In a moment, everything can transform.
Football coaches love to talk about consistency and sustaining drives, but when it comes right down to it, a single gash can truly alter a result. They're called game-changing plays for a reason.
SIlver Creek produced more than Mountain View and that's why they left Patterson Stadium with a 45-33 victory.
"Yeah, there were a couple points in the game where if we would've been able to execute or make some stops, it's a whole different story," MVHS coach Bart Mayes said. "You saw the momentum swings. Hats off to (Silver Creek). They made the plays when they had to."
Long touchdowns were the theme of the evening for the Raptors, punching them home in all phases of the game to maintain a comfortable lead in what at times didn't necessarily feel like a comfortable contest.
Silver Creek scored on a 48-yard punt return and 98-yard kickoff return to go with a 52-yard pass from senior quarterback Collin Black and 154 yards on the ground from running back Andreik Knechtel.
The Lions recovered from a poor opening half to make the night interesting thanks to critical moments of their own, mostly generated from defensive back Josiah Baptisa, who blocked a punt, recovered another on a poor snap and intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Yet for all the good he and the defense provided in the second half, it was of no difference in the end.
"Those big plays were definitely the difference," Baptista said. "Just those two special teams returns were 14 points. The defense gave up 14 points in the first half because we started out slow. The second half we had energy and came back, but we have to come out at the beginning of the game full speed and ready to go."
Silver Creek (2-0) wasted little time, bursting out on its opening series with a heavy dose of Knechtel, who slammed the ball 24 yards on his initial carry before capping of the drive on an 8-yard touchdown run for a quick 6-0 advantage.
For as painful as surrendering an opening-drive score was for the Mountain View defense, it was nothing compared to the Raptors' second touchdown.
Stalled on fourth down at its own 48, Silver Creek elected to go for it. Black aired out a deep sideline ball, floating into the waiting arms of wideout Joe Roth-Bogrett, who scampered the rest for a 52-yard TD bomb.
Just when it looked as if Lions' defense had settled in, they were left staring blankly at a 14-0 deficit.
"We have to get better at sustaining things, because I don't want to rely on the big play, but at the same time, I thought we executed those plays well," SCHS coach Mike Apodaca said. "They were like Hail Mary type of shots; they were well-run plays that we did. I'll take that."
Offensively, it was a constant struggle for Mountain View (1-2), especially on the ground against a stiff Raptor front. The Lions were repeatedly stuffed for short gains and held scoreless on their opening four possessions.
Baptista sparked Mountain View with a special teams highlight, zipping off the edge to block a punt far back into SCHS territory. Set up with a short field, the Lions capitalized on the final 22 yards when running back Chad Baumann bullied his way around the edge for a 6-yard touchdown, cutting the lead down to 21-7 in the second quarter.
However, any good vibes on the Mountain View sideline were short lived thanks to another game-breaking play. After penalties killed a MVHS drive, senior TJ Blazon sliced down the field to house a 48-yard punt return.
When the Lions finally got the game with two possessions on touchdown pass, Silver Creek's Brandon Harper busted the 98-yard TD return as the Raptors coasted home from there.
"It felt great since it was my first punt return to take it back," Blazon said. "Those big plays felt great. We just kept our focus when the times got hard and we did great. Everyone came together to create those."
Raptors 45, Mountain Lions 33
At Patterson StadiumSilver Creek (2-0)622710—45Mountain View (1-2)07188—33
SCHS — Andreik Knechtel 8-yard run, 9:33 (conversion failed).
SCHS — Joe Roth-Bogrett 52-yard pass from Collin Black, 11:04 (2-pt conversion good).
SCHS — Knechtel 1-yard run, 9:34 (Coltan Grabau kick).
MVHS — Chad Baumann 6-yard run, 4:41 (Kamden Carwin kick).
SCHS — TJ Blazon 48-yard punt return, 1:14 (Grabau kick).
MVHS — Peyton Mayes 1-yard run, 3:46 (conversion failed).
MVHS — Cole Spensieri 3-yard run, 2:36 (2-pt conversion failed).
SCHS — Brandon Harper 98-yard kickoff return, 2:20 (Grabau kick).
MVHS — Haden Marr 8-yard pass from Mayes, 0:02 (2-pt conversion failed).
SCHS — Blazon 13-yard run, 8:59 (Grabau kick).
SCHS — Grabau 42-yard field goal, 3:41.
MVHS — Baumann 15-yard pass from Mayes, 0:31 (2-pt conversion good).