Mountain View Thunder take down Kelso 20-17
Adam Mathieson hit a career milestone Friday night in Kelso, win No. 100 in his career.
In typical Mathieson fashion, he said his Mountain View Thunder managed to win even with his flawed play calls from the sideline.
“The kids did a great job because I didn’t help them a lot,” he said.
The man never wants the credit.
Still, 100 wins is 100 wins. Must be doing something right.
“When you do reflect, and every coach would say this, and I think every coach means this, it really is not about me at all,” Mathieson said. “Everything to do with 14 years of players, assistant coaches, boosters, administrators. It’s a wonderful program to be a part of.”
He said the 91 wins at Mountain View (to go along with the nine wins in his one season as head coach at Ferndale) are a reflection of all of those around him, working together.
“We talk about this all the time. Jersey No. 2 doesn’t belong to Akili (Kamau), the head coach position doesn’t belong to me. We’re placeholders, and we try to do the best job we can,” Mathieson said. “Some day, Akili won’t be wearing No. 2, and some day, I won’t be the head coach, and hopefully we left the program better than maybe it was before.”
Mountain View quarterback Mitch Johnson was thrilled to be the signal caller for Mathieson’s 100th win.
“I’ve been watching him since I was a little kid. Being under his belt, learning his knowledge … I’m just so proud,” Johnson said. “He’s a great guy.”
Mathieson was more impressed with his team’s performance than any milestone victory of his.
“It’s hard to win in Kelso. We had to do it twice in 2021,” he said, referring to the 2021 abbreviated winter/spring schedule.
The Thunder scored three first-half touchdowns against a defense that had not given up any touchdowns, excluding late-game blowout situations this season. Then it was the Mountain View defense getting the job done in the second half to hold on to that lead for the three-point win.
“The kids did a tremendous job. That’s quality 48 minutes of football for both programs,” Mathieson said. “They are who we thought they were. The good news is we think we’re a good team, too. We didn’t know. But now I think I know.”
Key second-half plays for Mountain View
Kelso ended up with 181 yards of offense in the second half, holding Mountain View to just 35 yards. But Kelso could only manage one touchdown with all of those yards. Mountain View had the bend-but-not-break philosophy.
With just less than five minutes to play and holding that 20-17 lead, the Mountain View defense stuffed Kelso, going for it on a fourth-and-1.
Kelso got the ball back with 3 minutes to play, but Kyle Chen intercepted a Kelso pass.
Once again, Kelso got the ball back. With a little more than a minute to play, Kelso got into field-goal range but was wide left on a 31-yard attempt with two seconds to play.
Kelso had scored 46, 35, and 33 points in its previous three games.
“Our defense stepped up, and we took the W today,” said Mountain View defensive lineman Jose Garcia. “There was a lot of emotion in this. Our team just outplayed them today, but it was a fight.”
“Our defense, honestly, I never doubt those boys,” Johnson said. “I love them. I believe in them. They played a great game.”
Mountain View offense got it done in first half
The Mountain View offense was perfect in the first half, though.
Three possessions, 217 yards of offense, and three touchdowns.
Jacob Martin got the Thunder going in the right direction by intercepting a Kelso pass in the end zone, setting up the Thunder’s first possession of the game. From there, the Mountain View offense went 80 yards on 11 plays. Johnson scored on a 1-yard QB sneak, one play after he found JJ Thompson on a 35-yard pass-and-run.
Kelso tied it up with a long touchdown drive.
Mountain View was right back in the lead, though, just five plays later.
Johnson hit Aiden Nicholson with a pass. The tight end was doing a crossing pattern just a few yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He caught the ball, turned upfield, and no one was there. It turned into a 44-yard touchdown for a 13-7 lead.
Kelso’s turn to respond. The Hilanders used 11 plays but instead of a touchdown they settled for a short field goal with 2:37 to go in the half.
Mountain View then came up with an amazing 2-minute drill, taking literally every second and scoring a touchdown on the final play of the first half.
Johnson found Nicholson on a 15-yard pass to the Kelso 13-yard line with 13 seconds to play. Then Johnson scrambled to the 1-yard line. No timeouts left, but the first down temporarily stopped the clock. Johnson and the Mountain View offense calmly got to the line, snapped the ball, and spiked it with one second left, setting up a final play.
“We practice it 100 times. Preparation is everything for this program,” Johnson said. “Coach Mathieson is a big fan of preparation. Come out here and compete but let the preparation do the work.”
It was a quick decision to go for the touchdown.
“That drive was big,” Mathieson said. “I felt we were at the 1-yard line … you’re in Kelso, big game, why kick the field goal there? Let’s go for it.”
Johnson snuck it in the end zone behind a solid push from the offensive line, giving Mountain View a 20-10 lead at the half.
What it means
Mountain View improved to 4-1 overall, 2-0 in the 3A GSHL and is in the driver’s seat. The Thunder still have Prairie and Evergreen in league play. So nothing has been determined. Still, a win over Kelso is huge. The top two teams from the five-team 3A GSHL will advance to Week 10’s state preliminary round playoffs.