Red Mountain removed the familiar RM emblem from its helmet this season, donning an all-black matted look in 2017.
Apparently, it took the luster off last season’s ride to the state semifinals with it.
The Mountain Lions fell to 0-2 after a non-competitive 52-14 loss at home to Hamilton in a 6A Conference game. The running clock was put in place in the first half Friday as the Huskies scored six times in the first half.
Hamilton opened a 52-0 lead before Red Mountain scored two fourth quarter touchdowns. It was a jarring loss for the Mountain Lions, which looked competitive in the opening-season loss to No. 1 Chandler, but had no answer for the Huskies (1-1).
“We have 24 coaches on this staff and we have to coach a kid every play, in every practice, on every down or we are failing these young men,” Red Mountain coach Mike Peterson said.
Failing to execute elementary tasks and breakdowns on defensive schemes were the biggest problems against Hamilton.
Three different times the snap on shotgun formations failed to get off the ground or caught cleanly to lose field position and possession inside the Red Mountain 20 once.
Defensively the tackling wasn’t very clean as Hamilton running back Jawhar Jordan (14 carries, 127 yards, 3 TDs) slipped away from defenders before hitting a second gear on his first two scores. Huskies quarterback Tyler Shough took advantage of several coverage breakdowns to complete 15 of 20 passes for 318 yards with three touchdowns.
The Huskies looked much more like championship teams of years past rather than the squad that lost 41-28 to 5A Queen Creek last week.
“We expected to have them run right at us,” Hamilton coach Dick Baniszewski said. “They are good football team. No one saw this happening. When things get weird anything can happen. You don’t score 50 points without things going your way.”
Red Mountain played hard for the most part and scored twice down the stretch after the Hamilton starters were long gone.
The Mountain Lions were short-handed as senior Lance Lawson dealt with an ailing ankle and didn’t return for the second half, and a few other players were suspended from the team this week.
The discipline is part of the growing together process that Peterson is feeling out after getting his first going head coach position after 20 years as an assistant.
“I just told the guys inside that we never had a bad culture here, but we had a culture that wasn’t going to win the gold football (state championship trophy),” Peterson said. “I thought to do that we had to be tougher, a little more hard-nosed and a little more disciplined.
“That discipline that I am going to instill week by week required me to suspend some players for this game, and now I am in a predicament that could be the worse predicament. I changed (the culture) so fast that they won’t play for me.”
The play on the field was sloppy and they were overmatched, but the Mountain Lions never seem to give into the disparity on the scoreboard, especially players like linebacker Delton Jackson and running back Jarquell Garner
“I hurt because I want them to do well; because I know what it takes to do well; because I’ve been on a lot of coaching staffs that have had a lot of success,” Peterson said. “If they just let me lead them we can go to the promise land.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hamilton 52, Red Mountain 14
H – 28 14 3 7 -52
RM – 0 0 0 14 -14
H – Rice 61 pass from Shough (Obarski kick), 10:17
H – Jordan 50 run (Obarski kick), 5:44
H – Armenta 7 run (Obarski kick), 3:35
H – Jordan 15 run (Obarski kick), :14.5
H – Armenta 40 pass from Shough (Obarski kick), 8:17
H – Jordan 2 run (Obarski kick), 5:28
H – Rusch 34 FG, 5:11
H – Lockhart 7 pass from Shough (Obarski kick), 10:19
RM – Garner 2 run (Huffman kick), 2:34
RM – Griner 1 run (Huffman kick), 1:08
First downs 20 9
Rush-yards 25-182 28-79
Comp-Att-Int 15-20-0 8-19-2
Pass yards 318 131
Total yards 500 210
Penalties 8-65 7-48
Fumbles/lost 1-1 4-3
H – Jordan 14-127, Parson 4-11, Armenta 5-48, Shough 2-4. RM – Lawson 5-11, Griner 7-20, McElroy 7-22. Skabelund 2-4, Koloamatangi 1-2, Garner 6-11, Molina 1-9.
H – Shough 15-20-0-318. RM – Griner 8-19-2-131.
H – Rice 1-61, Lockhart 4-61, Armenta 3-102, Parson 4-45, Schenks 3-57.
H – Rusch (blocked by Daniels) 37