Pinnacle couldn’t stomach another loss.
The No. 7 Pioneers used a second half comeback Friday to topple undefeated visiting No. 8 Mountain View, 28-25.
“It was hard-fought,” Pinnacle coach Dana Zupke said. “Coming off of two loses, we were hurting a little bit. For us to regroup like this and battle to the end and come up with the victory. I am real proud of my team.”
Mountain View (4-1) was trying to take its next step to returning to the elite of D-I after starting the season with a four-game winning streak.
“We made mistakes at critical moments,” a deflated Mountain View coach Chad DeGrenier said. “Pinnacle has been in a lot of close games, with a lot of very good teams. Sooner or later they are going to win a close one and they won a close one tonight.”
Pinnacle (3-2) had pushed Hamilton to the brink two weeks ago and last week was overpowered by Basha. But maybe the Pioneers had learned a thing or two in those defeats as they rallied in the third quarter.
The Toros took a 17-14 lead after Luis Bastillos connected on a 37-yard field goal with 2:43 left in the third quarter. But Pinnacle immediately answered with a 5-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 19-yard TD pass from Brian Lewerke to Cules Rose.
“It was a great comeback victory after our loss to Basha,” said Lewerke, who was 16-of-24 for 241 yards. “We need to keep working and focus on our next game.”
In true Mountain View style, the Toros continued to throw the ball all over the field and drew two pass interference calls to aid what they had hoped to be a go-ahead drive. But the effort stalled at the Pinnacle 28 and this time Bastillos couldn’t convert a 45-yard field goal.
On the following play after the ball was placed at the Pinnacle 20, Josh Hoekstra stepped out of two tackles and darted down the sideline for an 80-yard TD run.
“It was huge,” Zupke said. “We still sometimes have trouble closing this stuff out but we absolutely needed that.”
Hoekstra finished with 123 yards on 11 carries, including a 7-yard score in the first quarter.
Mountain View tried to recover from the momentum shift and was able to engineer a 14-play scoring drive that ended with John Clark finding Robby Millward for a 6-yard TD pass with 3:46 remaining. Clark converted the two-point conversion with another pass to Millward, cutting the lead to 25-28.
The Toros attempted an onside kick but Pinnacle was equal to the task. Following a first down run by Lewerke, Mountain View stiffened and stopped three straight runs while using its three timeouts.
Pinnacle used a directional punt to pin Mountain View at its own 15 with 2:14 remaining. The Toros were without three wideouts who had suffered injuries, including Hansen Williams. Williams was on crutches after sustaining a left knee injury in the first half.
The drive never gained traction and Pinnacle put pressure on Clark who was called for intentional grounding on the drive.
“Our defense made great stops at the end of the game,” Lewerke said.
Mountain View never crossed midfield and failed to convert a fourth-and-30 with 44.6 left.
Clark finished 33-of-45 for 315 yards including an 8-yard TD pass to Clark Brown and 16-yard score to Jason Hall in the first half.
Clark’s favorite target was Millward, who caught 14 passes for 151 yards.
Pinnacle 28, Mountain View 25
Mountain View 7 7 3 8 – 25
Pinnacle 6 8 7 7 – 28
First Downs: Mountain View 28, Pinnacle 24
Rushing: Mountain View 33-87, Pinnacle 28-249
Passing (Comp-Att-Yards-TD-Int): Mountain View 33-45-315-3-0, Pinnacle 16-25-241-2-0
Fumbles-Lost: Mountain View 4-1, Pinnacle 2-1
Penalties-Yards: Mountain View 5-45, Pinnacle 7-70
MV – Brown 8 pass from Clark (Bustillos kick)
P – Hoekstra 7 run (kick failed)
MV – Hall 16 pass from Clark (Bustillos kick)
P – Rose 16 pass from Lewerke (Run good)
MV – Bustillos 37 FG
P – Rose 19 pass from Lewerke (Sweet kick)
P – Hoekstra 80 run (Sweet kick)
MV – Millward 12 pass from Clark (Pass good)