For the past two seasons, the Mountain View Mavericks have overwhelmed opponents with offense.
But in 2016, Mountain View’s dominance has been defined by defense. And the Mavericks put forth their most smothering performance yet Friday, shutting down rival Meridian for a 71-2 road victory.
The Mavs scored three defensive touchdowns, recorded a safety and racked up 13 tackles for loss — all while limiting the Warriors to 40 yards from scrimmage and two first downs.
It is the sixth consecutive win for Mountain View (6-1, 3-0 5A SIC Pod A), which has won nine straight over Meridian (3-4, 2-1).
“I’m very proud of our defense. I feel like we’ve really been coming on over the last few weeks,” Mountain View coach Judd Benedick said. “I mean, you’re lucky to score a couple defensive touchdowns over the course of a whole season, so it was fun having three in one night and seeing those defensive guys get in the end zone.”
Mountain View controlled the line of scrimmage from the opening snap, routinely blowing up plays in the backfield. Meridian’s five first-quarter possessions ended in three three-and-outs, a safety and a fumble, which senior defensive back Josh Elsberry returned 22 yards for a touchdown.
“Our D-line and linebackers did a wonderful job up front,” Elsberry said. “They were getting in the backfield and creating a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and we were able to feed off of that and make some big plays.”
With its defense dominating, Mountain View took advantage of positive field position to quickly put the game out of reach. Running backs Cole Franklin and Caden Hansen each scored two first-half touchdowns, and senior quarterback and Montana State commit Tucker Rovig tossed scoring passes to Franklin and Chris Evans as the Mavericks built an insurmountable 43-2 halftime lead.
Meridian only managed one first down and 9 yards of offense in the first half, with the Warriors’ lone bright spot coming on Reese Crabtree’s sack of Rovig in the end zone for a safety.
“We knew they were a good team with a good offensive line, but our coaches put together the right game plan and we came out and executed it,” Mountain View defensive lineman Daniel Boots said. “Defensive momentum just kind of builds on itself when you’re out there having fun and succeeding.”
The second half — which featured a running clock because of the lopsided score — brought more of the same. Evans opened the third quarter by scoring his second TD on a jet sweep, ending the night for the Mavericks’ starters. And just three plays later, senior linebacker Trent Rawdan scooped up Mountain View’s third fumble recovery of the game and rumbled 24 yards to the end zone.
Junior defensive lineman Cade Ray chalked up the Mavericks’ third defensive TD, pouncing on a blocked fourth-quarter punt in the end zone to close out the scoring.
Rovig had an efficient night, completing 12-of-17 passes for 157 yards and two scores as the Mavericks rolled up 403 yards of offense.