Head coach Brian Crum said it. So did seniors Jakoby Moss, Sayre Williamson and Sam Larson.
One thing is for certain: the Mountain View football team is ready to take the field for the fall 2021 season.
The Cougars are ready for the first game of the season Friday night at Century High in Hillsboro after a stint in quarantine canceled their jamboree last Friday. Ready to show that last season’s 6-0 record in a shortened spring season was no fluke. Ready to take on the competition outside of Central Oregon. And ready to make a run at the Class 6A state playoffs.
“For a lot of guys this is like: Here we are, this is what we do,” said Larson, a tight end and defensive end. “It feels great to be back out here on the field.”
This past spring, the Cougars swept both Summit and Bend High, beating each school twice in the local schedule, and also had wins over Ridgeview and Aloha to finish 6-0. This fall, they are eager to face the Mountain Valley Conference teams from Salem as well as other teams from around the state.
“We are ready to prove that we can hang with the valley schools,” said Moss, who is entering his third year as the starting Mountain View quarterback. “We are ready to go prove that we are here and we are ready to go.”
The undefeated season last spring, along with the shorter offseason, has built momentum entering the fall season. According to Crum, more sophomores have turned out than in years past and the upperclassmen showed dedication in the offseason workouts leading into the fall.
“That shows how many of the kids enjoyed what we did last year and how many wanted to come back and do it again,” Crum said.
But the Mountain View team that takes the field Friday night will look quite different than the one last spring. Gone is a strong senior class, including eight players from the All-City team that featured Offensive Player of the Year Luke Roberts, the Cougar running back who ran through defenses in the spring. The Mountain View defense must also fill holes left by seniors who graduated.
But this fall’s squad is excited to establish its own identity.
“We aren’t the same team,” said Williamson, stepping into the starting running back role and also playing cornerback. “We aren’t that team anymore. I think we are going to be throwing the ball a little bit more.”
When the Cougars take on the Jaguars Friday night, Crum said there could be as many as five sophomores in the starting lineup — including several on the offensive line.
“They are going to have to grow up and grow together,” Crum said. “That is a unit that has to have cohesion and has to know their job.”
Mountain View will have a familiar face under center in Moss, who has established himself as one of the state’s top quarterbacks and has earned a two-star rating by the 247sports.com recruiting website.
In a perfect world, Crum said he would like to have several returning offensive linemen in addition to his experienced quarterback. But he said he has “supreme confidence” in Moss.
“He’s just wired differently than most kids,” Crum said. “He has goals of playing at the next level. And I know he will. We are going to really lean into his decision-making while we are young and getting our feet underneath us.”
Mountain View — which has one of Class 6A’s smallest enrollments — is certainly eying a postseason berth, something the program has not accomplished since this season’s seniors were freshmen in 2018.
“We have been waiting for this,” Larson said. “All those daily doubles, all the days in the weight room have prepared us for this moment to go out and show who we are.”