For the second straight year Red Mountain has earned a semifinal berth in the 6A playoffs.
The Mountain Lions held off 15th-ranked Westview, which upset second ranked Desert Ridge last week.
Led by the stout Red Mountain defense, the Mountain Lions cruised to a 31-7 victory Friday night.
“This (win) means a lot for this team and this program,” Red Mountain senior Lance Lawson said. “Just to be able to get a shot at the semis again after coming up short last year, it is a hug deal for this program and for this team.”
The seventh-seeded Mountain Lions (10-2) will face No. 3 and defending state champion Chandler (10-2) on Friday at Hamilton High.
The Mountain Lions wasted little time jumping on the scoreboard thanks to a Justin Hoffman 40-yard field goal.
Huffman’s field goal set up a 24-point first half for the Mountain Lions offense. On the ensuing drives for the Mountain Lions, Alejandro Lujan scored from 2-yards out and Lawson from 11 to extend the lead to 17-0.
“The coaches came in with a great game plan,” Lawson said. “Us players just came in and executed. It was a great game all around.”
The Mountain Lions third score of the first half came when quarterback Connor Griner found receiver Gerald Wilbon down the sideline for the 32-yard score. Wilbon finished the contest leading all Mountain Lions receivers with five receptions for 91 yards.
Red Mountain dominated on both sides of the ball, with the offense scoring points and the defense forcing turnovers for a Westview offense that found success against Desert Ridge.
“I am mostly an offensive player but our defense carries our team to be honest,” Lawson added. “It starts with our defensive line and then our linebackers and secondary piggy-back off of that. Our defensive scheme is perfect.”
Along with the defensive line putting pressure on Fallers and stuffing the run, the secondary shut down the Westview passing game.
Both Shaq Daniels and Justin Coleman recorded interceptions on quarterback Scott Fallers, who was held to just 85 yards passing by the Red Mountain secondary.
“We were reading our keys all week and I saw the tight end run a corner route and knew I would make the play,” Coleman said. “We just need to keep the same momentum, keep it rolling and go on to eleven games.”
Now on a 10-game win streak, the momentum is high for the Mountain Lions since suffering two losses to start the season. However, they have a chance to redeem themselves as they take Chandler, which won the season-opener 42-14.
Injuries played a major part in the Mountain Lions early loss to the Wolves. While injuries still remain a factor, coach Mike Peterson is confident in his team’s ability to overcome the adversity, as they have all season.
“We have come a long way since the last time,” Patterson said. “We learned how to win and we know that we can win. That’s the biggest thing.”
– Zach Alvira is a freelance writer for MyNewsMesa.com.
Red Mountain 31, Westview 7
Westview 0 0 7 0 – 7
Red Mountain 10 14 7 0 – 31
RM – Huffman 40 FG, 10:02
RM – Lujan 2 run (Huffman kick), 1:26
RM – Lawson 11 run (Huffman kick), 10:03
RM – Griner 32 pass to Wilbon (Huffman kick), 3:54
RM – Mcelroy 3 run (Huffman kick), 10:45
WV – Fallers 58 run (Gonzales kick), 5:43
First downs. 13 8
Rush-yards 33-164 28-75
Comp-Att-Int 11-17-0 9-21-2
Pass yards 118 85
Total yards 282 160
Fumbles/lost 1/0 1/0
Penalties 7-50 10-75
RM – Griner 11-26, Lawson 8-62, Mcelroy 5-20, Lujan 8-49, Wilbon 1-7; WV – Fallers 7-73, Romero 2-2, Juarez 5-16, Olivas 8-24, Curry 2-3, Boyaba 1-0, Greene 3-7
RM – Griner 9-12-93-0, Lawson 2-5-25-0; WV – Fallers 9-21-85-2
RM – Wilbon 5-91, Lawson 3-5, Reece-Peeplez 1-7, Koloamatangi 1-6, Skabelund 1-9; WV – Juarez 1-7, Houx 1-1, Young 4-47, Staples 1-11, Hall 2-10, White 1-9