Strange. Bizarre. Odd.
The Mountain View Thunder survived an unusual set of circumstances, winning a Friday night football game in the bright Saturday afternoon sunshine.
Chavo Camargo returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown, and the Mountain View defense held off a couple Columbia River drives in the fourth quarter for a 34-28 victory.
The game was postponed at halftime Friday night when the lights went out at McKenzie Stadium. The teams returned Saturday with River ahead 21-20.
The win gives the Thunder second place in the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League. The Thunder (7-2, 5-1 GSHL) will host Auburn-Mountainview in a 3A state preliminary game at 7 p.m. Saturday at McKenzie Stadium.
Columbia River (5-4, 3-3) was trying to force a three-way tie for second place. Instead, the Chieftains season ended a win short of the postseason. Prairie (6-3, 4-2) earned the No. 3 seed from the league and will play at Meadowdale next weekend.
“Lots of pressure off the would-bes, could-bes,” said Mountain View quarterback Riley O’Dell, noting there is no need for any tiebreakers. “Now we can prepare the whole week for what we have to do (against Auburn-Mountainview).”
The Thunder took the lead less than two minutes into the second half when O’Dell found Cory Creagan wide open for a 36-yard touchdown pass.
“It was important to score quick, get on top quick, and put the pressure on them,” O’Dell said.
The Thunder kept applying that pressure with defense on River’s ensuing possession.
Camargo sniffed out a screen pass and wrestled the ball away from the would-be receiver. The Chieftain fell down, but Camargo kept his balance, then took off 52 yards to make it 34-21 midway through the third quarter.
“The coaches busted their butts every day to get us ready. We worked on that in practice,” Camargo said. “I guess I read it. Then I had to fight for it a little bit. It was fun.”
Columbia River’s Patrick Figueroa returned a punt 36 yards to set up the Chieftains at the Mountain View 21-yard line. Remick Kawawaki would score on a 3-yard run to cut the deficit to six points going into the final period.
Defenses ruled the rest of the game.
Mountain View linebacker Ryan Johnson had a pass deflection on a fourth-down play to give the Thunder the ball back with eight minutes to play. Johnson and Jacob Mitchell were in on a sack that forced a River punt on its next possession.
The Chieftains got the ball back again with 2:07 remaining and drove to the Mountain View 17-yard line. A penalty dropped the Chieftains back to the 33, and Camargo got River quarterback Clayton Frank in his grasp on the final play of the game. Frank was able to throw the ball but with Camargo all over him, had no strength to get the ball to the end zone.
In all, Columbia River had three possessions while trailing by six.
“We just had to step it up a little bit,” Johnson said. “Our defense regrouped and didn’t let them score.”
Running back Michael Rivers scored all three of Mountain View’s touchdowns in the first half Friday. He finished the game with 171 yards on 20 carries.
O’Dell had 93 yards passing and another 55 on the ground for the Thunder.
Dennis Henderson concluded his career with a stellar performance. The River wide receiver caught 13 passes for 167 yards, including two touchdowns Friday. Frank threw for 187 yards and also had a rushing touchdown. Kawawaki, who was held to 13 yards in the first half, finished with 81 yards on 19 carries with his TD.
The win came a little later than expected, but Thunder thought it was worth the wait.
“We’re just excited to be in the playoffs again,” Johnson said.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 34, COLUMBIA RIVER 28
Columbia River 7 14 7 0—28
Mountain View 7 13 14 0—34
MV — Michael Rivers 5 run (Chavo Camargo kick)
CR — Clayton Frank 5 run (Eli Gaynor kick)
MV — Rivers 62 run (kick failed)
MV — Michael Rivers 46 run (Camargo kick)
CR — Dennis Henderson 18 pass from Frank (Gaynor kick)
CR — Dennis Henderson 13 pass from Frank (Gaynor kick)
MV — Cory Craegan 36 pass from Riley O’Dell (Camargo kick)
MV — Camargo 52 interception return (Camargo kick)
CR — Remick Kawawaki 3 run (Heath Brinkman kick)
Rushing — Columbia River: Remick Kawawaki 19-81, Clayton Frank 16-34, Darius Raiford 3-14, Henderson 1-3, Tanner Bogart 1-1. Mountain View: Michael Rivers 20-171, Eddie Richardson 6-44, Riley O’Dell 5-55, Connor Atchison 4-17, Sterling Reynolds 4-12.
Passing — Columbia River: Frank 17-30-1-187. Mountain View: O’Dell 3-8-0-93.
Receiving — Columbia River: Henderson 13-167, Trey Walker 1-13, John Mahoney 1-4, Tanner Bogart 1-3, Eli Evenson 1-0. Mountain View: Rivers 1-46, Craegan 1-36, Reynolds 1-11.