Welcome to the big time, Red Mountain.
The Mountain Lions were waiting for their moment and it came Friday night as No. 5 Red Mountain shocked No. 1 Brophy, 33-31, at Phoenix College in Division I play when quarterback Mason Thorman found Drake Pierre for a 6-yard TD pass with 21.5 seconds left.
“This is to show everybody and our own kids that we are right there now,” Red Mountain coach Ron Wisniewski said. “We can compete for a state championship.”
Red Mountain (3-0) rallied the entire night but saved its best for last.
Brophy (2-2) seemed to have the game under control when the Broncos forced Red Mountain to punt with 4:47 remaining in the game after Conner Martinez sacked Thorman at the Mountain Lions 26.
Brophy set out to eat the clock and seal the victory as Marche Dennard grinded out three straight runs for 21 yards, moving the ball to the Brophy 49.
Dennard, who rushed 23 times for 187 yards and two touchdowns, was wearing down the Mountain Lions.
On the next play, Dennard took the handoff but was stripped by Red Mountain’s Diego Hernandez. The ball laid on the ground when Hernandez picked it up and rumbled down field until Broncos quarterback Tyler Bruggman tripped him up at the 20.
“I slapped the ball out and it was on the ground there for a couple of seconds so I picked it up and started running for my life,” said Hernandez, who wears a XXL glove and had a one-handed interception in the first half. “I was amazed it was actually on the ground.”
Brophy didn’t buckle and forced a fourth-and-4 at its own 14 with about a minute remaining but Thorman found Pierre on the sideline for a 7-yard gain to keep the game-winning drive alive.
“Red Mountain had a good game plan and played well,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said.
Again Brophy’s defense forced a fourth down but Thorman found Pierre along the sideline and the shifty wideout made two Broncos miss before scoring from 6 yards out.
“The coach called in the play and I knew it was coming to me,” said Pierre, who caught 11 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns. “I don’t know, I got lucky and made the play.”
Thorman amassed 206 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-38 passing. He also added two 1-yard TD runs.
Red Mountain does have two state titles in its trophy case, but those came when former coach Jimmy Jones led the Mountain Lions to back-to-back state titles in 2000 and 2001.
“We haven’t been mentioned much lately,” Thorman said. “This definitely made a statement tonight. We are a team to be reckoned with.”
Red Mountain 7 7 6 13 - 33
Brophy 14 3 7 7 - 31
First Downs: Red Mountain 22, Brophy 22
Rushing: Red Mountain 29-82, Brophy 32-243
Comp-Att-Int: Red Mountain 26-39-0 , Brophy 9-24-3
Passing Yards: Red Mountain 231, Brophy 140
Fumbles-Lost: Red Mountain 3-1, Brophy 5-1
Penalties-Yards: Red Mountain 8-66, Brophy 11-85
B – Bruggman 1 run (Mourikes kick)
RM – Pierre 46 pass from Thorman (Duran kick)
B – Dennard 11 pass from Bruggman (Mourikes kick)
RM – Thorman 1 run (Duran kick)
B – Mourikes 21 FG
RM – Thorman 1 run (kick failed)
B – Dennard 3 run (Mourikes kick)
RM – Cortazzo 35 pass from Carr (Duran kick
B – Dennard 1 run (kick failed)
RM – Pierre 6 pass from Thorman