NORTHWEST GLENDALE — Running an offensive scheme designed to grind out yards on the ground chunk by chunk, the Mountain View High football team got to open up in the first half against Hoover at Moyse Field on Thursday night.
Sticking to their conservative, but deceptive double wing-T formation, the Vikings averaged more 10 yards per carry in the first half, during which they scored unanswered rushing touchdowns of 55, 41, 26 and seven yards, all while costly penalties and turnovers negated any chance the Tornadoes' offense had of keeping up.
Hoover lost, 34-21, despite controlling the third quarter and outscoring the Vikings, 21-6, in the second half, to fall to 0-3 on the season and 0-10 dating back to the third week of last season when it defeated Mountain View on the road.
"We shouldn't have to just go crazy in the locker room [at halftime] to get them going," said first-year Tornadoes Coach Andrew Policky, whose team trailed, 28-0, at halftime. "I don't understand why we can't come out in the right mindset ready to play football. We just made so many crucial mistakes tonight."
The Tornadoes held Mountain View to a three-and-out to begin the third quarter and responded with a six-minute, 12-play, penalty-free drive that included two fourth-down conversions and ended with a one-yard sneak by quarterback Alex Rangel.
"We were able to move the ball for the first time this season, which was a positive," said Policky, who called running back Luke Tabayoyong's (142 yards in 29 carries) number nine times on the drive. "We were able to run the ball a little bit."
The Tornadoes again kept the Vikings deep in their own territory on the ensuing possession, setting up a blocked punt by Gerardo Frasco and recovery and 11-yard touchdown return by Roney Escobar. A fake extra-point attempt that Rangel, the holder, ran in for two points cut the lead to 28-15 with 11:49 left in the game.
The jubilation was short-lived, as Mountain View's Ignacio Castaneda, who rushed for 157 yards and two scores from scrimmage, returned the Tornadoes' kickoff 90 yards for a score.
"It was a backbreaker," Policky said.
Hoover would mount one more drive deep into Vikings territory, but Tabayoyong lost a fumble, his second of the game, on the Vikings' 10-yard line with 7:12 to play that ended the hope of a comeback, although Hoover would close the scoring with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Rangel to Zach Hanson with under 2:00 left.
"There were definitely some positives tonight," Policky said. "We played much better, aside from the kickoff return."
Often losing sight of the ball carrier amid the Vikings' trickery and misdirection at the line of scrimmage and unable to make crucial tackles in the secondary, Hoover struggled to contain the first-half rushing attack of a Mountain View team that attempted just one pass all night.
Castaneda broke a 41-yard run to the outside and down the right sideline on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage following a Hoover three-and-out for a 7-0 lead at the 10:20 mark of the first quarter.
Jose Zamora, who rushed for 148 yards in 16 carries, made it 14-0 with a 55-yard touchdown at the 8:32 mark of the second quarter — one play after Castanada ran for 42 yards — on a three-play drive that started at the Vikings' own three-yard line.
Hoover, which had 55 yards in penalties and two turnovers, a fumble and interception, in the first half, surrendered a seven-yard scoring run to Zamora with 5:17 left in the second quarter and saw Mountain View go up, 28-0, with 1:02 left on a 26-yard run up the middle by Castanada.
"Defensively, we were about as bad as you can possibly be in the first half," Policky said. "We clamped down a bit in the second half and we played some pretty good football, but it takes so much to get us going."