A stunning 28-yard touchdown pass to wide-receiver Joe Brown had the crowd on the edge of their seats, followed by an excellent field goal by Diego Buntz, to start the game strong for MVHS.
MVHS won its homecoming game with a 21-14 score after a close game against Santa Clara, pushing through with the school’s support.
The start of the first quarter looked promising, with lots of crowd support from the school. However, soon after the first touchdown, the team started slowing down. The crowd support helped pull the team through, which was much needed in such a tight game.
“We appreciate the great turnout tonight,” Head Coach Shelly Smith said. “This is what we need; we need this support.”
However, MVHS began losing steam after the first touchdown.
“We definitely should have come out stronger,” running back Leo Navarro said. “We should have put up 21 points in the first quarter.”
MVHS then fell flat in the second quarter, with the score remaining 7-0 at halftime. The team struggled to stay focused, especially with the stress and distractions of Homecoming week. Following a season marked by lots of success for the varsity football team, much of the enthusiasm of the season was building up to this game in particular.
“We weren’t focused this week,” Navarro said. “There were so many distractions on and off the field. We have homecoming, with the parade at halftime. Really, the key is to just keep your head in the game.”
Halftime brought lots of homecoming-themed excitement. An appearance from the Homecoming Court candidates, and performances by Marching Band, Cheer, and Dance Spectrum raised the energy levels of the crowd.
“We could use this support,” Smith said. “Because our guys thrive when their classmates are out there, this [crowd enthusiasm]is awesome.”
The end of the second quarter also was a crucial point for the team to get their heads in the game. The players were disappointed in their performance, and felt they needed to pull it together.
We definitely didn’t play to our potential in the first half. We were making mistakes, we were undisciplined, we had penalties. But we got together at halftime, we made a plan, we turned it around, and came out with the win. That’s all that matters.
In turning the game back to MVHS’s favor, Navarro described an important shift in mindset during halftime.
“We adjusted the blocking, we saw how they were playing in the first half, and we corrected our mistakes,” Navarro said. “We had to identify them, find what we were doing wrong, and just correct it. It’s all mental.”
The start of the third quarter was marked by a MVHS touchdown, bringing the score to 14-0 in MVHS’s favor. Only two minutes later, Santa Clara scored a touchdown, bringing the score to 14-7.
The game grew more tense, after a touchdown by Santa Clara at six minutes brought the score to a tie. With only three minutes left, MVHS scored a touchdown to take the lead. After some back-and-forth with Santa Clara, MVHS was able to pull through in the fourth quarter to secure a 21-14 win.
Overall, the game was exhilarating for the spirited crowd of students, parents, and teachers. Homecoming games are central to school spirit and identity, and nothing brings the community together like a challenging victory.
“We had our ups and downs, but eventually we came away with the win, and that’s what matters at the end of the day. I’m proud of my guys,” Navarro said. “We really know what we need to correct next week.”