Last-second Harper field goal lifts Apollos to first victory

The Sunset senior hits from 32 yards out with no time left to beat Mountain View 16-14 on Friday night

CEDAR MILL - Sunset had a lot of needs in its Friday football game against Mountain View of Washington.

The Apollos needed to continue establishing their new identity. They needed to get their first points of 2006. And they really, really needed Kyle Harper to come through with a last-second field goal that lifted the team to its first win of the year.

Harper, also the team's quarterback did his job, connecting on a 32-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to help Sunset even its record at 1-1 by beating the Thunder 16-14 at Sunset High School on Friday.

'It was really nice,' said Sunset coach Mike Mitchell. 'I thought they were a pretty good football team.'

Mountain View pushed Sunset to the limit Friday night, rallying from 7-0 and 13-7 deficits to pull ahead 14-13 in the fourth quarter and put the Apollos on the verge of an 0-2 start to the 2006 season. But Sunset got the ball back late in the game, drove down field and advanced to the 15-yard line before running short of time.

There, with Harper trying to stop the clock by spiking the ball, Sunset was flagged for an illegal motion penalty and pushed back to the 20. Harper stepped to the fore and nailed what appeared to be a game-winning field goal from 37 yards out.

But game officials tagged the Thunder with a five-yard offsides penalty that negated Harper's kick, then argued with the game officials while Sunset's field goal team re-set itself on the field. With the clock down to .7 seconds and no timeouts remaining, Sunset had to snap the ball as soon as the game official blew his whistle and the Apollos did just that - Harper again did his part, this time connecting from 32 yards out to win the game.

Sunset opened the game with a 13-play scoring drive capped by Harper's 34-yard scoring strike to Drew Nelson and Harper's extra point for a 7-0 edge. But Mountain View responded in kind in the second quarter, with Calin Thomason racing 69 yards to score and Mike Camacho's PAT.

'That was especially nice having not scored the previous game,' Mitchell said.

The Apollos pushed back in front in the third quarter when Kevin Petermeyer cashed in from four yards out, but Harper's extra point kick failed leaving his team ahead 13-6. And the Thunder took the initiative in the fourth quarter, pushing ahead 14-13 on Thomason's 2-yard run and Camacho's PAT.

With the game on the line, though, the Apollos drove down field into scoring position and got Harper's game-winner on the final play.

Besides Harper's efforts, Mitchell also praised the play of linebacker and running back Kyle Shiffler and wide receiver Sam Wilson, who made a couple key catches in the game and also fielded a tough snap as holder on Harper's winning kick.