Mats Football is Going to the Ship!

Kaitlin Fenn, Staff Writer

The Mats held off Northgate on Nov. 23 at home to win 66-48 and advance to the semifinal game against the second seed, Clayton Valley Charter.

The quarterfinal game was dominated by both team’s explosive offenses, which combined for 12 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards. Miramonte’s attack was led by Drew Anderson ‘14 who passed for 358 yards and six touchdowns. The Mat’s defense struggled against the Bronco’s run game but was able to contain them enough to hold on for the win and move to 10-2 on the season.

“We felt confident going up against Northgate. They’re a good team but I knew if we played well we could pull it out, and we did,” Anderson said.

Then, on Nov. 29, in an exciting upset victory, Miramonte defeated the Eagles 44-38, shocking the defending Division II champs and earning a chance to battle for an NCS championship title for the first time in seven years.

Anderson produced once again in this game, throwing for 339 yards, three touchdowns, and running one in himself, while Clayton Valley relied almost entirely on their running. As the game went on, Miramonte’s defense was able to control the Eagle’s star running back Miles Harrison ‘15 and make big stops to slow them down.

At halftime the Mats led 29-22 and held off the Eagles in the third to build a comfortable 14 point lead going into the fourth quarter. After Clayton Valley’s Harrison connected with quarterback Gabe Taylor ’14 on a successful trick play to cut the deficit to six, Miramonte’s Clayton Stehr ‘16 recovered the onside kick and the Mats pieced together a drive that ended in a Clark touchdown run.

Anderson connected with Ryan Anderson ‘16 on the two point conversion to get their 14 point lead back, and Miramonte got set to kick off to the Eagles with 5:08 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Mat’s defense was huddled on the sideline preparing to lock down on Clayton Valley’s offense and get the ball back, but wasn’t expecting a 93 yard kick return and two point conversion by the Ugly Eagles that cut the gap back to six.

“I felt awful after that,” Tyler Bethel ‘14 said. “I didn’t want that game to be the last time I put on my pads. But then we got the onside kick and closed it out, and it was sick.”

Miramonte recovered Clayton Valley’s onside kick and proceeded to run the clock out on the Eagles, sealing the win with a first down pass from Anderson to Dominic Paoletti ‘14 to convert on fourth and seven.

“It’s been our team goal since day one to get to the NCS championship, so I was so excited when I knew we finally got there,” Paoletti said. “We knew that if we just played our game like it was our last and left everything on the field that we couldn’t be stopped.”

Miramonte will face Casa Grande at Rancho Cotate High School on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the North Coast Section championship game.