The win gave the Falcons a 2-0 start to a season for the first time in 10 years.
“It feels great to win football games,” Pebblebrook coach Tommy Macon said. “The kids are responding and trying to get better. We just need to stay healthy and keep it going as long as we can because this region run is going to be tough on us.”
Friday’s game itself was certainly tough on both teams as emotions were high and momentum shifted dramatically. Pebblebrook won the turnover battle 5-1, but the one giveaway committed by the Falcons was costly.
Leading 10-7, Huntley dropped back on a third-down play and was hit hard by Mountain View’s defensive line, forcing a fumble. The ball was immediately picked up by the Bears’ Jordan Jones, who raced down the sideline 40 yards for a go-ahead score.
The ensuing extra point was missed, however, and Mountain View (0-2) led 13-10 with 9:56 remaining in the game.
“I knew I couldn’t get down emotionally,” said Huntley, who appeared to be injured after the play. “I had to get my spirits back up. As a quarterback, you have to have a short memory.”
While Pebblebrook’s defense stood firm, getting two second-half interceptions from Hakeem Bailey, Huntley went to work on the game-winning drive midway through the fourth quarter.
After a 14-yard punt by Mountain View, the Falcons started with great field position at the Bears’ 27-yard line.
Huntley hit receiver Perry Seldon for a 13-yard gain and then, one play later, the quarterback ran around right tackle and broke through Mountain View defenders on his way to the end zone for the winning score.
“I knew the whole way that I could score on that play,” Huntley said. “I had faith in our defense after that.”
Mountain View’s last attempt at a winning drive was cut short when it failed to convert on fourth-and-20 from its own 34 with just under 2 minutes remaining.
Both teams missed opportunities in the first half.
Mountain View opened the game with a 7-minute, 16-play drive that ended when it came up short on fourth-and-6 at the Pebblebrook 27.
Pebblebrook also left points on the field at the end of the first half when kicker Eddie Castaneda missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter. Castaneda, however, redeemed himself with a 22-yarder in the third quarter.
The teams scored their first-half touchdowns on almost identical plays.
Huntley connected with receiver Justin Simms to open the scoring early in the second quarter on a 27-yard fade route in the right corner of the end zone. Mountain View tied the game at 7 later in the quarter on the same route, this time 26 yards between quarterback Sam Freitas and Cameron Hankins.
“Stressful is an understatement,” Macon said about the game. “I’ve got a headache right now. I don’t know whether to smile or cry or what, but the kids have continued to battle the whole time.”
Pebblebrook may be in store for another stressful battle next Friday as it travels to Powder Springs to open Region 4AAAAAA play with McEachern, the state’s No 3-ranked team.