November 20, 2004
It was a tough decision.
Down by three with just more than four minutes remaining in his playoff game against Glendale Mountain Ridge, Mountain View coach Tom Joseph elected to try a 34-yard field goal on a fourth-and-long play instead of going for it.
The choice didn’t pay off, as the Mountain Lions blocked the kick — their third blocked field goal of the game.
On Mountain Ridge’s next play, tailback Nick Bell exploded for a 60-yard run, and the Mountain Lions were able to run out the clock on Mountain View’s season, winning 29-26.
"We thought about it (kicking the field goal); we were trying to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game," said Joseph, who would not allow his players to comment. "It was a good football game and we lost to a good football team. We need to hold our heads up because we had a great year."
The Toros could not come up with an answer for Bell, who gained 277 yards on 30 carries, including touchdown runs of 36, 17 and 1 yard.
"Nick has been unbelievable," Mountain Ridge coach Steve Belles said. "He has far outdone what anybody would have expected of him."
With Bell pounding the ball and a number of impressive throws by quarterback Austin Martin, the Mountain Lions were able to control the ball throughout the evening, putting together a number of long scoring drives and outgaining Mountain View by nearly 200 yards.
Though they didn’t move the ball with quite the consistency of their counterparts, the Toros kept themselves in the game with a number of big plays. After Bell got his team on the board with the 36-yard run in the opening quarter, Mountain View running back Alex DeVito broke a run up the gut nearly untouched for a 67-yard touchdown.
The Toros then took their only lead of the game late in the second quarter when DeVito tossed a 31-yard touchdown to a wide-open Stetson Banks on a halfback option. The defense came up big as well, forcing two fumbles.
But the Toros could not overcome the three blocked kicks coming at the end of hard-fought drives; they had a 43-yarder and another 34-yard attempt stoned in the second quarter.
"I told them that special teams are going to come into play sometime this year and it did," Belles said. "You can’t ask for a bigger play because they got the best kicker in the state over there."
The Mountain Lions, seeded No. 16, will face Phoenix Brophy next week.