With one minute left in the game, the Matadors had an opportunity to tie the score at 14 and fittingly end an amazing homecoming week. Two incomplete passes later, the football team faced a crucial third down deep within their own territory. 95 yards was what the Matadors needed to score a touchdown. Within seconds, to the crowd’s disbelief, quarterback senior Golan Gingold found himself in the end zone — his own end zone. Faculty, students and parents in the MVHS a stands fell silent, while the away bleachers roared with excitement and elation.
Hoping for a miracle, the Matadors came back out onto the field ready to attempt an onside kick. The attempt failed and so did Monta Vista’s last chance at a comeback — the Matadors lost 16-7 at the hands of the Mountain View Spartans for their homecoming game on Oct. 16.
The game got off to a slow start, particularly on offense due to the rigidness displayed by both defenses.
“They had us well scouted, and we had them well scouted,” head coach Jeff Mueller said after the game. “It was just a good defensive, tough football game.”
The defenses for both teams were dominant for much of the first half. Line penetration and secondary play was key for keeping the Matadors in the game early on.
Right when it seemed like both teams would enter halftime in a scoreless deadlock, the Spartans’ quarterback junior Owen Mountford connected on a deep pass with senior Felipe Silveria for a 62 yard score. The score was 7-0 in favor of the Spartans.
During halftime, homecoming festivities commenced. From the presentation of homecoming royalty to the dance team’s halftime performance, the entertainment brought about a new sense of energy within the crowd. Not to mention, the announcement of the hugely anticipated homecoming rally results sparked huge commotion of its own.
While halftime was filled with elation and excitement, the start of the second half was anything but exciting for the Matadors. Less than five minutes in, the Matadors made another mistake. Gingold overthrew a pass intended for sophomore Hadi Hamwi that fell right into the hands of Spartans’ Silveria. With the ball in his hands, Silveria evaded all of the Mats offense on his way to a 60 yard touchdown, his second of the night.
Down 14-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Matadors found themselves stuck in a deep hole. Trying to jumpstart the offense, MVHS began to lean heavily towards its passing game. The change in offensive approach benefited the team as they started driving deep into the Spartans territory midway through the fourth quarter. Yet, all the success was for nothing, as the Mats ended the possession with a fumble.
However, within two minutes, the Matadors got the ball back, looking to redeem themselves from the misfortunes on the last drive. After the game, Mueller said that the team entered its two minute offense during the latter stages of the game. The offense became largely pass oriented.
That was when senior Ryan Granzella entered center stage and took the game quite literally into his own hands.
“They were double covering and we still had to throw to [Granzella] over the middle and that was probably the diamond in the rough right there,” Gingold said.
Pass after pass was going straight to one person and that was Granzella. In the end it was only fitting that Granzella ended the drive with a 50 yard receiving touchdown.
“Golan made a good call,” Granzella said. “Once I got the ball I kind of just ran the rest of the way to the end zone.”
At that point the deficit was seven for MVHS with around three minutes remaining. The team’s sturdy defense forced a Spartan three and out, which gave the offense one last chance to tie the game up and send it into overtime. That chance was a very slim one. One that lasted three downs, 20 seconds and ended in a safety.
On Friday Oct. 23, the Matadors get another chance to redeem themselves, this time against a struggling Gunn team whose record currently is 0-7.
“Those types of teams scare me because you never know what they are going to do,” Mueller said.
The Matadors will face Lynbrook High School at home for its senior night game on Nov.13 at 7: 30pm.