Mountain View’s big-play wide receiver watched from the sidelines Friday night, wearing blue jeans while propped up on crutches.
Two of his able-bodied teammates were more than happy to fill in.
Despite the absence of leading receiver Clark Brown — who sprained his ankle in practice on Wednesday — the Toros found enough firepower split wide to take care of business against No. 7 Highland.
Robbie Millward had a 77-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the game and A.J. Montalvo had a 50-yard score late in the second quarter to lead No. 8 Mountain View to a 28-14 victory in a matchup of two of Division I’s hottest teams.
The second half was the defensive struggle many expected, but the Toros used those long strikes in the first half to pull ahead. Millward scored on a wide receiver screen just seconds into the contest as the blocking set up beautifully in front of him.
“We planned that all week, basically,” Millward said. “We saw that they were aggressive and ran to the quarterback every play. We knew it would work. I saw (teammate) Chase Funk coming up blocking and I thought, ‘Oh, perfect, that’s the last guy, I’ve just got to get past him.”
The Hawks (5-2) answered back on a 5-yard run from Grant Gale but couldn’t find the end zone consistently as the Toros pulled away. Hansen Williams caught a 20-yard touchdown to stake Mountain View to a 14-6 lead, and then Montalvo caught the long pass from Funk to take a 21-6 lead into intermission.
The Hawks had a chance to cut the deficit to one possession late in the third quarter but lost a fumble inside the Mountain View 10.
The Toros went ahead 28-6 on a 1-yard run from Cayman Nielson while Highland’s offense stagnated until a late 6-yard touchdown strike from Blake Young to Jake Brown.
The Hawks recovered the ensuing onside kick but touched the ball before it went 10 yards, effectively ending their chances.
“They just physically beat us up on both sides of the ball,” Highland coach Pete Wahlheim said. “The better team won tonight.”
The Mountain View defense had nine sacks, the fumble recovery and an interception one week after holding Red Mountain to seven points.
The Toros have now won six consecutive games after starting 0-2.
Despite the positives, coach Chad DeGrenier felt like the team let off the gas in the second half.
“We’re glad to get out of here with a win, but we’ve just got to play better,” DeGrenier said. “We’re better than how we played tonight.”
Millward finished with four catches for 110 yards and the touchdown. John Clark was 11-of-17 for 162 yards and two touchdowns while Funk added 78 yards passing and a score as the pair continues to split time under center.
Highland was without its top three running backs in the game. Sophomore Kenny Rothe led the team with 10 carries for 63 yards.
Brown is expected back next week against Mountain Pointe, DeGrenier said.
H - 6 0 0 8 -- 14
MV - 14 7 0 7 -- 28
First Downs: H 17; MV 15
Rushes-Yards: H 41-138; MV 33-164
Comp-Att-Int: H 12-24-1; MV 15-25-0
Passing Yards: H 132; MV 240
Fumbles-Lost: H 2-1; MV 1-1
Penalty-Yards: H 4 - 30; MV 7 - 74
MV - Millward 77 pass from Clark, Bustillos kick
H - Gale 5 run, run failed
MV - Williams 20 pass from Clark, Bustillos kick
MV - Montalvo 50 pass from Funk, Bustillos kick
MV - Nielsen 1 run, Bustillos kick
H - Brown 6 pass from Young, Gale pass from Young