Football: Lightning strikes as MVHS routs Prospect 50-0

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Dickson Tsai

MVHS continued its strong season with a commanding 50-0 shutout over the Prospect Panthers in a game that featured a lightning weather delay. Video by Dickson Tsai, Kevin Tsukii, and Emily Vu. Music: “Dance in the Rain” (ft. snowflake, Jim Brady) by copperhead licensed under CC-BY-NC 3.0.

In a night where lightning took center stage, the varsity football team dazzled the crowd of parents, teachers and students alike who attended the Sept. 9 Bull Spirit game. Running back senior Sam McCann ran his own show as he posted a four touchdown night. The defense held up as well, as they relentlessly blitzed to shut down the Prospect High School Panthers.

The same offensive power that led to the 41-14 win over Overfelt High School on Sept. 3 came back full force in the rematch against the Panthers after a 7-7 draw last year. The Matadors found multiple ways on third-and-long situations and fourth downs to keep their drives alive with first downs.

On the first drive of the game, senior Michael Whittaker rushed to the Prospect 29 yard line to set up McCann’s touchdown run. Just two minutes into the game, MVHS was up 7-0, setting the tone for a big offensive night. Suddenly, the evening sky lit up with lightning, but it still seemed distant. Although MVHS forced Prospect to punt at 8:39 in the first, the Matadors gave the ball right back to the Panthers on a missed hand-off in midfield.

This was the bailout Prospect was hoping for. The Panthers fought back with a long drive of their own, threatening just outside the MVHS red zone. However, just as the Prospect offense caught steam, senior Jordan Sheade was able to knock out a backward pass. The Panthers were lucky to recover, but they lost major yardage. The defense pushed the Panthers all the way back to midfield until Prospect had to punt on fourth-and-38.

The Matadors DBs approach the line of scrimmage, waiting to blitz Prospect quarterback senior Tyler McWilliams. The defense was key to the 50-0 shutout of the Prospect Panthers on Sept. 9. Photo by Elvin Wong.

What ensued was an absolute takeover from the MVHS running game. The Matador offensive line created huge problems for the Panther defense, but the running backs McCann and Sheade worked the holes and the sidelines to their advantage. On a toss to the far sideline, Sheade broke off for at least 70 yards for a touchdown only to be pulled back by a holding penalty. The next play, the Matadors ran the exact same toss play towards the other side of the field to McCann who went even farther—80 yards—for the touchdown. Prospect needed to figure out the option offense fast, or else the game would fall out of hand.

This time, a bigger bolt struck, and the officials met with head coach Jeff Mueller. With a 14-0 lead and the offense absolutely unstoppable, the call was clear. It was too early to postpone the game.

The MVHS defense then stuffed Prospect once again to force a punt. It was yet another opportunity for the offense to roll, but this time, Prospect figured out the misdirection with the help of Matador penalties. The Matadors had to punt, but then on a routine fair catch, Prospect junior Matt Romero dropped the ball, which a swarm of MVHS players quickly recovered for the big first down. Even though it was still 8:53 in the 2nd quarter, that turnover was the knockout punch. Whatever the Prospect defense tried to do to stop the Matadors, the offense was too much. Fourth-and-19 on the Prospect 27, quarterback senior Austin Burrow launched a pinpoint pass just over the cornerback to senior Mahesh Vishwanath for the 20-0 lead.

Before the halftime horn sounded, the Matadors hungered for another chance down the field. The defense did its job, and with 51 seconds left in the half, McCann took yet another toss for the 20 yard touchdown run, 28-0 Matadors.

A bolt of lightning crashes onto the game late in the second quarter. The lightning led to a 30-minute delay following halftime in MVHS' 50-0 win over Prospect. Photo by Dickson Tsai.

The lightning and downpour was now in full force, forcing a 30 minute delay following halftime. At the end of the delay, the storm passed by, and everything was silent as if nothing had happened. It was time to resume the second half.

The Matadors came back out over-aggressive. The referee flagged two late hit personal fouls, ejected Whittaker, but the defense still stopped the Panthers somehow, handing off to the ball to the offense. From their own 30 yard line, the Matadors ran the option play to perfection, as Burrow pitched to McCann at the far sideline for a 70 yard touchdown.

Adding insult to injury, the Panthers snapped the ball high out of the reach of their senior Tyler McWilliams—out there instead of the punter presumably for a last-ditch attempt. The tenacious MVHS defense downed him in his own end zone for the 37-0 lead in the third.

On the kickoff following senior Jimmy Roslund’s touchdown, the Prospect returner let the kickoff fly over his head, but the ball fell inbounds and stopped at the 3 yard line for the Matadors to recover. That fortuitous bounce allowed the Matadors to tack on another 7 points to complete the 50-0 victory.

But Prospect never gave up as they drove all the way down the field before the MVHS secondary finally stepped up to put an end to the drive. It was a long fight but one that was well-fought. The Matadors left with the elation of witnessing their brilliant potential for their potential breakout season—all under the fitting backdrop of lightning.

The Matadors will visit Westmont High School for their third non-league match-up on Sept. 16.