The rematch of last year’s 5A state championship game marked another pendulum swing in the Treasure Valley’s fastest-growing high school rivalry, with Friday’s round going to the Mountain View Mavericks.
Senior tailback Cole Franklin ran for 179 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns as Mountain View used efficient offense and a big-play defense to secure a 33-13 victory over rival Rocky Mountain at Brighton Stadium.
The victory avenged Mountain View’s 41-22 loss to the Grizzlies in last year’s state title game.
It also snapped a 13-game Rocky Mountain winning streak dating to a 44-20 loss to the Mavericks last fall.
“After the state championship last year, we were hungry,” Franklin said. “We really wanted this, and we worked hard for it. It felt good to bust off some big plays — all credit goes to the guys up front.”
Senior linebacker Khalid Hardy recovered two fumbles, including one he scooped and returned for the game-clinching touchdown with 2:10 remaining, as the Mavericks (3-1) won their third straight.
“Our coaches made some good adjustments for us,” Hardy said. “It was frustrating to give up so many yards, but we pride ourselves on turnovers. They create a lot of momentum for our team.”
Rocky Mountain marched downfield on the opening drive to take a 7-0 lead on Carter Kuehl’s 1-yard run. The Grizzlies (3-1) then picked off Mountain View quarterback and Montana State commit Tucker Rovig and looked poised to blow the game open.
But, in what would become a recurring theme, the Mavericks’ defense held up deep in their own territory, forcing a missed field goal.
Rovig bounced back by leading a TD drive capped by a nice throw to Tyler Ho in the back of the end zone, and his 2-point conversion run put Mountain View ahead, 8-7.
Twice more, the Mountain View defense held Rocky Mountain to first-half field-goal attempts, with Jonah Dalmas making both kicks.
A tip-drill touchdown pass from Rovig to Joey Elwell gave the Mavericks a 14-13 halftime lead.
“You aren’t going to completely stop Rocky — that’s not realistic,” Mountain View coach Judd Benedick said. “So instead, you have to make big plays when you get an opportunity. They were able to march up and down the field on us, but we were able to stiffen up in the red zone, and that was big.”
Mountain View held Rocky to one TD on five red-zone chances. The Grizzlies threatened twice in the second half, but Hardy pounced on a fumbled third-quarter pitch at the 14-yard line, and the Mavericks stuffed Rocky Mountain quarterback Thomas Perkins on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1 in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Franklin emerged as a big-time playmaker. He burst through the line and sprinted 42 yards to make it 20-13 midway through the third quarter, and he cashed in Hardy’s first fumble recovery with a seven-yard touchdown run early in the fourth.
“He was a difference-maker for us,” Benedick said. “He ran like a man, broke tackles, and then showed good speed when he got into the open field.”
Mountain View’s defense punctuated the win, stripping Perkins inside the Rocky Mountain 10. Hardy recovered and walked into the end zone untouched for the final margin.
The teams combined for 831 yards of offense and two punts (one apiece). Keenan Pattwell had 116 yards from scrimmage and some long kick returns for Mountain View, while Rovig threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
Kuehl led Rocky Mountain with 109 rushing yards on 19 carries.
The Grizzlies racked up 389 yards of offense, but they only completed three passes for 36 yards.