Forget that Mountain View returned just one starter on offense or defense from last year’s state runner-up. With defending state champion Hamilton in their house, the Toros were ready to play.
Tenth-ranked Mountain View gave top-ranked Hamilton all it could handle in a rematch of last season’s title game Friday night. But the result was the same with the Huskies, led by senior quarterback Travis Dixon, downing the Toros 21-20 to even the series record between the schools at three wins apiece.
It was Mountain View’s first home loss since quarterback Chad Christensen led Desert Mountain to a 29-28 overtime upset of the Toros in the 2000 regular-season finale.
"It’s a great feeling to come in and beat them on their home field," said senior receiver Mekell Wesley, who had eight catches for 74 yards. "That’s a great feeling . . . They were on our mind all summer."
It didn’t seem that way early on as Mountain View’s band of rookies and former backups traded shots with the more experienced champs.
But after Mountain View defensive end Ben Nikolaus sacked Dixon at the close of the second quarter to send the Huskies into the locker room trailing 17-14 in a game many expected them to cruise through, Hamilton’s players seemed to finally realize they were in for a fight.
"We came in as Mr. Big Shots and we got kicked in out butts," Hamilton coach John Wrenn said. "But the kids came back after halftime and they competed in a big way."
Still trailing by three points midway through the third quarter, Dixon led his team on an 11-play, 78-yard scoring drive that provided the Huskies (1-0) with the winning points. Dixon completed all four passes he attempted on the drive including a 16-yard touchdown score to Scott Campos. Dixon had 16 carries for 56 yards and two rushing touchdowns and completed 16-of-18 passes for 167 yards and one score.
The Toros (0-1) responded with a 50-yard drive that culminated in a 38-yard field goal by Ken Golladay. After stopping the Huskies on their next series, Mountain View received the ball at its own 28-yard line with 7:11 remaining.
Junior quarterback Tyler Mack hit Channing Keller for 17 yards on a third-and-12, and the fans nearly spilled onto the field two plays later. Alex DeVito took a handoff up the middle and broke free down the visiting sideline for what appeared to be a goahead 57-yard touchdown run. However, the play was called back on what officials ruled an illegal block away from the play.
After that the wheels came off for Mountain View. The Toros were flagged before the next snap for illegal procedure and then Mountain View coach Tom Joseph was whistled for an unsportsmanlike call for arguing the call that wiped out DeVito’s touchdown run. The penalty buried his team in a second-and-27 situation from which it couldn’t recover.