Mountain View took "The Nielsen Show" on the road Friday night, traveling to Phoenix South Mountain in a match-up of top-5 teams in their respective 5A divisions.
While the contest looked intriguing on paper, the game on the field turned out to be anything but. The Toros (2-0) dominated from start to finish, taking a 48-0 lead into the half en route to a 67-0 victory.
Mountain View's ground game paved the way, as coach Tom Joseph's squad racked up 495 rushing yards. Toros running back Justin Castillo provided most of the scoring punch, rushing for three touchdowns on 72 yards. Mountain View's key player, however, was junior fullback Ridge Nielsen, who carried 12 times for 247 yards and a score. Alongside Ridge in the backfield was his twin brother, Riley, who was all over the field on both sides of the ball. Riley completed 3 of 4 passes, two for scores, while also adding a touchdown on the ground and intercepting two passes on defense.
Early on, it appeared that South Mountain (1-1) might be able to make a game of it. The Jaguars marched down the field on their opening drive, completing a 55-yard pass on their first play from scrimmage. The drive stalled deep in Toros territory, however, ending on Riley Nielsen's first interception at the Mountain View goal line.
That was as close as South Mountain would get. The Toros quickly proved that their offense was the explosive one, capping off a three-play drive with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Nielsen to senior receiver Jake McGhan, who finished with two catches for 88 yards and a score.
The Jaguars lost some of their steam after the opening drive, and Mountain View kept rolling. The Toros capitalized on four South Mountain turnovers, not including a special teams touchdown resulting from a blocked punt.
Mountain View's defense also played well after allowing a couple of big plays early from the Jaguars' offense. South Mountain was held to 16 total yards in the second half, including minus-4 on the ground.
The Toros’ dominant running game kept their defense off the field for most of the final two quarters, as the Jaguars ran only 19 plays in the second half.