The 2022 Mountain View Thunder arrived on Friday night, and they did it with a bang.
Junior Aiden Nicholson had a monster game — pulling in nine catches for 254 yards and five touchdowns — as the Thunder rolled over rival Union 62-35 in a wild game at McKenzie Stadium.
“I told my coach at the beginning of the game (that) I saw their safeties were playing up so much and I was like ‘we can just take a shot on them,'” Nicholson said. “And then I was … I have the best hands on the team. I have to say that.”
Nicholson had two touchdown passes in the first quarter as the Thunder jumped out to an early 14-0 lead.
He had a 58-yard touchdown reception in the second and set up another score with a 45-yard catch. He capped his night with touchdown catches of 26 and 70 yards in the fourth quarter as the Thunder sealed the win.
“I can’t say enough good things about Nichol,” said senior quarterback Mitch Johnson, who threw for 388 yards and seven touchdowns. “He’s a great kid. He’s a great ballplayer obviously. He’s a big kid. He’s lengthy. He’s got speed. He can really just create anything on his own, and that’s just what we love to see.”
After Union came up with big plays of its own to close within 35-28, the defense stepped up big in the second half, allowing the Thunder to open a 48-28 lead on consecutive touchdown passes to Jacob Martin.
“Everybody for 48 minutes was just playing their hearts out, man,” Johnson said. “We’re just clicking. That’s something we’ve been trying to work on, trying to get going for this season. And we really got it going tonight.”
After falling to 1A Nooksack Valley in Week 1 and scrambling pull over an overtime win over Ridgefield last week, a big win over the rival Titans was exactly what the Thunder need, coach Adam Mathieson said.
“We challenged (the players) all week, and I didn’t know if we were pushing the right buttons on not to be honest,” Mathieson said. “I thought that at this point in the season — Week 3, 4, 5 — you start to become who you are. So either we are going to become who we think we are, or we’re going to be in neutral a little bit. And they responded and played hard.”
Nicholson echoed his coach’s sentiments about the entire team’s intensity on Friday.
“This is the most energy I’ve had in a game in a while,” Nicholson said. “I had the most fun. Just beating Union was just the prize of its own.”
As Union (0-3) seeks its first win the year next week against Prairie, the Thunder (2-1) will look to keep that intensity up as it heads into a Week 4 matchup on the road at Hanford.
“Just up, just up from here,” Nicholson said on where the Thunder go after Friday’s win. “We have to do our jobs every single game. Be focused in practice, be focused in the games. Just lock in.”
They were on Friday.
- Mountain View quarterback Mitch Johnson was 26-of-36-passing for 388 yards and seven touchdowns. He also rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown.
- Union’s AJ Attaran caught six passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Mountain View linebacker Ayden Denbo came up with a key interception and return in the first quarter, setting up the Thunder’s first touchdown.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 62, UNION 35
Union 7 21 7 0—35
Mt. View 14 21 13 14—62
MV — Aiden Nicholson 6 pass from Mitch Johnson (Owen Purvis kick)
MV — Nicholson 16 pqss from Johnson (Purvis kick)
U — Caden Drobinski 67 pass from Tyler Fuehrer (Jacob Hall kick)
MV — Kedyn Bolds 2 run (Purvis kick)
U — Attaran 65 pass from Fuehrer (Hall kick)
MV — Nicholson 58 pass from Johnson (Purvis kick)
U — Fuehrer 1 run (Hall kick)
MV — Johnson 2 run (Purvis kick)
U — Cody Zehner 6 run (Hall kick)
MV — Jacob Martin 10 pass from Johnson (Purvis kick)
MV — Martin 17 pass from Johnson (kick failed)
U — Fuehrer 20 run (Hall kick)
MV — Nicholson 26 pass from Johnson (Purvis kick)
MV — Nicholson 70 pass from Johnson (Purvis kick)
RUSHING — Union: Clayton Maus 11-60, Tyson Fuehrer 12-50, Luke Burbank 6-52, Cody Zehner 10-31. Mountain View: Porter Drake 12-69, Mitch Johnson 11-56, Kyle Chen 1-31, JJ Thompson 1-12, Kedyn Bolds 3-7.
PASSING — Union: Tyson Fuehrer 18-30-1-273; Cody Zehner 1-1-0-13. Mountain View: Mitch Johnson 26-36-1-388.
RECEIVING — Union: AJ Attaran 6-156, Chase Lofton 6-44, Toby Smoot 4-20, Clayton Maus 1-2, Caden Drobinski 2-64. Mountain View: Aiden Nicholson 9-254, Jacob Martin 6-66, Kyle Chen 8-61, Akili Kamau 1-3, Porter Drake 1-3, JJ Thompson 1-1.