Austin Mace had a difficult time expressing his joy.
Eddie Richardson just remembers how fun it was a couple years ago, and he just knows it will be even better now.
The Mountain View Thunder are going to the Class 3A state football playoffs after a 31-21 win over Mountlake Terrace.
Mace rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown, Nicholas Wright scored on offense and special teams, and the Mountain View defense did just enough to slow down a tough rushing attack in a state preliminary round playoff.
“We did it my sophomore year, and that was probably one of the most fun weeks of my life,” said Richardson, a senior. “Now, I get to do it with guys I’ve played with my whole life. I’m expecting it to be a lot better.”
Mountain View will host Seattle Prep in the first round.
Mace just stood in silence for a moment, reflecting on what the Thunder had just accomplished. They got a Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title last week, and now this.
“I don’t know what to say,” Mace finally said. “It’s exhilarating.”
This game had its exhilarating moments, as well.
Mountain View never trailed but did not have control of the game until the closing minutes.
The Thunder sealed the victory with a 15-play, clock-chewing drive that led to a 26-yard field goal from Will Warne, giving Mountain View a 10-point lead with less than 2 minutes to play.
Until then, the outcome was yet to be determined.
The Hawks tied it at 7, but the lead lasted just seconds. Wright, who opened the scoring with a 15-yard first-quarter touchdown, returned the Mountlake kickoff 91 yards for a score to make it 14-7.
The Thunder would push the lead to 14 with a text-book drive in the final minute of the first half. Preston Jones scored from a yard out with 11 seconds left in the second quarter.
Mountlake Terrace would score first in the second half, with Chase Ragsdale punching it in from three yards out. Ragsdale’s second touchdown of the game made it a one-score game.
Once again, Mountain View had the answer.
Mace broke free two scrimmage plays later, scoring on a 59-yard touchdown run for a 28-14 advantage.
The Hawks still would not go away. Quarterback Justin Hopkins fooled just about everyone on a bootleg and scored on a 16-yard run to make it 28-21 with 9:15 left in the game.
Plenty of time, right?
Not with Mountain View’s offense.
“I told the guys at some point we would need a six-minute drive,” Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson said.
Better than that for the Thunder. They killed more than seven minutes and got the field goal from Warne to make it a 10-point game.
Phil Rudolph would pick up back-to-back sacks to start the Mountain View celebration.
Mace got his 150 yards on 15 carries. Wright finished with 83 yards on nine carries with a 15-yard touchdown run. Jones had 58 yards on 15 carries with his touchdown.
“The line was making big holes. Oh my gosh,” Mace said. “The line is doing everything right. It’s working really well. All the backs are hitting their holes. We’re all doing our assignments like we’re supposed to, and the coaches are making great calls.”
Saturday night’s victory completed one of the best weekends of Clark County high school football. Camas, Union, and Skyview from the 4A GSHL all won to make it to state. So, too, did Columbia River from the 3A GSHL. At Class 1A, La Center and Woodland advanced.
This was Mountain View’s night. The Thunder got it done.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 31, MOUNTLAKE TERRACE 21
Mountlake Terrace 0 7 7 7--21
Mountain View 7 14 7 3--31
MV -- Nicholas Wright 15 run (Will Warne kick)
MLT -- Chance Ragsdale 1 run (Michael Jenson kick)
MV -- Wright 91 kickoff return (Warne kick)
MV -- Preston Jones 1 run (Warne kick)
MLT -- Ragsdale 3 run (Jenson kick)
MV -- Austin Mace 59 run (Warne kick)
MLT -- Justin Hopkins 16 run (Jenson kick)
MV -- Warne 26 FG
RUSHING -- Mountlake Terrace: Malcolm Johnson 15-81, Ragsdale 24-142, Hopkins 4-0, Jacob Wallgren 3-7, Ryan Lacasses 1-3. Mountain View: Jones 15-58, Austin Mace 15-150, Wright 9-83, Garrett Jones 2-9, Lex Reese 2-3, Carl Falls 1-0.
PASSING -- Mountlake Terrace: Hopkins 2-8-2-51. Mountain View: Reese 1-3-0-19
RECEIVING -- Mountlake Terrace: Austin Bates 2-51. Mountain View: Nolan Biggs 1-19