MERIDIAN — There’s a new king of the Mountains.
It had been four years since Rocky Mountain lost to Mountain View, or any 5A Southern Idaho Conference opponent. But the Mavericks dethroned the defending state champions Friday, beating the Grizzlies 26-20 on their home field.
The Mavericks snapped the Grizzlies’ 29-game winning streak against opponents from the conference, regular season and postseason combined, and got their first win over their rivals since 2017.
“I’ve been here since freshman year, and watching those games — you always come to the varsity games — it was painful,” said senior running back Quintez Evans. “We knew we wanted this one for a long time, so it feels so good right now.”
The win won’t count officially as a conference win, as the two teams are in separate divisions, and the Mavericks acknowledged they will likely see their rivals a second, and maybe even a third time, in either the SIC championship game next month or in the state playoffs. But on Friday night they were happy to come away with a win.
The Mavericks (2-0) captured the Battle of the Mountains trophy, a trophy that the two teams first competed for in 2018. It was a trophy created by the father of a former Mountain View player, so the Mavs were able to take it home for the first time.
Beating the defending state champions also was an added bonus for the Mavericks.
“They, in my opinion are the measuring stick right now in our state, and that’s just based on what they’ve done,” said Mountain View coach Judd Benedick. “They were 32-1 the last three years going into this game, they won at Highland, they won two of the last three state championships. So, if you were going to have a measuring stick, the team to beat, that’s the team.”
Mountain View jumped all over the Grizzlies, scoring the first 19 points and then for the second week in a row, the defense forced a second half shutout.
“The talk in the locker room is we know what we have to do and clean up mistakes from the first half,” said linebacker Brayden Garrison, who knocked down a fourth-down pass at the goal line on the Grizzlies’ last offensive drive. “We’re honestly a family. We spend so much time together, we have such good chemistry and we’ve been playing together since Optimist football. We just know each other and each other’s strengths and we just get it dialed in the second half.”
Mountain View extended the lead to 19-0 in the second quarter when Tyler Halford blocked a Grizzlies field goal attempt and Owen McBride returned it 92 yards for the touchdown. But Rocky Mountain (1-1) still made a game out of it, with two quick scores to cut the lead to one possession.
The Grizzlies kept a red zone drive alive on their next possession after drawing another roughing the passer penalty on third down, and Rocky Mountain took advantage, scoring on a 4-yard pass from Tegan Sweaney to Luke Hanchett.
After a dropped lateral, Rocky Mountain recovered it at the 16-yard line, and two plays later Sweaney and Hanchett connected for their second score in 97 seconds to cut the lead to 19-13.
But Mountain View got down the field thanks to a long pass from Dawson Wahl to Dominic Sotomayer and Evans ran it in for his second score of the game on a 10-yard run to extend the lead to 26-13 going into halftime.
Mountain View was driving on its first possession of the second half, but that ended when Troy Wilkey picked off a Wahl pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. That proved to be the only score by either team in the second half.
After Garrison knocked down Sweaney’s fourth down pass with five minutes left, Evans ran the ball every play of Mountain View’s last drive, minus a couple of quarterback kneels at the end, to run out the clock.
Evans had missed the last couple of Maverick drives with leg cramps.
“I just knew my team needed me,” Evans said. “All of our running backs could have got it done, but I didn’t want to have the feeling in my stomach tomorrow morning.”