Missed opportunities, made opportunities, late-game drama, special teams swings. A neighborhood rivalry.
It's little wonder Mountain View defensive back Justin Yetter's mind was clear as mud when Red Mountain missed a 26-yard field goal in overtime and the Toros streaked onto the field in celebration, a 10-7 overtime victory which was a thriller and head-scratcher all kneaded together.
"The kids have been busting their butt," Mountain View coach Chad DeGrenier said. "I'm just proud of their effort and how they've rallied around each other."
First, some background. Yetter helped force the issue (and overtime) when Red Mountain drove down the field for a possible game-winning score (touchdown or field goal). The Lions' Aeron Carr churned three yards for a first down on fourth-and-2 at the Mountain View 7-yard line.
Tied at 7-7 with 18 seconds left in regulation and no timeouts, Lions coach Ron Wisniewski later said the plan was to throw the ball three times and, as last resort, kick a field goal. But on first-and-goal, Yetter, who later said the Lions ran this same play earlier in the game and on film, cut in front of Mason Thorman's quick pass in the flat and ran it back 98 yards for a touchdown.
Penalties by both teams on the play negated the game-winning score for Mountain View, but it ultimately led to overtime instead of a Red Mountain victory.
"It really does pay off," Yetter said of football studies and paying attention.
Mountain View wound up with the ball first to begin overtime, but the Lions' defense - which stuffed the Toros' offense almost all night - held Mountain View to a 32-yard field goal by Luis Bustillos.
Red Mountain moved the ball from the 10-yard line down to the seven, but the Toros stuffed two runs and a pass and forced the Lions to attempt a tying field goal from 27 yards.
It was wide right and the visitor bleachers quickly emptied onto and around Red Mountain's field.
"I almost passed out I was so happy," Yetter said of the missed kick.
The wild ending concluded a night of defense and special teams. The Lions kicked themselves afterward for missed opportunities, especially in the passing game. The Toros' Cameron Rogers also blocked a short Red Mountain field goal attempt with 4:55 left in regulation.
Wisniewski said that was a factor in trying for three attempts into the end zone in the final 18 seconds of the fourth quarter that wound up being the Thorman interception.
"I'd run that play again," he said. "No regrets.
"...The game was ours, all we had to do was put (the ball) in. You have to make plays in the red zone, and, again, we didn't. We didn't finish."
The Lions (5-2) are on a two-game losing skid, and their potent offense which rolled up points like few others in the state to begin the season, has hit hard times the past two weeks.
Colton Plourd and Aeron Carr helped Red Mountain rush for 244 yards on the night, but the vaunted passing game struggled while Mountain View's coverage and tackling kept Carr and Drake Pierre from making big plays down the field.
But the Lions did a number on Mountain View's offense at the same time. The Toros (5-2) went to Chase Funk exclusively at quarterback after halftime instead of John Clark because Funk was a running threat.
That, along with Mountain View getting a hand on a Red Mountain punt, helped the Toros to their only touchdown of the night when Funk fired a 7-yard pass to Hansen Williams with two minutes left in the third quarter to forge a 7-7 tie.
"Special teams has been special for us the past two weeks," DeGrenier said. "It's a big phase of the game."
Carr had given Red Mountain the lead in the second quarter when he took a swing pass and cut back four times across the field for a 19-yard touchdown.
That was about it for offense on this night, and while a return to health at a couple positions (running back, wide receiver) is possible for Red Mountain moving forward, Wisniewski believes his team will get its "early-season swagger" back after storming off to a 5-0 start to the season. The big test may not get taken until a date with surging Highland to end the regular season on Oct. 26.
It didn't happen until late, but Friday night was Mountain View's. The Toros, amidst an unprecedented losing season in 2011, were hammered by Red Mountain in the process, but now there's a five-game winning streak being enjoyed on the west part of Brown Road.
"We're coming back," Yetter said. "Everyone thought we were done the past couple years. We're still here. We're the best team in Mesa right now."
Mountain View 10, Red Mountain 7 (OT)
MV 0 0 7 0 3 -- 10
RM 0 7 0 0 0 -- 7
First downs: MV 10, RM 16
Rushing: MV 21-62, RM 35-244
Passing: MV 11-19-74-0, RM 13-26-127-1
Fumbles: MV 1-1, RM 0-0
Penalties: MV 2-15, RM 7-40
RM - Carr 19 pass from Thorman (Duran kick)
MV - Williams 7 pass from Funk (Bustillos kick)
MV - Bustillos 32 FG
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.