Adam Mathieson still calls Mountain View’s 34-28 win over Columbia River nine years ago as one of the favorite games he’s been a part of in more than two decades coaching high school football.
Not only for the ending — a one-score Thunder victory that secured a home playoff game — but how they got there.
The win, as Mathieson reflects, remains brought to you by dozens of fast-food hamburgers, a case of soda, a 14-hour halftime, and a play created at 4 a.m.
That’s what happens when the “halftime” on Oct. 28, 2011, at McKenzie Stadium was caused by a power outage. The game resumed at noon the following day on what was the Thunder’s Homecoming.
“If we (finished the game) that night, I’m not sure we could’ve slowed them down,” Mathieson said.
Original game story
A lot was a stake for both teams. River needed a win to force a league tiebreaker while a Thunder victory meant a home playoff game. River had all the momentum as the second quarter expired leading 21-20. It scored two touchdowns to end the first half after Mountain View led 20-7.
But things went pitch black at the stadium when the teams retook the field for warmups.
Later, it was discovered a possum found its way inside a stadium electrical box.
Mathieson, like he is today, was Mountain View’s head coach and athletic director at the time. He was also the highest-ranking administrator on site, putting more pressure to find a solution.
After deliberation, the game resumed the next day back at McKenzie with River leading 21-20.
The game still is one for the ages, said Ken Wiggins, River’s defensive coordinator at the time who is now on Skyview’s coaching staff. He and Mathieson still reminisce about it, he said.
“The lights proved to be in their favor,” Wiggins said.
Both coaching staffs dissected film into the wee morning hours. But first, Mathieson and his staff stopped off to purchase 40 fast-food burgers, and cases of soda to hunker down for the night.
“My staff thought I was crazy,” Mathieson said.
But it worked.
At 4 a.m., the staff created a new play off a previously-ran scheme. To this day, that play — Wing Right 126 Down Pass Y-Post — for the go-ahead third-quarter touchdown never made the playbook.
It was a 36-yard strike over the middle by quarterback Riley O’Dell on a post route to Corey Creagan that gave the Thunder the lead for good. An interception return for a touchdown by Chavo Camargo capped two Mountain View scores over six minutes to open the third quarter.
“That next day,” Wiggins recalled, “they were able to slow us down. … Once they capitalized on the plays, it put them back into their offensive game plan.”
Mountain View won its Week 10 home playoff game the following week, then lost to Lakes in the first round of state. But the 2011 regular-season finale at McKenzie Stadium remains seared in Mathieson’s memory for more than the final score.
“If we all had 14-hour halftimes,” Mathieson said, “we’d all be better coaches.
“We couldn’t have done that without 14 hours, 40 junior-bacon cheeseburgers and several Diet Cokes.”