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Mountain View edges Kelso in overtime thriller, 35-34

Thunder on brink of 3A GSHL title with sixth straight win

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: October 13, 2023, 11:50pm

KELSO — The Kelso High School homecoming celebration ended with a halftime fireworks display.

That was nothing compared to the show Mountain View and Kelso offered on the football field Friday.

Mountain View stuffed Kelso’s two-point conversion attempt in the first overtime to seal a 35-34 win and all but wrap up the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title.

Tears in his eyes, Mountain View linebacker Ayden Denbo relished a win that had been one year in the making. Last season, Kelso snatched the league title when it beat Mountain View 28-26 after intercepting a pass in the end zone late in that game.

Now the 3A GSHL crown is coming back to Mountain View for the sixth time in eight years. The Thunder can wrap up the league title outright against winless Heritage next week.

“Last year we lost this game in heartbreaking fashion,” Denbo said. “I’ve been thinking about this for 365 days. This means everything.”

Mountain View (6-1, 3-0) has now won six straight games since dropping its season-opener to Nooksack Valley.

“We knew we had to win every single week,” said senior receiver/defensive back Akili Kamau. “Come back to the drawing board and keep working.”

This test was the toughest of them all. Kelso’s Aden Mintonye had a monster game, rushing for 214 yards and five touchdown on 40 carries, giving the large home crowd plenty to cheer about.

But the Thunder rallied each time their back was to the wall.

They overcame an early 14-0 deficit. They went 71 yards in four plays to tie the game with 1:21 to play. They blocked Kelso’s field goal attempt on the final play of regulation.

“We struggled with adversity our first game,” Denbo said. “This time we prevailed.”

Trailing 28-21, Mountain View quarterback Cash Cook found Kamau in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard strike, his third TD pass of the game.

But Kelso (2-5, 1-2) wasn’t about to settle for overtime. Tucker Amrine pump-faked and hit Easton Marshall in stride for a 50-yard pass that put the Hilanders at Mountain View’s 18 yard line.

That set up a 35-yard field goal attempt with six seconds to play. But Mountain View got a solid push from its line and partially blocked the kick, which landed near the goal line.

In overtime, Mountain View went ahead 35-28 when Cook’s sneak on third and one reached the end zone from four yards out.

Kelso responded with Mintonye, who scored from 4 yards.

Instead of kicking an extra point, the Hilanders went for the win. Mintonye couldn’t get past Denbo and interior lineman Xavier Frazier, who combined to stuff the play at the 2-yard line.

“All night he was bouncing around the finding holes that we weren’t filling,” Denbo said. “This time we filled it where it mattered most.”

Kelso put Mountain View in a 14-0 hole thanks to a 99-yard drive, which came after Porter Drake was stopped at the 1 yard line on fourth and goal from the 8. Montoye broke two runs more than 25 yards before finishing the drive with a 4-yard touchdown.

Mountain View answered quickly, going 65 yards in just five plays. Cook was 3 for 3 on the drive, completing a 19-yard touchdown to Ayden Cummings.

Kamau ended Kelso’s next drive with an interception at Mountain View’s 43. Cook then found James Thompson on a seam route for a 29-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14 with 2:47 left in the first half.

Kelso took the opening drive of the second half 65 yards, all on the ground, as Mintonye’s 9-yard run gave the Hilanders a 21-14 lead.

But Mountain View again had an answer. Porter Drake’s 49-yard run brought the Thunder to the 8, where Jaden Brown ran in for a touchdown on the next play.

Drake finished with 223 yards on 22 carries, his fifth straight game over 100 yards rushing.

Kelso converted a 3rd and 20 on the following drive, which ended with a 5-yard touchdown by Mintonye to put the Hilanders ahead 28-21 with 9:32 to play.

Mountain View’s first attempt to pull even ended on a turnover on downs at Kelso’s 17. Cook tried to scramble on fourth and six but was tackled short with 4:45 to play.

But Mountain View’s defense forced a punt, setting up the Thunder’s late tying drive.

So often Mountain View’s mettle was tested on Friday. The Thunder rose to the occasion each time.

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“It starts with our cohesiveness and our bond,” Denbo said. “You see us in school, we’re always laughing and smiling together. We have that on the football field. It translates.”


Mountain View 0 14 7 7 7–35

Kelso 7 7 7 7 6–34

First Quarter

K – Aden Mintonye 4 run (Tate Meade kick)

Second Quarter

K – Mintonye 4 run (Meade kick)

MV – Ayden Cummings 19 pass from Cash Cook (Owen Purvis kick)

MV – James Thompson 29 pass from Cook (Purvis kick)

Third Quarter

K – Mintonye 9 run (Meade kick)

MV – Jaden Brown 9 run (Purvis kick)

Fourth Quarter

K – Mintonye 5 run (Meade kick)

MV – Akili Kamau 10 pass from Cook (Purvis kick)


MV – Cook 4 run (Purvis kick)

K – Mintonye 3 run (run failed)


RUSHING – Mountain View: Porter Drake 22-223, Jaden Brown 9-50, Cash Cook 5-21, James Thompson 2-(minus-4). Kelso: Aden Mintonye 40-214, Tucker Amrine 6-20, Blake Parsons 2-3, Easton Marshall 1-(minus-1).

PASSING – Mountain View: Cash Cook 12-19-1-231. Kelso: Tucker Amrine 7-10-1-150.

RECEIVING – Mountain View: James Thompson 4-130, Ayden Cummings 3-65, Akili Kamau 2-23, Porter Drake 2-13. Kelso: Easton Marshall 4-90, Bryce Collins 1-25, Aden Mintonye 1-19, Logan Hiatt 1-16.