With both football teams out of playoff contention, Mountain View and Los Altos highs played for pride Saturday – and the aptly named Pride Bowl Trophy that passes back and forth between the rivals.
The host Eagles retained the trophy for the second straight year by shellacking the Spartans 35-0 Saturday in non-divisional play.
With elated players and coaches posing with the trophy amid the celebration, it was clear this game – Los Altos’ first win since Sept. 2 – meant something.
“This entire week, everyone’s been just hyped up,” quarterback Rocky Hidalgo said. “It’s definitely been the most anticipated game to play.”
Hidalgo threw a season-best three touchdown passes – two to tight end Vincent Colodny – and halfback Ben Parker rushed for a game-high 184 yards and a TD.
Entering the contest with a 1-6 record and only 23 players, the Eagles exuded a nothing-to-lose attitude from the get-go by starting it off with an onside kick. The Eagles failed to recover the ball, but the play didn’t hurt them.
Taking possession near midfield, the Spartans’ drive foreshadowed the struggles ahead for their offense. They dropped a screen on first down, mustered only 2 yards on a second-down run and quarterback JD Coyne had to throw the ball away under duress on third.
After trading punts with Los Altos, Mountain View put together its best drive of the afternoon by marching to the Eagles’ 35 on eight straight run plays. The Spartans went for it on fourth down, but Los Altos defensive back Brendan Lai tipped Coyne’s pass and it fell incomplete.
“It was inspired defense,” Eagles coach Trevor Pruitt said of his unit, which limited Mountain View to 125 yards of offense Saturday. “Our defensive coordinator put in a great game plan.”
Seven plays later, Los Altos scored the first points of the game as the opening quarter winded down. Hidalgo threw an 11-yard strike to receiver Christian McDermott in the middle of the end zone, with Harry Allen tacking on the extra point.
Mountain View’s next drive ended with a fumble – the first of three the Spartans lost in the game.
“This has been the type of ball that we’ve been playing all year long,” said Mountain View coach Shelley Smith, whose team fell to 3-5. “After the second game of the season, we probably average three to four fumbles a game.”
Los Altos capitalized on all three fumbles Saturday. Recovering the first one at midfield, the Eagles reached the end zone 10 players later. Hidalgo faked an inside handoff and darted across the goal line for a 9-yard touchdown that, after Allen’s PAT, doubled Los Altos’ lead midway through the second quarter.
“We ran that play multiple times on that drive and that (defensive) end kept crashing,” Hidalgo said of his first rushing TD of the year, “so I made the decision to keep it.”
The junior threw for Los Altos’ next touchdown, which came shortly after Mountain View fumbled away the ball on its ensuing possession. Hidalgo lofted a pass to Colodny, who outjumped two defenders to snare the ball in the end zone for a 6-yard score. Allen’s extra point pushed the Eagles’ advantage to 21-0 with 4:52 left in the half.
Hidalgo and Colodny hooked up for another touchdown late in the third quarter – a play they successfully ran twice in a row. A penalty wiped out Hidalgo’s 9-yard toss to Colodny in the right side of the end zone, but his 14-yarder to almost the same spot counted.
“When we get to the point where we’re in the red zone, just toss it up and he’ll make the catch every time,” Pruitt said of senior Colodny.
Los Altos’ other touchdown came earlier in the third quarter on a long run by Parker. The junior, looking for first-down yardage on a fourth-and-3 play, broke loose for a 27-yard TD on a dash to the left.
“Our blocking and tackling were horrendous today,” Smith said. “We got totally outplayed.”
The Spartans are scheduled to host Lynbrook 7 p.m. Friday, while the Eagles visit Palo Alto at the same time.