Fifth-seeded Red Mountain routed 12th-seeded Buena 45-6 in the first round of the Division I playoffs on Friday.
The Lions dominated all facets of the game, coming away with what coach Ron Wisniewski called a complete victory.
“I felt like we had a pretty balanced game this week with the defense and special teams tonight,” Wisniewski said. “It was probably the first time all year we put together all three phases in one night.
"Buena has a bunch of great skill guys on offense. They moved the ball on us, but fortunately in the red zone we held up pretty well. We bent a little bit but didn’t break. On offense we made a lot of big plays, which is what we were doing early in the season but kind of got away from a little bit these last few weeks.”
The defense set the tone for the evening, utilizing that bend-but-don’t-break philosophy to limit Buena to just six points. The Colts were able to move the ball with some success but could only come away with the one touchdown. Buena had the ball in the red zone five times, but three of those possessions ended with a turnover on downs.
The Colts also had a costly interception on their first drive of the game that turned out to be the turning point. Buena took the opening kickoff and drove to the Red Mountain 13, knocking the Mountain Lions back on their heels. But quarterback Rafael Adames was intercepted by Justin Fitzgerald, and on the first play for Red Mountain, Aeron Carr took a handoff 89 yards for a touchdown, turning the tide entirely.
The Mountain Lions never looked back from there, as the Colts seemed to be shellshocked after the two-play swing.
“It was a great start,” Wisniewski said. “It helped us a lot and gave us a lot of positive momentum going the rest of the game.”
Red Mountain’s offense was also firing on all cylinders, passing and running the ball effectively. Quarterback Mason Thorman, back after a one-week suspension last week for violating team rules, was sharp all night, completing 17 of 23 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Drake Pierre caught two of Thorman’s touchdown passes and had 88 receiving yards on the night. Carr finished with 118 rushing yards and also had 52 receiving yards with two total touchdowns. The Mountain Lions rushed for 312 yards as a team.
“We basically just got back to our old stuff,” Thorman said. “I, personally, have been thinking too much during the games. I got back to doing what I was doing in the beginning of the season, which is just go out and play and just have fun. I just threw the ball where I thought my receivers would be.
"Our offense is peaking at the right time. This is the playoffs. This is where we want to peak. We had a couple setbacks in the beginning of the season, some hard losses, but as a team we’re just coming together as a unit right now.”
Buena coach Ryan Scherling thought his team shot itself in the foot all night, especially in the red zone.
“Our guys played hard,” Scherling said. “They came out and competed from the get go. We killed ourselves with penalties. That’s kind of been our Achilles heel all year, but it hasn’t hurt us until we played a good team like Red Mountain, and they made us pay for it.”
Red Mountain will play fourth-seeded Brophy in the second round in a rematch of the teams' Week 3 game, which the Mountain Lions won 33-31.
“Brophy is going to want us,” Wisniewski said. “We beat them already. We outscored them once, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it again. But we’re going to give it our best college try.”
Red Mountain 45, Buena 6
Buena 0 0 6 0 - 6
RM 7 14 21 3 - 45
First Downs 20 23
Rushing 7-178 24-312
Comp-Att-Int 15-34-2 18-24-0
Passing yards- 169 221
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties- Yards 12-107 11-140
RM- Carr 89 run (Tani kick)
RM- Limbs 3 run (Tani kick)
RM- Carr 10 pass from Thorman (Tani kick)
RM- Pierre 3 pass from Thorman (Tani kick)
RM- Pierre 4 pass from Thorman (Tani kick)
B- Taylor 15 pass from Adames (Adames run fail)
RM- Plourd 53 run (Tani kick)
RM- Tani 29 FG