The Mountain View football team that took the field last Friday for a Zero Week scrimmage against Green River looked noticeably different — gone were the heavyweights from the Class of 2020 that represented the heart of the Buffalos’ second 2A state title in three years, names like Breckin Barnes, Briggin Bluemel, Hunter Gross, Kimball Madsen and Braeden Walk.
What hasn’t changed is Mountain View’s commitment to a high-powered offense, to which Green River can attest. Head coach Brent Walk’s new look Buffalos dropped 54 points on the Wolves in a 54-18 rout, and though the game was technically a controlled scrimmage, in the minds of the Mountain View players and coaching staff, it was anything but.
“I was really pleased with how the kids came out ready to play,” Walk said. “They came out with a lot of fight, a lot of intensity. With that being said, we made a ton of mistakes. We addressed those mistakes in our film session, and it was a pretty lengthy meeting.”
The Buffalos came out firing on all cylinders offensively against Green River, with quarterbacks Tyler Petersen and Connor Micheli alternating under center. Official stats weren’t kept, but Walk said both players made a strong case for the starting gig.
“Tyler Petersen threw the ball really well,” Walk said. “Right now with our quarterbacks, we have Tyler Petersen and Connor Micheli — They’re going equal reps right now in terms of quarterback. Both of those kids did some really good things, but there are always things to work on.”
Ashton Schofield emerged from the scrimmage as a go-to threat at receiver, and as far as team speed, Walk said he’s been impressed on both sides of the ball.
“I think our team speed is excellent,” he said. “I knew that coming in — our skill kids are athletic and fast. Offensively, we did a lot of good things, and defensively, we did some really good things in terms of what we do in our football program, so I liked that.”
The Buffs are deep at running back, with players like Tanner Collins and Kolten Roitz showing flashes of brilliance against Green River.
“We’ve got a number of kids that can run the ball — Tanner Collins is a junior, and he’s running the ball really well,” Walk said. “Connor Micheli, when we put him at running back, he’s running strong, as well. And Kolten Roitz also had a very good game. Right now, we’re just in the process of evaluating everything.”
The Buffs are also sporting an opportunistic defense, with four takeaways — two picks and two fumbles recovered — recorded against Green River.
“On paper, I know we have an opportunity to be a very good defense,” Walk said.
“Our kids are physical, and we’re putting out what we think is quite a bit of speed on the field. And our guys are not afraid of contact. Their defensive pursuit is really good, so we like where we’re at.”
Mountain View has some talented returners on the offensive and defensive line, many of whom play both ways.
“Hunter Meeks has been a starter for us since he was a sophomore — he played really well, both offensively and defensively on the line,” Walk said. “And then we have some other kids — Carson Tims is a junior, and we’re really impressed with him. He played on our JV team last year, and he’s really stepped up, he had an amazing offseason. He’s had a great fall camp.”
Mountain View graduated 10 seniors off last year’s state championship team, five of whom will compete in athletics at the next level. Walk said that crew leaves some pretty big shoes to fill, but with this year’s group of seniors his largest ever, he likes where the Buffs are at.
“Going into the season after graduating those seniors — we have a talented group,” he said. “This is the biggest senior class I’ve ever had, and the juniors we have make up a very good class. We don’t have a ton of sophomores, but the ones we do have are good players. It’s going to be day by day, and we’re gonna make sure that we keep getting better.”
“Our kids came out, and they didn’t flinch,” Walk added. “Every year, our goal is to play Mountain View football — play hard, and let’s see what happens. The kids came out with a lot of intensity, so that was good.”
Mountain View opens the 2020 season Friday at Evanston. The Red Devils are coming off a 29-14 loss to Ben Lomond last weekend, but Walk said his Buffs can count on a tough matchup.