LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga - There's a Bach Revival going on at Mountain View High School. Three years into his tenure as the Bears head football coach, Nick Bach has finally composed a team that's playing in near perfect harmony.
"We're having success because we have a talented group of seniors and juniors," said Bach. "This is my first class of players coming all the way through since I got here about four years ago. It's a tough, gritty group that includes 35 juniors and everyone's excited because some of the tides have turned around here."
Bach is referring to a recent change in perception of Mountain View football in Gwinnett County and around the state. The Bears, now in their ninth year of football, expect to win games against traditional powers. Last week's 20-17 last-second victory over rival Mill Creek was huge, but not unexpected according to Mountain View wide receiver Malachi Carter, who committed to play at Georgia Tech in September.
"We're just ready for anything coming our way," Carter told FOX 5 Sports. "We're going into the playoffs and whoever is our opponent is just in our way, so that's how we think. We don't go in fearing anybody."
The Bears (7-2), solidly in third place in tough Region 6-AAAAAAA, have one regular season game remaining Friday night against a one-win Discovery team before beginning postseason play. The combination of quarterback Matt Edwards to Carter has become legendary over the past four seasons. Last week, the two hooked up on a play that's likely to go down in school history as a defining moment in the ascension of the program.
With time running down on the Bear's final drive, Edwards lofted a ball downfield that essentially became a jump ball between Mill Creek cornerback Jontavious Shotwell and Carter. The rest is history.
"I couldn't really see it when it happened," said Bach. "But, I did ask another coach...'did he just catch that ball on the DB's back?'"
That's exactly what happened. Carter pinned the ball against the defender's helmet and back to make the catch, sending the student section into a frenzy. It's being called "The Catch" for good reason, but it was another 11-yard completion with time running out that set up the eventual game-winning 31-yard field goal by kicker Carlos Ayala as time expired.
As November approaches, coach Bach says his team is more prepared for the playoffs. Last year they made it to the postseason for the first time in school history, only to be beaten in the first round by eventual champion Grayson.
"Our focus is not on only winning one playoff game this time. Last year we were just happy we made it. We weren't as prepared as we needed to be, and then we ran into that buzz saw."
An improved defense that has shut out three opponents so far in 2017 could help Mountain View make a deeper postseason run. So far the Bears haven't cracked the 7-A rankings, but they did receive two votes in this week's Georgia Sports Writers Association High School Football Poll.
Good Day Atlanta returns to Mountain View Thursday morning to celebrate the Bears' Team of the Week win---the second for the Lawrenceville school. Mountain View won the award back in 2011 after beating an undefeated Mill Creek team under then head coach Tim Hardy. Paul Milliken and the GDA pep team begin their live broadcast from Mountain View at 8 a.m.