LOVELAND — Since the inception of the Zero Week 15 years ago, we have to expect some pretty drab football in August.
But nonetheless, it counts.
Holy Family didn't look mid-season crisp on Friday night at Ray Patterson Field, and nobody in the stands really expected it. But the Tigers effort, especially on the defensive side of the ball against Class 4A Mountain View, was good enough for an impressive 40-19 debut.
"I told the kids, there were a few minor issues, but as far as a Zero Week game goes, I'm pretty content with the way they played," said Holy Family coach Mike Gabriel, whose ninth-ranked Tigers will host Class 3A No. 6 Palisade next Friday night.
The high octane offense that we have come to expect from Holy Family over the years was in full effect and the Tigers did everything the could to keep the Mountain Lions defense guessing.
Their first drive, after a Mountain View three-and-out, was oh-so-Holy Family. In just over two minutes, they went 53 yards — mixing the run and the pass — and scored on a three yard Stone Samaras touchdown run.
"Early in the game we weren't establishing the run, but going into halftime, coach (Matt) Brothers challenged us to open that up," said senior running back Michael Zeman. "Which would really open up the passing game as well."
It certainly did.
A confident Samaras, who made his debut in the final two games for the Tigers last year as a freshman, had plenty of time and was able to dissect a young and inexperienced Mountain Lions secondary that had its hands fulls against the multitude of Tigers targets.
Samaras finished 19 of 30 passing for 290 yards and four touchdowns. He only had three incompletions in the second half.
He spread the ball around too. Kyle Helbig had seven catches, Travis Montoya five and Joey Golter four. Montoya and Golter each had two touchdown receptions.
Still it was just a two score game, 25-11, early in the fourth and Mountain View had a chance to creep even closer. Just outside of the red zone, Holy Family's A.J. Giron made a one-handed interception of Peyton Mayes that turned the tide.
"It was a big one," said Gabriel, who watched Giron cramp up on a Mayes 50-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Greylock in the third quarter. "He needed that to kind of turn things around for us and that was a big moment."
On the ensuing drive, Samaras would connect with Montoya and the life went out of the Mountain Lions.
Zeman finished with 187 yards on 18 carries.
Holy Family 40, Mountain View 19
At Ray Patterson FieldHoly Family (0-0) 8 8 9 15 — 40 Mountain View (0-0) 3 0 8 8 — 19
Holy Family — Stone Samaras 3 run (Michael Zeman pass from Samaras).
Mountain View — FG Ivan Thomas 35.
Holy Family — Joey Golter 47 pass from Samaras (Zeman run).
Holy Family — FG Matteo Lonardo 26.
Mountain View — Jeremiah Greylock 50 pass from Peyton Mayes (Reid Nichols pass from Mayes).
Holy Family — Travis Montoya 12 pass from Samaras (run failed).
Holy Family — Montoya 25 pass from Samaras (Zeman run).
Mountain View — Hunter Kasdorf 27 pass from Mayes (Kasdorf pass from Mayes).
Holy Family — Golter 3 pass from Samaras (Jean-Paul Dalton kick)
RUSHING — Holy Family: Michael Zeman 18-187; Stone Samaras 8-18. Mountain View: Peyton Mayes 13-56, Erik Lobato-Contreras 14-52, Michael Felton 5-15, Cole Spensieri 6-8, Jeremiah Greylock 2-6, Reid Nichols 1-2.
PASSING — Holy Family: Samaras 19-30-0-290. Mountain View: Mayes 17-23-1-223.
RECEIVING — Holy Family: Kyle Helbig 7-93, Travis Montoya 5-85, Joey Golter 4-86, Brodie Wolfe 2-26, Zeman 1-1. Mountain View: Reid Nichols 8-108, Greylock 5-64, Hunter Kasdorf 2-34, Ivan Thomas 2-17.