Mountain View head coach Clarence “Bam” McRae says he got what he expected in the Mountain Lions’ season opener on Aug. 29 – some jitters, a solid performance from his team leaders, and a win.
The Mountain Lions, with a heavily packed senior lineup, bested their inner-district rival Marana Tigers 51-28 in a charge lead by quarterback Cody Rochon and running back Richie Estrada, who combined for seven touchdowns.
“They’re both special players. They know the game in and out,” said McRae. “Really though, they’re just out there doing their job. Plays are called, and these kids step up.”
Rochon struck first on a 37-yard rushing touchdown to put Mountain View up 7-0 early on, but Marana claimed a 13-7 lead after a 77-yard rushing touchdown by Bradley Gonzales and 76-yard fumble was returned by Travis Howard for the score.
Rochon answered with a 12-yard rushing score to put the Mountain Lions back on top 14-13, and a subsequent field goal extended it to 17-13.
As halftime approached, Estrada came alive, going for a 43 yard score to put the Mountain Lions up 11 heading into the locker room.
But the break in play didn’t cool down Estrada, who would rush for four more touchdowns in the second half.
Along with his five touchdowns, Estrada would finish the game with 285 yards on 30 carries.
Still, Marana kept it close early in the second, scoring first on a 67-yard rush by Gonzales to make it 24-21 in favor of Mountain View.
“When we kept the ball on the ground, we found some success,” said Marana head coach Andy Litten. “Our run game looked good at times.”
Gonzales led that running game with 183 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries.
What hurt the Tigers – aside from their passing game and Estrada’s scoring surge – was fatigue.
“I think we got tired, and when that happened, we kind of forgot what we were doing out there,” said Litten. “They were bigger and able to bring it to us, and we just got a little worn out.”
Estrada took advantage, scoring on rushes of 3, 2, and 34 yards before Marana was able to find the end zone again.
Estrada scored his fourth and final touchdown of the half on a 20-yard rush to put the Mountain Lions up 51-28, where the game would remain.
“Beating Marana is one of those things we are excited about, but at the end of the day, it’s just another football team,” said McRae. “We still have some things to work on as we move forward and face these other teams.”
Mountain View (1-0) next plays at home against Cienega on Sept. 6, while Marana (0-1) plays at home against Rincon on the same date.