Mountain Ridge vs.
2004 5A State Quarterfinals
Mountain Ridge and Mountain
View weren't having he types of seasons they were
accustomed to. Mountain Ridge began
the season 1-4, while Mountain View,
last year's state runner's-up, started the season 1-2 with losses to Hamilton
and Salpointe. But, they both were
where they thought they would be when the season opened Friday night: still
alive in the playoffs after the first round.
This game started as an apparent shootout. I hadn't even gotten out of the ticket
line yet, and there were already two touchdown's on the board. The scoring was started on Ridge's first
series. After several plays, super
scatback Nick Bell scooted in from
36 yards out, giving the Mountain Lions their first lead of the game. But, that lead was not to hold for long,
as Alex DeVito broke the first play
of the next series for a 67 yard TD right up the gut on a fullback trap. With less than four minutes already
played, we had a 7-7 ballgame.
Ridge came back on a mission on the next series. They took an 11 play series from their
own 20 yard line to the Toro 19 with a heavy dose of
Bell, who carried four times for 19
yards on the drive. But, the Lions
shot themselves in the foot as they fumbled on option pitch that was recovered
by the Toros sophomore LB Ridge
View countered with the running of
DeVito and the passing of senior QB Tyler Mack to senior TE Channing Keller. They ended the first quarter driving
down to the Mountain Lion 27.
Senior LB Nick Covey showed
why he is bound for the University of
Nebraska on the drive, making tackles
on almost every running play that cam his direction.
To start the second quarter, Mack dropped back to pass, only to be
pressured to scramble for no gain by Ridge defensive lineman Dan McKee and Trevor Young. On a critical third down play, Covey
dropped DeVito for no gain.
The next play would be an ominous sign of
things to come for the Toros.
Senior kicker Ken Golliday
lined up for a 42 yard field goal that would have given the Toros the lead for
the first time in the contest. But,
Mt. Ridge's Gary Johnstone raced
around left end to block the kick.
Mt. Ridge would take control of the ball
on the Toro 41. The Lions executed
another solid drive, giving the ball to
Bell six times, five rushing and one
on a screen pass on a crucial third and 12. Big fullback Matt Pickering also chipped in with a
bruising 11 yard run of his own on the drive. But, it was
Bell who finished it off, going 17
yards up the middle to give Ridge a 14-7 lead. Mountain
View LB Andrew
Edwards was everywhere on the series, and the night, for the Toros.
View began the next drive at their won 31 when DeVito
broke off one of his most impressive runs of the evening. Running up the middle on a fullback
power, he broke one tackle at the line of scrimmage, spun off of two more
would-be tacklers, and cut back for a 52 yard gain, taking the ball to the
Mt. Ridge 16 yard line. But, an illegal substitution penalty, an
incomplete pass and a DeVito pushed the Toros to another critical third down
play. Tyler Mack sprinted away from heavy
pressure, only to have his pass fall incomplete. Golliday once again took the call from
Coach Tom Joseph, as he attempted another FG. But, again, the Mountain Lions' special
teams were up to the challenge, this time breaking through on the right side of
View line to block another FG. This turn of events gave the ball back
to the Mountain Lions at the Toro 31.
But, this would be a short-lived drive for
the Lions. After a 13 yard run by
Nick Bell was called back for holding, Ridge fumbled the ball back to
View at their own 24. The Toros converted on a quick
drive. Play one saw DeVito plunge
up the middle for a yard. On the
next play, DeVito took a pitch out to his right. But, instead of turning up field with
the ball, he stopped and tossed a TD pass to senior WR Stetson Banks. Having seen enough of the Toros' special
teams' follies, Joseph pulled rabbit out of his hat, calling on Mack to fake the
PAT. Mack took the snap and raced
around left end for the 2 point conversion, giving the Toros their first lead of
the evening, 15-14.
Golliday's booming kickoff out of the end
zone put the Lions on their own 20.
But, Coach Steve Belles and his team put together one of their best
series of the night with a 13 play drive that would consume over three
minutes. Bell rushed for 29 yards
on the series, and senior QB Austin Martin found Nick Covey for the first time on he drive on an important third
down and 7 where Covey leaped and snagged a high pass out of the air, making a
difficult catch for 18 yards on the After three more Martin pass attempts, Bell
ran into the end zone for the second time in the evening from 8 yards out. The PAT made the score 22-15 in Ridge's
favor with 16 seconds left to play in the half.
View took a Ridge squib kick to the
Lion 37 yard line. Mack found Banks
again for 12 yards. Then, Golliday
came back on to the field to attempt a 47 yard FG with 3 seconds left in the
half. Golliday nailed the kick that
would have been good from 57, and the halftime score was Mountain Ridge 22,
Mountain View 18.
In the second half, Ridge took the opening kickoff
and moved down the field again on another long series. This time
Bell rushed for 52 yards on the
series. Austin Martin picked up
seven yards on a scramble deep into Toro territory, and found senior wingback Sean Hiller for seven yards.
