Multiple times in the first half, Mountain View football coach Brian Crum huddled his team during a timeout in hopes of stopping the bleeding caused by a flurry of landed punches by the Roseburg Indians.
Nothing seemed to work.
Winners of eight straight games dating back to 2019, Mountain View got humbled by the Indians, 37-7 Friday night at Jack Harris Stadium in its home opener.
“They came out and they hit us,” said Mountain View coach Brian Crum. “They were tuned up and ready to play, and we were not. It will take me all weekend to figure it out, but we were not ready to play.”
After Mountain View’s linebacker Mason Ludwig recovered a fumble on the game’s third play from scrimmage, the game fell apart — and fell apart fast — in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams for the Cougars.
Running back Cayden Eckel scored four touchdowns in the first half to help the Indians score 37 points in 24 minutes. In the final minute of the first half, the Cougar offense finally picked up a first down. But later, an errant snap on a punt — compounded by the punt attempt being blocked — resulted in a safety.
“We should be a much better football team and I’m going to take this one on me,” said Crum.
“If we weren’t ready to go I need to figure out how to get ready next week.”
The squad that went a perfect 6-0 last spring and had admittedly lofty goals this fall was suddenly at the mercy of a running clock for the entire second half.
A week after rushing for 274 yards and four scores in their opening-week win against Century, the vaunted Cougar rushing attack was held to just 33 yards against the stout Roseburg defensive front.
“They were just more physical than us, straight up,” said running back Sayre Williamson, who was bottled up for 32 yards Friday night. “There is not much else to say. We didn’t come to play this week.”
In the second half, with a running clock, the Cougars were finally able to move the ball offensively. Quarterback Jakoby Moss found running back Nick Hopper for a fourth-quarter score and the defense kept Roseburg off the board. It was a small victory on a rough night, but there is hope that the success over the final 24 minutes pays off down the road.
“The biggest thing for me was that our guys stayed together during the second half,” said Crum. “The players did most of the talking at halftime about what they were going to do. I thought they came out with some spirit in the second half and we did a little more of what we wanted to do. And that was important because that will be a springboard going into next week.”
Over the past 18 months, Crum has glowed about how his team managed to get better and handled the adversity off the field brought on by the pandemic. And the Cougars were rewarded for their efforts throughout the pandemic by going undefeated in the shortened season in the spring.
But now they face a different type of adversity — what to do when things on the field are not going their way.
Mountain Valley Conference play starts for the Cougars next Friday against Sprague. Since joining the MVC in 2018, the Cougars have yet to win against one of the conference opponents from Salem.
Minutes after the game ended, the team was ready to hit the practice field to get ready for the Olympians and leave what happened Friday night in the rearview mirror.
“I don’t think it will take much,” said Moss on refocusing for next week’s game. “This group is young but this group is committed. With that being said, I think we all have the same mindset of going into next week and we are going all out, we are going to have the best week of practice.
“We do know that next week we need to come out a lot harder, play a lot smarter and we need to be a lot more physical than we were tonight,” Moss continued. “And we know that starts with next week of practice.”