After undefeated Mountain View High School edged out 5A Southern region foe Sahuaro 20-17 in a dramatic contest Friday night, students danced and partied in celebration for hours. It was homecoming, after all.
Sahuaro (5-1) had been unbeaten coming into Mountain View (6-0). The Lions somehow managed to come out on top of this toughly fought game, but not even head coach Wayne Jones is sure how they managed to do so.
"I don't know how we won this game," Jones said. "We kept playing hard, though, and walked away with a win."
After the first quarter saw zeros on the scoreboard, Sahuaro jumped out ahead in the second after recovering a fumble by senior quarterback Eddie Arizmendi and scampering 17 yards for the first score of the game. However, the extra point attempt was no good and the score was 6-0.
The Mountain Lions responded with a fumble recovery of their own shortly thereafter deep in Sahuaro territory. Three plays later, Arizmendi scored on a one yard keeper and after the PAT, Mountain View led 7-6 going into halftime.
After a blocked punt early in the second half, Cougars running back Nazeer Norwood ran it in from 11 yards out to put Sahuaro up 14-7 after the two-point conversion.
Mountain View managed to pull within 17-13 after another Arizmendi one-yard touchdown run. But it was a 55-yard rush for the end zone provided by senior running back Jamal Brown to close out the third quarter that put the Lions ahead for good, 20-17.
Arizmendi led the ground attack for Mountain View, gaining 139 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, while Brown and fellow senior back Nate Shirley heavily contributed to the Lions' total of 337 rushing yards. Mountain View dominated Sahuaro statistically, compiling 403 total yards of offense to the Cougars' 166.
"The defense won it for us tonight," remarked Arizmendi, "and Nate and Jamal made some big plays also."
Mountain View used a similar plan with similar results last year when the two schools met. Shirley and Arizmendi both rushed for over 100 yards in that matchup with the Lions winning 19-14.