Coach: Adam Mathieson.
2011 record: 8-3, 5-1 3A GSHL, reached first round of 3A state playoffs.
Key players: Brad Hansen, jr., rb/lb; Eddie Richardson, jr., rb/lb; Carl Falls, jr., rb/db; Bennett Muasau, sr., ol/dl; Luke DuChesne, sr., qb; Russel Culverwell, sr., rb/db; Austin Mace, jr., rb/db; Nick Wright, jr., rb/wr; Jacob Mitchell, sr., ol/dl; Kade Burns, jr., ol/dl; Phil Rudolph, jr., ol/lb; Grant Hardy, jr., ol/dl; Jeff Longust, sr., ol/dl; Nick Wilmoth, jr., te/dl.
Season outlook: The Thunder have been known in recent years as a team that is better in Week 9 than in Week 1. That’s a positive sign for the Thunder, as there are no league games until Week 5. The Thunder have a tough non-league schedule to get them prepared for 3A GSHL play. “Hopefully, we’ll find ourselves a little bit,” Mathieson said.
Mountain View finished second to Camas in the league the past two seasons. Camas is no longer in the 3A GSHL.
Aug. 31 Union
Sept. 7 Evergreen
Sept. 14 at Bonney Lake
Sept. 21 Peninsula
Sept. 28 at Prairie*
Oct. 5 Fort Vancouver*
Oct. 12 Hudson’s Bay*
Oct. 19 at Kelso*
Oct. 26 Columbia River*
- — 3A GSHL game
Home games played at McKenzie Stadium
It took about an hour for Mountain View linebacker Brad Hansen to go through a range of emotions before learning everything was going to be OK.
It was a very, very long hour, though.
At first, he wondered if his football career was finished.
His second thought centered around being able to walk normally again.
"My leg wasn't in the right spot. It kind of freaked me out," Hansen said, referring to those initial moments from a play in Week 4 of the 2011 season. "I knew it was something bad. I could see the reaction on the faces of the coaches and trainers."
Not exactly an encouraging sign.
In the ambulance for the ride to the hospital, he was told to prepare himself for surgery. He heard it was possibly a broken femur, the strongest bone in the body.
"That scared me," he said.
As doctors examined him, they had some good news.
Well, if a dislocated hip could be considered good news.
For Hansen, it was.
"Even though it looked horrible, it was the most fortunate thing it could be," Hansen said. "They told me after rehab, I'd be back to normal."
Medical professionals popped his hip back in place and released Hansen from the hospital. He was gone before any of his teammates, who had to finish that night's game, made it to the hospital to visit.
Hansen is a fast healer, too.
He did not return to any game action last season, but he did return to the field. The practice field, first, and then he was in uniform for the final contest, the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
It was his reward for providing a lift to his teammates.
"He's just a football player. What I mean by that, he's just a committed kid," Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson said. "He's a kid every program wants."
Hansen began his rehabilitation by walking around the field while the football team practiced. By Week 8, Mathieson said, Hansen was jogging around the track.
"It was so inspiring to watch such a dedicated kid," Mathieson said.
That last game was important to Hansen.
"It was pretty exciting even though I wasn't going to play," he said. "To be in that locker room with my teammates, and being able to suit up again."
It gave him all the motivation to be back stronger in 2012. Hansen, now a junior, did not go out for basketball as a sophomore. He skipped track and field, too. He just wanted to work in the weight room, to get his hip back in shape, ready for football.
Mathieson said Hansen has not shown any signs of the injury during preseason practice.
"He started for us as a sophomore. He picked up right where he left off," Mathieson said. "I expect him to be Brad. He's very steady. He likes the science side of football. He's more like a coach like that."
Hansen even speaks like a coach, a conservative coach who does not want to say too much. He said he does not have any personal goals such as making an all-league team, nor does he have a number of tackles in mind.
"I just want to make a difference, make the biggest impact I can on defense," Hansen said. "For me, it's all about winning games."
The Thunder are used to winning. They have had five consecutive winning seasons, including an 8-3 mark last year. They finished second in the 3A Greater St. Helens League the past two seasons -- behind Camas. Now, there is no more Camas in the league.
Hansen, just like a coach, is not about to make any predictions.
"We knew when Camas went to 4A, it would be open," he said of the title. "It's up for grabs for pretty much any team."
After last season, Hansen will not take anything for granted.