One of Arizona’s most storied high school football programs took the field Friday night against a school that went 0-10 last season and has had a hard time finding success.
Final score: 43-7.
But the scoreboard was anything but predictable Friday as it was unheralded Desert Mountain that came away with the victory, shocking Mountain View in the season opener for both schools.
“It’s great to turn it around around here,” Desert Mountain quarterback Kyle Allen said after the home victory. “Not a lot of people had faith in us this year. It felt awesome to win this game.”
Mountain View, which has eight state championships in its history, is feeling something entirely different right now. The Toros fired coach Tom Joseph after going 5-6 last season – the first losing season in school history – and replaced him with Chad DeGrenier.
But DeGrenier, charged with rebuilding the school’s once-proud tradition, has a long way to go to win over the Toro Nation if Friday’s drubbing is any indication of where the program is headed.
The Wolves scored 23 points in the final 5:02 of the first half to break the game open. Leading 7-0, Allen found Mark Andrews for the first of his two touchdown catches. Andrews reeled in the pass at the 10-yard line and bumped off a defender en route to the end zone for a 30-yard TD and a 14-0 Wolves’ lead.
Allen and Andrews hooked up again on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 2:32 left in the half. Andrews got a step on his defender and made a nifty catch to put Desert Mountain up 21-0.
“Their defense gave a lot of openings,” Allen said, “Mark got open a lot and he’s just so tall it’s easy to throw to him.”
The Wolves’ defense also got involved as Jacob McAdams forced a fumble and Matt Foley returned it 11 yards for a touchdown two plays later. The extra point was botched and the Wolves held a 27-0 edge.
“Sometimes you make your own breaks and we did that. Playing hard tonight, we created our own luck,” Tabor said, “Things just bounced our way.”
Following a McAdams interception of Toros quarterback Chase Funk, the Wolves were able to get a 39-yard field goal from Foley on the final play of the first half for a 30-0 lead.
It went from bad to worse for the Toros to open the second half. They tried an onside kick and Desert Mountain’s Alec Waltman returned it 55 yards for a touchdown and a 37-0 lead.
“It was a great play by Waltman on the onside kick,” Tabor said. “He played it perfectly.”
Foley added a 46-yard field goal late in the third quarter to make it 40-0 and a second 46-yard bomb to stretch the lead to 43-0 with 1:11 to play.
“He’s a great kicker and we think our kicking game is going to be pretty good this year,” Tabor said.
Jake Thomas scored on a 4-yard touchdown run for the Toros with 31 seconds left to avert the shutout.
“Defense and special teams really picked us up tonight,” Allen said, “We didn’t score an offensive touchdown in the second half.”
The win was a long time coming for the Wolves. Desert Mountain went 0-10 last year and scored a total of 88 points all season.
“It’s been 295 days since the last time we played a game. It had been almost two years since we won a game,” Tabor said, “That was the Chaparral game (a 50-0 loss) which wasn’t much of a ballgame. When we got beat, it completely changed our train of thinking.”