Bell, the workhorse of the
series, capped of a ten yard series with a 2 yard TD run where he put his
shoulders and bulled into the end zone to put the Mountain Lions on top
Mountain Ridge forced
Mountain View into a three and out
on the next series where Covey again was all over the field, putting pressure on
Mack in the pocket. But, it was
senior DL Brad Gaul who made the play of the series,
sniffing out a Toro screen pass to DeVito and tackling him for no gain. Tate Ash nailed the punt for 65 yards
and it was downed on the Ridge one yard line. With 99 yards to go,
The most controversial play of the game
occurred on the first play of the series.
Mountain Ridge picked up 8 yards on the first carry of the series, but
the ball popped loose at the end of the run with the Toros recovering. Toro fans were screaming for the
turnover, while the Ridge fans chanted, "He was down!" After the referees huddled, they
determined that the ground had caused the fumble, and Ridge hung on to the
ball. Ridge continued to feed the
ball to Bell, who picked up 4 yards
on a third and 2 with a slippery little run. Most backs would have never seen the
hole that he pushed through, making it one of the most impressive runs he had
all evening. Martin was put on his
back by DL Ryan Thomas with a punishing hit on second down. The Lions punted the ball back to the
Toros after another Martin pass fell incomplete. Ridge punted the ball back to
Mountain View, who took control at
their 14 yard line.
The Toros turned in their best drive of the
night, handing the ball to DeVito for 16 yards. But, it was a third and ten at the Ridge
23 that kept the Toros in the game.
With pressure coming off the right side, Mack scrambled to find an open
receiver and hit Banks again on a great sliding catch for a gain of 15 to give
the Toros one more chance at a TD.
The Toros lined up in the Power I with #9, Todd Landreaux in the TB position. Two plays later, he leaped into the end
zone from a yard out, cutting the lead to three, 29-26.
The fourth quarter had just begun, and the scoring
was over for the evening. Golliday
again booted the ball into the end zone, giving the Lions 80 yards to pay
dirt. Martin was tackled for a one
yard gain by Andrew Edwards and Ridge Nielsen, and then he hit a screen to
Bell for 12.
Bell took another handoff,
only to be smothered for a two yard gain by Dan Huber again. But, a holding penalty pushed the Lions
into a third and 13 situation. This
time, Ridge had no answer for the problem, and punted the ball back to the
Toros. But, the ball was shanked
for 14 yards, and Mt.
View took over on the Lions' 48 yard
View took the ball for their last offensive series of
their season. They ran down the
field with DeVito again and passed the ball from Mack to Channing Keller. A facemask penalty on the pass gave the
Toros first and 10 on the 18 yard line.
Great defensive stops by senior LB Daniel Villasenior and Brad Yost gave the Toros another key
third down opportunity. But, the
draw call to DeVito was played perfectly by senior studs Nick Covey, Nick Bell,
and Ryan Scott who tackled the back
for a one yard gain. Again,
Golliday was marched on to the field to attempt a game tying FG from 32 yards
out. This time, the play of the
game was made by senior RB/DB Brady
Rohlwing. He popped through the
line and tipped the kick. As
Mountain View watched the ball
trickled harmlessly out of the end zone, they knew they had blown another shot
to take control of the game.
Ridge needed to consume more clock time on their
series, which started from their own 20.
But, nobody was expecting the next play.
Bell took the buck sweep
handoff around left end, broke a tackle, cut back, and raced down the Ridge
sideline on a spectacular 60 yard run, despite defenders hanging from his
jersey. The hero for
View on the play was again DT Dan Huber, who made a great play to run
down the speedy back.
Mt. Ridge's offense tried to give the game
back to the Toros after holding and clipping calls pushed them into a first and
18. But, senior QB Austin Martin
was up to the challenge, breaking off a 17 yard QB draw where he put his
shoulders down and ran through several tacklers. After finally gaining the first down two
plays two plays later, the Mountain Lions took two delay of game penalties after
kneeling with the ball to hang on to the win, 29-26.
Wow, what a great game. The Mountain
View stands were rocking the entire night, as the Ridge
fans chanted across the field the entire evening. Anyone who is a high school football fan
needs to make it out to a Mt.
View playoff game some time. The band's drummers play the drums while
standing on their heads, and the fans cheer and boo as of it were a collegiate
The game saw many outstanding performers. Nick Bell carried 31 times for 266 yards
and three TD's. Nick Covey made
several key defensive stops and snagged two key passes, one for a critical first
down and the other for a TD.
View's defense played tough all
night, led by LD Andrew Edwards and DT Dan Huber. Their offense was led by senior RB Alex
DeVito who carried the Toros with his tough running all night. Game balls go out to junior DT Dan
Huber, who was great all game and kept his team in the contest with play after
play from his noseguard position.
For Mt. Ridge, the ball could go to
several players. But, the one who
made the key play of the night takes it home. Senior RB/DB Brady Rohlwing takes it for
blocking a game tying FG attempt to preserve the victory for Mountain Ridge, who
advances to the next round to face Brophy next week.