Eagle led 15-12 after three.
But in the fourth quarter, Pattwell took over. First, he got behind the Eagle defense for a 47-yard TD that put Mountain View up 19-15. He later hauled in a contested, 33-yard grab that set up the final dagger — Rovig’s 13-yard play-action TD pass to tight end Dawson King.
“Keenan’s will is so strong, so amazing,” Mountain View coach Judd Benedick said. “I just can’t believe the things he does. His will to compete and to be the best is unbelievable.”
Jeffries led Eagle with 113 yards on the ground, but Mountain View’s top-ranked defense stood tall when it mattered most, recording four sacks and pitching a fourth-quarter shutout.
Eagle also was hurt by 10 penalties. One was a targeting ejection of standout safety Ryan Swanson, whose defensive playmaking ability was sorely missed down the stretch.
“Our kids played really hard and minimized the mistakes,” Benedick said. “You’re going to get limited opportunities in a game like this against a great Eagle team, and we were able to capitalize just enough to get the win.”