Red Mountain made a statement Friday night.
After falling short in several close games to ranked opponents early this season, Red Mountain is surging at the right time. The Mountain Lions dominated city rival Mesa High 39-0 in a division I section III contest at Red Mountain.
Red Mountain (3-4, 2-0) picked up its second consecutive win by using a potent aerial attack and a steady defense that forced Mesa to punt six times, while picking off Mesa quarterback Chris Shelton twice.
Red Mountain quarterback Caleb Murray-Thomas threw for 171 of his 211 passing yards in the first half. Backup Brennan Dobson added a pair of touchdown passes late in the second half, to go along with a 10-yard touchdown reception from Murray-Thomas early in the third quarter.
“We showed what kind of team we can be when we execute,” said Red Mountain head coach Ron Wisneiwski.
“Caleb threw the ball well tonight and our defense was solid all game.”
Mesa (3-4, 0-2) never advanced further then Red Mountain’s 39-yard line. The closest the Jackrabbits came to scoring was in the first quarter, when Turrell Pietz-Noble returned a Red Mountain kickoff nearly 100 yards for a touchdown. But a holding penalty nullified the return, and Mesa’s offense would never sniff the end-zone the rest of the game.
Red Mountain’s first score came midway through the first quarter, when Murray-Thomas connected with Diego Hernandez on a 2-yard pass, completing 72-yard drive. The duo connected on the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead.
Kicker Carter Tani added a 31-yard field goal late in the second quarter to boost Red Mountain’s lead to 11-0. Dobson nearly made it 18-0 before the half, but after hauling in a 33-yard reception from Thomas-Murray, Dobson fumbled the ball near the goal line, and Mesa recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
But Red Mountain jumped all over Mesa in the third quarter to put the game away.
Junior Kiwan Lear took the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and an 18-0 lead. The Red Mountain defense forced a quick three and out before Murray-Thomas connected with Dobson from 10 yards and a 25-0 lead, and the rout was on.
Red Mountain also got touchdown receptions from tight end Brian Smith and wideout Devon Currie to cap the scoring.
Red Mountain 39 Mesa 0
First Downs: RM 19, Mesa 11
Rushing: RM 21-97, Mesa 26-88
Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yards-TD-INT): RM 18-27-282-4, Mesa 14-28-118-0-2
Fumbles-lost: RM 1-1, Mesa 2-0
Penalties: RM 10-105, Mesa 6-75
Mesa 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Red Mtn 8 3 14 14 -- 39
RM – Diego Hernandez 2 pass from Murray-Thomas run (Hernandez pass from Murray-Thomas)
RM – Tani 31 FG
RM – Kiwan Lear 97 kick return (Tani kick)
RM – Dobson 10 reception from Murray-Thomas (Tani kick)
RM – Brian Smith 9 pass from Dobson (Tani kick)
RM – Devon Currie 6 pass from Dobson (Tani kick)