LONGMONT — Considering where the Niwot football program was one year ago, Friday night wasn't so bad.
Last year it would have just been another loss. But the Cougars' 42-22 initial setback of the season to Mountain View at Everly-Montgomery Field will only serve as motivation to improve on what has been a remarkable turnaround.
"We will get back to work on Monday and you know, Skyline is another big game," said Niwot coach Dylan Hollingsworth. "At the end of the day, I'm super proud of our kids, because we are so much further than we were a year ago or even two years ago.
"We are competitive and that is what I am preaching to the kids. They have worked hard and they are playing well."
It was a quick start for the Cougars on homecoming night. On their first two possessions of the night, they would have made former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Hank Stram proud with the way the matriculated the ball down the field.
Senior quarterback Trae Gomez threw a touchdown pass to Adam Barber and ran another one in from seven yards out and after the first 12 minutes, Niwot was up 14-7 and were doing what they wanted offensively against a young Mountain Lions defense.
After they got their first defensive stop early in the second quarter, Niwot had a chance to extend their lead to two scores. But Gomez fumbled and the Mountain Lions pounced.
After tying the game on Reid Nichols second touchdown reception of the game, it happened again to Gomez, was stripped from behind.
"We were our own worst enemy," Hollingsworth said. "A couple of big turnovers and that was 14 points for them and that was it and then we are playing catch-up the rest of the night."
Mountain View (2-2) started to wear down the Cougars up front and established their running game with Tommy Hochheimer. The senior finished with 188 yards on 24 carries, highlighted by a 54-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that made it a 35-14 game.
"When you have a lot of kids going both way and a couple of kids banged up, that's a part of not having 120 kids on your team," Hollingsworth said.
The Cougars were able to do some things in the passing game and both Alex Oelsner and Barber were the beneficiaries of that. The tandem caught 11 passes for a combined 128 yards and Barber had the one score.
Niwot will have another stern test next Friday night at home against Skyline .
Mountain View 42, Niwot 22
At Everly Montgomery FieldMountain View (2-2) 7 14 14 7 — 42
Niwot — Adam Barber 10 pass from Trae Gomez (James Lerner kick).
Mountain View — Reid Nichols 3 pass from Payton Mayes (Ivan Thomas kick).
Niwot — Gomez 7 run (Lerner kick).
Mountain View — Nichols 8 pass from Mayes (Thomas kick).
Mountain View — Jeremiah Greylock 26 pass from Mayes (Thomas kick).
Mountain View — Erik Contreras 18 run (Thomas kick).
Mountain View — Tommy Hochheimer 54 run (Thomas kick).
Niwot — Safety, Zach Kinnison tackles Mayes in end zone.
Niwot — Jeremy Hollingsworth 22 run (run failed).
-Mountain View — Contreras 23 run (Thomas kick).
RUSHING — Mountain View: Tommy Hochheimer 24-188, Erik Contreras 7-66, Peyton Mayes 5-7, Reid Nichols 1-4, Jeremiah Greylock 1-1. Niwot: Jeremy Hollingsworth 17-108, Trae Gomez 13-83, Chris Jensen 5-61, Matt Baun 3-31, Anton Sandoval 1-7, Alex Oelsner 1-(minus 3)
PASSING — Mountain View: Mayes 12-18-0-133. Niwot: Gomez 13-25-2-171, Baun 4-9-0-30.
RECEIVING — Mountain View: Nichols 5-24, Ivan Thomas 4-53, Greylock 3-56. Niwot: Oelsner 7-82, Adam Barber 4-46, Matt Nielsen 2-43, Hollingsworth 2-18, Jensen 1-7, Sandoval 1-3.