Highland’s defense has slowed down some of the more explosive offenses in the East Valley this season.
While Mountain View’s no-frills rushing game may not have been pretty, it was effective.
The Toros scored more points on the Hawks than any other East Valley team this season in a 28-11 victory in a 5A-I Central Region game at Highland.
Mountain View ran the ball 45 times for 161 yards, staying on the field for large chunks of time and wearing down Highland in the process. The Hawks closed to 14-11 early in the third quarter, but the defense couldn’t slow the Toros in an ensuing drive that lasted more than five minutes, and Mountain View scored again just more than a minute later following a Highland fumble.
“Their offensive line is very physical,” Highland coach Pete Wahlheim said. “They hit us in the mouth. We had trouble getting off the field on defense.”
Highland trailed by 11 points at halftime, but made it a game when it took the opening kickoff and marched the length of the field for a score when Merrick Madrid found Jamison Ellis on a 20-yard touchdown pass. An ensuing two-point conversion pass cut the deficit to three points, but Mountain View’s offense answered right back with a touchdown.
“We were antsy,” Mountain View coach Tom Joseph said. “It’s tough just sitting there. We knew he had to have a sustained drive.”
Following Highland’s fumble, quarterback Jeremy Boatright found Justin Newman on a 32-yard touchdown pass to put the game away. The Hawks never threatened from that point on.
Boatright finished with 62 yards rushing and 146 yards passing.
“That kid runs hard,” Wahlheim said.
Newman had three catches for 84 yards, while Jamison Ellis had five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown on offense and picked off a pass on defense for Highland.
Highland had a first-and-goal at the Mountain View 4-yard line on its opening drive, but had to settle for a field goal. Mountain View answered four minutes later with a touchdown and didn’t trail the rest of the way.
“You’re not going to beat Mountain View with field goals,” Wahlheim said.
It was an important win for the Toros (4-3, 3-1), who still have games left against Basha and Chandler and may have to battle for a playoff spot through the final game of the year. Mountain View was 13th in the power point rankings before the win, although Joseph said he doesn’t pay any attention to it.
“I don’t have a cell phone or a computer,” Joseph said. “Maybe when I stop coaching I’ll get one.”