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Bruins rise from ruins

Aerial combo a key to Mountain View's '04 success

OREM — Mountain View quarterback Don Lovelace is quick to point that he hasn't put up numbers as big as some of the Bruin quarterbacks in the past. His top wide receiver, Andrew Bateman, will tell you from the start that he isn't the fastest receiver around. But they'll both tell you that none of that matters when they step onto the field every Friday.

In the Bruin's passing attack, the Lovelace-to-Bateman connection has frustrated opponents all yearlong and is one of the big reasons Mountain View has engineered a remarkable turn-around in its football program this season.

The Bruins had won a total of three games in the past two years and were once again picked to finish last in their region this year. But, after winning four of their past five games, Lovelace and Bateman are celebrating a co-region championship and getting ready for the team's first playoff appearance since 1999.

"It was honestly hard," remembers Lovelace, who also started last year as quarterback. "We'd be in the halls, and we didn't get the respect we thought we deserved. People would make jokes about us."

Thanks in large part to the leadership of Mountain View's own dynamic duo, that attitude has quickly changed. Lovelace has thrown for more then 1,400 yards on the season so far, and nearly half of his touchdown passes have been to Bateman.

Their play-making ability has led them to come up with a nickname for themselves. They've coined the acronym GBPM which stands for "Game-Breaking Play Makers."

"We call ourselves the GBPM of the team," Bateman says. "It kind of feels like a whole different team because of the atmosphere and excitement."

Both Lovelace and Bateman agree that one key to their success together comes from their experience playing with each other and their friendship off of the field. Bateman started catching passes from Lovelace when they were on the Mountain View freshman team four years ago, and he has been Lovelace's favorite target ever since.

"We've basically been together since our freshman year," Lovelace says. "We've really just had a great chemistry, and we really trust each other. I know if I throw the ball anywhere near him he's going to catch it."

"We're pretty good friends," says Bateman. "We're almost best friends for the most part. It helps, too, I'm sure."

Lately, everyone is asking Lovelace and Bateman how a team that almost went winless last year and started out this season 0-4 has suddenly turned into a well respected and dangerous team in a very competitive region.

"Last season, we'd had a horrible year," says Bateman. "Everyone in the school just gave us crap. None of us wanted to have a year like we had last year. We came out with the attitude like there was no way that was going to happen again."

Lovelace, Bateman and some of the other seniors spent a long spring and summer in the weight room and on the field going through their own workouts in preparation for the coming season.

"Everyday after school we'd lift and do sprints," Lovelace says. "We practice every day. We have what it takes to be a good team. We take that underdog role and just run with it."

This week Lovelace, Bateman and the rest of the Bruins might face a new challenge. Mountain View will face East at home in the first round of the state playoffs on Friday. For the first time in two years, some people are actually expecting the Bruins to win.

"It's great," says Lovelace. "Last year we'd go around and wear MV stuff in public and we'd get made fun of a little bit. It feels good to go out in our lettermen's jackets and get respect."

The Lovelace-to-Bateman connection is being noticed.