The Eagle High football team entered the week in unfamiliar territory.
Fresh off back-to-back losses, the program faced one of its low points and the possibility of its first-three game losing streak in 16 years.
Then it went into halftime at No. 3 Mountain View trailing 16-0 Friday night.
Not to worry. Eagle (2-2) erased any doubt that it’s still a contender by dominating the second half to earn a 33-24 upset win on the road.
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“People were already ruling us out after three games of the season,” senior running back Nelson Russell said. “We’re just excited to prove everybody wrong.”
The Mustangs rushed for just 19 yards on 15 carries in the first half, but But Eagle’s offensive line and quarterback Ben Ford exploded in the second, racking up 209 yards on the ground.
Ford did the bulk of the damage. After just two carries in the first half, he finished with 124 yards and two TDs on 11 carries. He turned his first three runs of the second half into 85 yards and two scores as he punished Mountain View for crashing on option handoffs. Once he found his way past the first line of defenders, no one could catch the speedy sophomore, who started playing quarterback this fall.
Ford also threw for 256 yards and two TDs, both in the second half.
“I’m cramping in both of my calves right now,” Ford said. “There are cuts and bruises all over my body, but I’ve never felt better.”
Eagle’s defense surrendered 40 or more points each of the past two weeks, leading to the two losses. But the Mustangs responded after a week of physical and demanding practices to ground one of the state’s most explosive offenses in the second half.
Eagle forced a three-and-out on five of the Mavericks’ seven possessions in the second half. Mountain View’s only score after halftime came on K.J. Lynch’s diving 38-yard touchdown catch.
“I just feel like we finally reached our full potential,” Eagle senior linebacker Matt Hudson said. “And from here on, it’s nothing but up. I think we can play with any team in the 5A SIC.”
The upset win further shakes up the 5A Southern Idaho Conference race, with heavyweights Eagle, Mountain View and Capital all sitting at 2-2. The top five teams earn automatic berths into the playoffs.
A loss would have sent the Mustangs to 1-3 and cost them control of their playoff destiny. Instead, Eagle still remains in the league’s title hunt with five games remaining.
“I just got done telling our guys the season just began,” Peterson said. “... There’s a lot of football to go. This league is going to get crazy. We’re just getting started in the craziness.”
EAGLE 33, MTN. VIEW 24
MV — Dylan Martinez 15 fumble return (Seth Jones kick), 11:51
MV — Kaden Chan 63 pass from Noah Bryant (Jones run), 1:21
EAG — Kaden Baskett 47 pass from Ben Ford (run failed), 11:16
EAG — Ford 16 run (Austin Frisk kick), 8:35
EAG — Ford 54 run (Frisk kick), 8:35
EAG — Russell 4 run (pass failed), 1:26
MV — K.J. Lynch 38 pass from Bryant (Jones to Joey Elwell pass), 9:12
EAG — Dalton Mashore 65 pass from Ford (Frisk kick), 6:56
RUSHING — Eagle: Nelson Russell 24-83, Cam Churchill 1-6, Ben Ford 11-124, Kaden Baskett 2-14, Jackson Stampfli 5-4, Team 2-(-3). Mountain View: Jaymon Barrus 13-41, Joey Elwell 7-36, Blake Jablonski 2-(-9), Noah Bryant 10-47, Ace Gibson 4-10, Bronx Barrus 3-20, Team 2-(-14).
PASSING — Eagle: Ford 18-30-1 256. Mountain View: Bryant 11-26-2 176.
RECEIVING — Eagle: Dalton Mashore 2-75, Russell 3-33, Churchill 4-35, Kaden Baskett 6-81, Stampfli 1-13, Dalton Riggs 2-19. Mountain View: K.J. Lynch 5-70, Kaden Chan 2-69, Jablonski 3-21, Colby Peugh.