The Mountain View High School football program will be looking to return to the Division II playoffs under second-year coach Clarence “Bam” McRae, who turned what was a struggling program into a legitimate threat in 2012. Prior to last season, the Mountain Lions’ last playoff appearance was 2008.
The Mountain Lions finished the regular season with a 7-3 record, and then upset Cienega High School in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Salpointe Catholic High School 35-7 in the quarterfinals.
The recipe for success, says McRae, was not dwelling on winning games, but instead on ensuring the proper execution in each of the victories.
“As a coach, I focus on all the little things,” said McRae. “We are crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s. That’s what it’s about in our program. It’s not about the football game. It’s about being perfect in everything we do in that game and not making mistakes.”
As successful as the season was compared to years past, McRae says there are areas to be improved upon this year.
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “We did a good job rallying, the team did a good job learning the things the coaching staff was teaching. We were successful, but we didn’t accomplish some of those things we wanted to accomplish.”
In the simplest sense, McRae is referring to capturing a state title – something he believes his team this year will be more than capable of capturing.
“This year we need to make sure we don’t come up short,” said McRae. “We are competing for state titles at Mountain View, and that’s something we think about everyday. We have the talent to do it, now it’s time to get the kids to focus on that and go live that dream.”
Mountain View’s veteran team could prove to be an even bigger thorn in the side of its opponents this year than it was in 2012, with returning running back Richie Estrada likely leading the way for what is a very seasoned roster.
The 5-foot, 10-inch, 190-pounder will be one of 19 seniors making up the Mountain Lion lineup, which also contains seven juniors and a sole sophomore.
Also returning is quarterback Cody Rochon, also in his senior year, along with linebacker Corbin Gouby, who McRae calls “the best linebacker in the city.”
Other Mountain Lions have just as much potential to shine this season.
“There are eight to nine kids on our team which could prove to be the next superstars,” said McRae.
In their season opener, the Mountain Lions will visit their inner-district rival Marana Tigers on Aug. 29.