PITTSBURG — Tom Hemmingsen was everywhere, and the Pittsburg High defense always seemed a step behind him.
Monte Vista's speedy wide receiver caught nine passes for 230 yards Friday night, including the 27-yard completion that set up the game-winning field goal with 1.4 seconds to go in a 32-29 victory for the visiting Mustangs.
Less than two minutes after he'd missed a 25-yard field goal that would have given Monte Vista the lead, Brendan Garcia sent a 22-yard field goal just inside the right upright for the game-winner.
Monte Vista led 21-12 at the half, but the second half was nearly all Pittsburg. The Pirates picked up the first points of the second half on a 30-yard field goal by Edgar Villagrana, and took a 22-21 lead on a 39-yard pass from Joe Lewis to Robert Jiles.
Monte Vista (2-0) answered and reclaimed the lead on 10-yard pass from Brett Nottingham to Hemmingsen. Nottingham ran it in for a two-point conversion and a 29-22 lead. The Pirates, however, answered on the next play as Bryce Flowers tied the game on a 71-yard scoring run.
Pittsburg (1-1) was facing a much different offensive attack than it did in its opener against Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco. The Fightin' Irish featured a very run-oriented attack behind highly-recruited running back Dasante Yarnway. As a result, they attempted just 10 passes and mustered just 41 yards through the air.
Monte Vista went to the pass right away as Nottingham completed 53-yard touchdown pass to Hemmingsen on the third play of the game. It was the start to a big first quarter for the senior wide receiver.
After the Mustangs defense forced Pittsburg into its second punt in two possessions. Hemmingsen fielded the punt on his own 37-yard line. After making the initial defender miss, Hemmingsen reversed his field and found nothing but open space down the left sideline. He returned it 63 yards for the score and an eventual 14-0 lead with 4:56 left in the first quarter.
Pittsburg's offense stalled again on its third possession, but finally reached the end zone on its fourth possession. The Pirates scored on the first play of the second quarter as Bryce Flowers scored on a draw play from 30 yards out. The snap on the point-after attempt went over the holder's head, however, and the score stayed at 14-6.
Monte Vista went back to the pass on the ensuing possession as Nottingham completed a 22-yard scoring strike to Zach Ertz to cap a five-play drive. The third Nottingham-Ertz touchdown connection of the season put the Mustangs up 21-6 with 9:14 left in the half.
The Pirates managed to take some momentum into the half as they mounted an 11-play, 72-yard touchdown drive. Lewis was 8-for-8 on the drive, including the 10-yard scoring pass on a fade pass to Jermaine Sims with 33.2 seconds to go in the half. Pittsburg attempted a two-point conversion, but the pass failed and it was forced to go into the break trailing 21-12.
This was just the first meeting between the two teams since 1995, the last year Monte Vista was a member of the Bay Valley Athletic League. Pittsburg won that game 58-7.