October 23, 2004
If Red Mountain coach Jim Jones was not fully concentrating on his game Friday night, it’s understandable.
With the Lions making short work of Phoenix North Canyon, 52-14, in a 5A nonregion game, he could keep his ear tuned to the publicaddress announcer’s updates on another local contest, as his son Preston’s Highland squad was pulling off an upset against top-ranked Hamilton.
"I’m more excited about that than this one here," he admitted. "That’s the biggest win he’s ever had. That can put him in the playoffs."
Red Mountain (7-1) didn’t waste any time taking control of its game and even got a lucky bounce to boot. On its first drive, Channing Trotter fumbled at the 11, but the ball bounced right into the hands of offensive lineman Ian Pena, who covered the remaining distance for the score.
"I was just trying to go up there and block somebody else and I saw Channing lose it," said the senior. "I just picked it up and ran with it."
The sixth-ranked Lions added another TD on a 28-yard run from Trotter but only came up with a field goal in the second quarter as the Rattlers (4-4) stacked the box to kill the run.
"We wanted to have a normal run game, but we had to revert to passing short routes," said quarterback Maurice Hector. "That opened up the run game."
Hector hit Greg Bird for 60 yards to set up a 2-yard Trotter TD, then connected with Bird for a 22-yarder in the third quarter. He found the end zone twice in the final period on a 5-yarder to Jim Danhauer and a 22-yarder to Nick Miller.
Miller had a frustrating night with four big punt returns called back by penalties, although he also had an interception. The penalties bothered Jones.
"We had both aspects of the game working for us tonight," he said. "But we’re going to have to work on those penalties. Come playoff time and playing more evenly matched teams, we can’t make mistakes like that. That’s what killed us in the Mountain View game."
Bird capped the scoring with a 23-yard fumble return with three seconds left in the game.