High school football: Spanish Fork defense smothers Mountain View

By Ryan Merriman

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 20 2010 11:54 p.m. MDT

OREM — Despite a few new faces and an entire year of football, the result of the Mountain View Bruins' 2010 home opener was eerily similar to their 2009 effort. Last season, the Bruins watched Spanish Fork put up seven touchdowns in a 21-point loss. This year, the Dons smothered Mountain View's offense for the entire first half, grinding out a 30-13 victory despite two turnovers.

"You know, the first game can be a train wreck or you can look OK," Spanish Fork coach Matt Christensen said. "Overall we had a decent performance, but we definitely have a lot of work to do. We did have some turnovers in the red zone that hurt us."

After leading 23-0 through three quarters, Mountain View senior Keegan Black picked off Spanish Fork quarterback Hayden Nielsen and loped 31 yards down the east sideline for what appeared to be the Bruins only score. The Dons responded with a 66-yard, 11-play scoring drive, capped by a 7-yard Austin Stevens touchdown run. Then with only 41 seconds left on the clock, Mountain View quarterback Brandon Bingham hit Black down the west sideline for a 76-yard touchdown reception.

"For the most part, other than that last score, we were able to keep them out of the end zone and make them really work for those long drives," Christensen said. "Our defense was able to just grind it out, eat up some clock, keeping our offense off the field and fresh."

With the exception of two interceptions, the Spanish Fork offense was mechanically efficient. Nielsen completed 15 of 23 passes for 181 yards and rushed for 55 yards on eight attempts. Running backs Christian Taele and PJ Inoke combined for 111 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on 18 attempts. The Dons did not punt until late in the second half.

The Bruins, on the other hand, netted just 27 rushing yards and only 66 passing yards before Keegan's fourth quarter heroics. The first half was particularly dismal. Mountain View had possession for less than six minutes and punted three times. The Bruins put together one promising drive early in the second quarter after Taylor Wach picked off a Nielsen pass near the Mountain View goal line. But a fumbled snap and several incompletions in the red zone led to a failed fourth-down conversion, which the Dons followed up with a 75-yard scoring drive.

The second half was more of the same, as Mountain View drove inside the Spanish Fork 20-yard line on two occasions, only to come up empty handed. In the third quarter the Bruins marched 60 yards to the Spanish Fork 20 before failing to convert on fourth down. A fumbled handoff sputtered another 60-yard drive early in the fourth quarter.

"They made some adjustments to their blocking schemes, and it took us awhile to adjust," Christensen said. "But I thought we were able to make a few adjustments of our own later in the game to take some things away."

The Dons have their home opener next week against Bountiful; Mountain View will head north and play at Logan.

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