The Mountain View Thunder had their way on the ground for most of Friday.
That probably made it a lot easier to surprise Evergreen with a pass.
Nolan Biggs was wide open before the start of the play, during the play, and even when he crossed the end zone some 74 yards later, helping Mountain View to a 24-17 win over non-league rival Evergreen at McKenzie Stadium.
Biggs’ touchdown reception from quarterback Lex Reese gave the Thunder (1-1) a 17-10 lead with 8:44 to go in the game.
Austin Mace led Mountain View’s ground attack with 173 yards on 29 carries with a touchdown. He rushed for two first downs on Mountain View’s final scoring drive, giving way to Carl Falls, who scored from a yard out to make it 24-10 with 1:27 to play.
Evergreen’s Rey Green broke free for a 50-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Bea to make it a one-touchdown game with a minute to play. Mountain View recovered the onside kick and went into victory formation for three plays to run out the clock.
“That’s my old school, too, so this feels really good,” said Mace, a senior who started high school at Evergreen. “The line did a helluva job blocking in this game.”
The Plainsmen (1-1) were looking for their first win over Mountain View since 2007 and their first 2-0 start since 2004. They took the lead on a 10-yard pass from Bea to Justice Murphy early in the third quarter to make it 10-7.
Mountain View tied it on a 22-yard field goal by Will Warne late in the third quarter.
The Thunder would get the next two touchdowns to take control.
It started with a wrinkle from Mountain View’s standard plays.
“We changed formation, and they didn’t notice me,” Biggs said. “They never even saw me.”
Just before the snap, Biggs lined up near his team’s sideline and he got Reese’s attention. The rest was easy. Biggs caught the ball about 20 yards away from anyone else on the field and outraced the defense to the end zone.
“It just felt good to put our team ahead and give a little cushion to our defense that was working so hard,” Biggs said.
Both teams had trouble with turnovers in the first half.
Mountain View lost two fumbles in the first quarter, but Evergreen returned the favor with a costly fumble deep in its own territory. The next play, Mace scored from a yard out to give the Thunder a 7-0 lead.
The score stayed there until the final play of the first half. The Plainsmen recovered a fumbled punt return, then went 30 yards on five plays to get in field-goal range. Conner Finnegan was true from 37 yards out as the clock hit zero to make it 7-3 at the half.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 24, EVERGREEN 17
Mtn. View 7 0 3 14–24
Evergreen 0 3 7 7–17
MV — Austin Mace 1 run (Will Warne kick)
Eve — Conner Finnegan 37 FG
Eve — Justice Murphy 10 pass from Brandon Bea (Finnegan kick)
MV — Warne 22 FG
MV — Nolan Biggs 74 pass from Lex Reese (Warne kick)
MV — Carl Falls 1 run (Warne kick)
Eve — Rey Green 50 pass from Bea (Finnegan kick)
RUSHING — Mountain View: Mace 29-173, Falls 11-53, Preston Jones 10-45, Reese 5-30, Nicholas Wright 2(-3). Evergreen: Justin Straup 11-37, Murphy 1-6, Green 1-0, Robert Akil 4-3, Bea 6-(-6).
PASSING — Mountain View: Reese 3-5-0-117. Evergreen: Bea 25-37-1-277.
RECEIVING — Mountain View: Biggs 2-90, Nick Wilmoth 1-27. Evergreen: Murphy 13-135, Brady Weir 7-75, Robert Akil 1-15, Green 4-52.