After Mountain View was forced to settle for an 18-yard field goal on its first drive of the game, coach Judd Benedick said he felt a tinge of disappointment.
That feeling didn’t last long.
Five-foot-11, 270-pound defensive tackle Cameron Skaggs returned a Rocky Mountain fumble 12 yards for a touchdown — the first of six Rocky Mountain turnovers — as Mountain View rode a dominant first half to a 44-20 victory Thursday night at Mountain View High in a matchup of 5A Southern Idaho Conference preseason No. 1s.
“They started really fast and kind of in a flurry,” Benedick said. “I think what happened then is maybe Rocky wasn’t able to recover from our fast start, and it gave our kids confidence.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
To Rocky Mountain’s dismay, the turnovers just kept coming.
The Grizzlies’ next drive ended in an interception by Bobby Habenicht — and another TD for Mountain View.
That was followed by Mountain View defensive lineman Daniel Boots’ fumble recovery with 1:29 left in the first quarter and a 16-0 Mavericks lead.
“We didn’t show up to play. We missed reads. We missed tackles. We fumbled the football,” Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner said. “Everything we possibly could do wrong, we did it tonight. And they came to play. That’s a good football team.”
By the end of the first half, Rocky Mountain had committed five of its six turnovers, spotting Mountain View a 37-0 lead.
“It felt great to have our defense go out there and play so well,” Skaggs said. “We’ve been training all week, and to get that good, solid start — the energy was so high — and our team just rose from there.”
Mountain View’s offense had no trouble following its defense’s lead.
Running backs Keenan Pattwell and TreyTon Bell scored a TD each and combined for 199 rushing yards.
Junior quarterback Tucker Rovig connected with receiver Joe Farris for two scores — a 6-yarder in the second quarter and a 70-yarder in the fourth. Farris finished with 185 receiving yards.
Rovig completed 15-of-28 passes for 234 yards with an interception. Senior kicker Mati Lamberti added field goals of 18, 21 and 31 yards.
“I knew that our defense was good, but being able to stop Rocky’s offense and hold them to no points in the first half is just incredible,” Rovig said. “I’m really proud of them.”
Rocky Mountain gained some ground in the second half with the help of senior running back Jake Roper. Roper scored three touchdowns and finished with 116 yards on 28 carries.
“We’ve got to keep our kids focused and not let them think that we’ve arrived, because we’ve played two games,” Benedick said. “Now next week we go right back against Capital, so we’re fighting another giant. You beat one giant, and here comes another one.”