Full rundown of key moments in Mountain View’s 20-17 win over Kelso

Friday’s night Mountain View-Kelso matchup was such a great game with so many pivotal moments.

But with the thrilling end and the milestone victory for Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson, it’s hard to get all those moments into a game story.

So here is a rundown of key moments from the Thunder’s 20-17 victory in Kelso.

  • Kelso took its opening drive 67 yards on 10 plays to the Mountain View 13 before the drive was ended by Jacob Martin’s interception in the end zone.
  • Mountain View countered with a 11-play, 80-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead on Mitch Johnson’s 1-yard touchdown run. It was set up by JJ Thompson’s 35-yard reception.
  • Kelso countered with a 12-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game 7-7 on Zeke Smith’s 5-yard TD receptions from Hunter Letteer on fourth down.
  • Mountain View responded quickly, going 60 yards on five plays, the last one being Aiden Nicholson’s 44-yard TD reception from Johnson. Mountain View led 13-7.
  • Kelso went 63 yards on nine plays before the Thunder defense stopped the Hilanders on the 6. Mason Smith then hit a 23-yard field goal to make Mountain View 13-10 with 2:22 left in the second.
  • The Thunder then went 72 yards on 12 plays with Johnson scoring from the 1 as time expired in the first half. Mountain View 20, Kelso 10.
  • Mountain View opened the second half with a nice kickoff return by Kyle Chen. The Thunder were at the Kelso 35 when Zeke Smith intercepted a pass at the Kelso 7.
  • After forcing a Kelso punt, Mountain View was driving again, but the Hilanders recovered a Thunder fumble on the Kelso 25.
  • After both teams traded punts, Kelso went 61 yards on six plays with Colby Cooper running in from 13 yards out to make it Mountain View 20-17 with 0:05 left in the third.
  • After Mountain View punted, Kelso drove into Thunder territory. The Hilanders called timeout with 5:01 left. As Kelso lined up for the fourth-and-1 play at the Thunder 20, the officials stopped play before the ball could be snapped, but the clock was inadvertently started. Eight seconds came off down to 4:53. And the time wasn’t put back on the clock. It’s important to remember at the time, both coaches would have wanted the time right as it was unclear to whom it would impact more. If Kelso converts and scores, then those eight seconds are important to Mountain View. This inadvertent clock runoff happens all the time. Sometimes it’s caught and corrected. Sometimes not. This time no one noticed. At least no one of consequence. But I remember thinking at the time “those eight seconds could be important.” When the Hilanders ran the fourth-down play, a mishandled snap helped the Thunder get the stop with 4:48 left.
  • The Thunder went 3-and-out, almost losing the ball on a fumble, and punted back to Kelso at the Kelso 48 with 3:10 to play. On third down, Kyle Chen intercepted a pass at the Mountain View 46 with 2:19 to go.
  • Mountain View again with 3-and-out and punted back to Kelso at the Hilander 25 with 1:10. After a first-down incompletion, Letteer completed passes of 15, 11, 13 and 3 yards to get Kelso to the Thunder 33. Letteer spiked the ball at 33 to stop the clock. There were 16 seconds to play.
  • Letteer completed a 14-yard pass to Cooper, who went out of bounds at the Thunder 19 with 9 seconds to play.
  • This is when my friend Paul Valencia says to me on the sideline “If Kelso gets open in the end zone, Mountain View should just tackle the receiver in the end zone. High school rules. Let them bring out the field goal unit.”
  • To clarify, in the NFL, if there is a pass interference penalty in the end zone, it’s first-and-goal at the 1 for the offense. In high school, however, it’s half the distance to the goal line, replay the down. It’s one of the dumbest, out-of-date rules in high school football. A team should not benefit from breaking the rules.
  • Anyway, Kelso takes a shot in the end zone and the Thunder are flagged for pass interference. It was not intentional. The ball is moved to just inside the 10. Six seconds to play.
  • I have the play on video, and it was interference. The defender makes contact with the receiver early, although I’m not sure the ball would have been caught. Still, early contact will draw the flag. But here is the thing. If you count from the snap, between four and five seconds should have come off the clock. But only three actually did. So Kelso got back two of those lost eight seconds from earlier in the quarter.
  • Kelso came to the line of scrimmage to take another shot at a winning touchdown from the nine. All of Kelso’s lineman became set, then two linemen pop up to look back at the quarterback. The officials called the Hilanders for procedure. Then there was a good three-to-five minute discussion with both coaches about the call, or what should be the call. Kelso coach Steve Amrine argued that his players weren’t set. After a long discussion, Kelso was assessed a five-yard penalty for procedure to just the 14. Amrine sent out the field goal unit. The kick went wide left. Thunder win.
  • One last thought. If five seconds come off the clock on the pass interference play, instead of three, would that have changed Kelso coach Amrine’s decision. If the clock says 0:04 instead of 0:06, does he send out the field goal unit and try a field goal from 26 yards. And if the attempt is five yards closer, is it successful? The attempt from 31 was not very wide of the mark, and the angle from five yards closer in could have made a difference. In fact, the guys who operate the cannon on the opposite of the field fired off a volley thinking the field WAS good. We may never know.

If you want to watch the key plays, here is the YouTube link.

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