Through most of the first half on Friday night, the Santa Clara Bruins and Mountain View Spartans found themselves stuck in a 0-0 gridlock. Each side ended either up punting the ball away or turning the ball over on downs on their first three possessions. It wasn’t until there was 3:48 remaining in the second quarter when the Spartans finally opened the scoring after a long drive dominated with their rushing attack found the endzone. Prior to that drive, the Bruins defense had held up strong.
The biggest highlight up to that point was a tremendously timed hit by Santa Clara safety Anthony Taber. The sophomore broke up what would have been a first down catch on a first down play late in the first quarter. Three plays later, a Bailey Mungaray tackle on fourth down forced a turnover on downs by the Spartans.
“He’s a young guy, but he plays like he’s a senior, made that read,” chimed Mungaray on Taber’s ball-displacing hit. “He came down and laid a nice hit on the guy. Kudos to Taber on that one.”
“He came up and made a good hit on their tight end there,” echoed Bruins Head Coach Burt Codera. “That was a big play for us.”
Unfortunately for Santa Clara, the big plays were limited as the game progressed. The Bruins offense went three and out on three straight passes following the Spartans’ first touchdown. After taking very little time off the clock, Mountain View as able to get the ball back and methodically drive down the field for a second series in a row. At that point the Bruins defense had been on the field for quite a long time.
“They are a good football team and we didn’t answer. They scored and we didn’t answer” emphasized coach Codera. “We didn’t put our defense in a lot of good situations. The defense didn’t play poorly, they played well. Offensively we couldn’t get anything going. Eventually, your defense gets tired from being out there for long periods of time. Then those two three-yard runs turn into seven eight-yard runs.”
Mountain View would score their second touchdown with 41.6 seconds remaining to make the score 14-0. The Bruins would receive the second half kick off, but immediately fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. On the ensuing Spartan drive, it looked like the Bruins might get the ball back after forcing a fourth down, but a naked bootleg by the Spartans quarterback went for a gain of 20 yards down to the Bruins 5-yard line. A few plays later, they punched in their third score of the night to put the game on ice.
Mungaray would add an interception in the endzone to deny a fourth Spartans score, but that was the lone highlight of the second half for Santa Clara. Offensively, outside of a few nice out routes and decent yards after catch by senior receiver Joseph Hernandez, the Bruins could not move the ball effectively.
The loss now drops their league record to 1-3, but an overall record of still 4-4. Santa Clara will look to bounce back next week when they play at Milpitas, who is 0-3 in league, on Friday, Oct. 25.