CAMAS — Mountain View High’s 2022 football season has had its share of ups and downs. But after Monday night’s tiebreaker victory to secure a playoff berth, it’s back on the up, and the Thunder hope to keep it that way.
Mountain View survived a three-way tiebreaker at Doc Harris Stadium that featured Evergreen and Prairie to secure the 3A Greater St. Helens League’s second and final playoff spot into this weekend’s Week 10 state preliminary round. The Thunder (5-4 overall) face Seattle’s Rainier Beach (6-2) at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Game time is expected to be announced Tuesday.
“It feels amazing,” said senior Kyle Chen, who had a touchdown reception against Prairie and an interception versus Evergreen. “We’ve come a long way from that first game and that long road trip (to Class 1A Nooksack Valley). Working through tough losses and some good wins, and came together and came through.”
Mountain View scored on both its possessions against Evergreen, and won the tiebreaker on Owen Purvis’ game-ending 28-yard field goal to send the Thunder into an on-field playoff-clinching celebration.
Evergreen and Prairie’s seasons ended with Monday’s tiebreaker defeats.
Only two 3A GSHL teams are awarded playoff berths this season. Kelso’s 29-22 overtime win last Friday over Evergreen locked the Hilanders in as the league champion, the No. 1 seed, and a home playoff game Saturday.
That left three teams — Evergreen, Mountain View and Prairie — all tied at 2-2 in league and vying for one playoff spot.
The rules for Monday’s three-team tiebreaker were unique. With just one playoff spot left out of the 3A GSHL, the teams competed in a modified format that gave teams two guaranteed possessions starting at the 40-yard line.
The predetermined matchups had Prairie and Mountain View facing off, and the winner getting Evergreen.
Mountain View topped Prairie, 7-0, after the Thunder defense failed to allow the Falcons a first down in either possession and quarterback Mitch Johnson connected with Chen for a 14-yard touchdown strike. Against Evergreen, Johnson’s 5-yard run gave the Thunder a 7-0 lead, and again, it was the defense that came up clutch.
Evergreen faced fourth-and-8 on its opening possession and trailing 7-0 when Chen, playing safety, intercepted quarterback Jayden Crace’s pass attempt. That gave the ball back to Mountain View with the lead, and ran eight plays to get down to the 11-yard line to set up Purvis’ game-winning field goal.
It’s been an up-and-down season for the Thunder, which started with a last-second defeat to 1A Nooksack Valley to open the season, followed by a triple-overtime victory over 2A Ridgefield, then scoring 62 points on 4A Union. It went 2-2 in league, but is turning the page into a new season — the postseason Saturday.
“This feels amazing to be where we are now,” Chen said. … “We’re more of a family. We play more together, we play with more chemistry and love each other more. And that shows on the football field.