If Burt Reynolds ever decides to do a remake of his '70s football film classic "The Longest Yard," he might want to turn to the Mountain View Bruins for some advice.
It was indeed the longest yard, or more accurately about 18 inches, that kept the hard-luck Bruins from pulling off a huge comeback Friday night before losing to a tough Brighton squad 35-34. Long before Mountain View quarterback Casey Rhrer was stopped as he headed for the goal line and a potential game-winning two-point conversion, it looked like the Bengals had this game well in hand. But Mountain View never gave up.Brighton took a 21-0 lead on touchdown runs of two and 17 yards by Donnie Saba, and a three-yard run by quarterback C.T. Bell, back at the Bengals' helm after missing a game with a shoulder separation. He made his presence felt early and often, guiding the host Bengals to a dominating first quarter and half.
Mountain View began finding its offense at that point. Rhrer led the Bruins on an 83-yard drive, culminating on his seven-yard TD run just before the half.
But the Bengals moved to a 28-7 advantage with just over four minutes left in the third quarter. Bell, Saba and company marched 97 yards in just nine plays, the key play a 33-yard completion from Bell to Saba, with the latter scoring from the four. Mountain View struck right back, as on first down, Rhrer hit Josh Fairbanks for 65 yards to the Bengal 15, and two plays later Clint Duncan dove in for the score.
As the fourth quarter began, Rhrer drove the 'Dogs again, this time finding Jeremy Gillespie open for a 10-yard TD with 9:40 to go. That cut Brighton's lead to 28-21.
Bell then assembled an 80-yard, 15-play drive, the crucial call appearing to be on fourth-and-inches near midfield. Brighton coach Steve Dangerfield chose to go for it, and Bell dove a yard for the first down. He ran 25 yards on the next play, and found Peter Gloeckner in the back of the endzone for a 10-yard TD pass that made it 35-21 with just under three minutes to go.
Mountain View responded quickly, moving 80 yards in two minutes. Rhrer completed four of seven passes in the drive, finally hitting Duncan again with a seven-yard TD toss. Macky Henderson made the PAT, then set up for an onsides kick, which the Bruins recovered with 48 seconds left.
That's when things really got crazy.
Rhrer threw 22 yards to Duncan, ran for four, then watched as Mountain View was flagged for offensive pass interference. From the Bengal 38, he hit Duncan again for 22 yards, tossed a short three-yard completion to Duncan, and then as time expired, threw to Gillespie at the goal line. The pass was knocked away from him but into the waiting arms of Dave Gaffney, making it 35-34 with no time left.
The Bruins went for the win, Rhrer sprinting hard to his left and heading for the corner before being knocked out of bounds at the one foot line.
The game was an offensive showcase, with Brighton amassing nearly 500 yards of offense, including 318 rushing. Mountain View also piled up big numbers, as Rhrer threw for 342 yards and the Bruins gained 136 on the ground.