Parsons, defense lead Red Mountain to 2-0 start - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Parsons, defense lead Red Mountain to 2-0 start

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Posted: Friday, September 3, 2010 10:27 pm | Updated: 3:43 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

It won't be this easy, not with key positions still under a platoon system and the Fiesta Region schedule coming. And certainly not after last week's heart-attack helper comeback against Westwood.

Still, two games into the Ron Wisniewski era at Red Mountain, and his college influence has rubbed off the right way on his players. Contrary to last week, the Lions raced out of the gate offensively and maintained control with its defense in a 34-8 victory against Corona del Sol on Friday.

Now 2-0 to start the season and with an offense that has put up 66 points in the past six quarters, the Lions divided up into small groups, schmoozed with their position coaches and walked off the field a happy bunch.

Doing the running on this night was Xavier Parsons, whose 5-foot-7, 210-pound body pounded his way both up the middle and around the edges of Corona's defense.

Parsons had 27 carries for 145 yards last season, and didn't play last week (coach's decision). But his Red Mountain starting tailback debut couldn't have gone better.

Hiding behind an offensive line which gave the Lions an average of eight yards per carry, Parsons had 13 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns -- scoring runs of 55 and 23 yards.

"Those guys should get all the credit," Parsons said of his O-line. "They've busted their butts. Just pound it, pound it, pound it and bust through the daylight."

"He's a bowling ball," Wisniewski said.

When Parsons wasn't running, the quarterback tandem of Clint Cogswell and Aaron Eiseler shared duties effectively. They threw for 149 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers.

Five different Lions caught passes, led by Billy Freeman (5 catches, 39 yards, rushing TD) and Coleton Thornton (5 receptions, 67 yards).

Defense was stingy. Corona (1-1) was coming off an emotional win last week against Desert Mountain, and Dominic Mercurio was a catalyst. But the Lions bottled him up and the passing game had nowhere to go.

Mercurio busted loose for a 54-yard touchdown on a swing pass and a great cut move to the sideline, but that play accounted for 40 percent of the Aztecs' total offense on the night. And when the offense sputtered in the third quarter, Wisniewski praised his defense for doing the same to Corona.

"We have to get a lot of little things, fundamentals, fixed," Aztecs coach Zane Zamenski said. "They aren't un-fixable but it's going to take a lot of work by the kids and us coaches to get them right again. We're not pushing panic buttons or anything, but with what's coming up (on the schedule) there are a lot of things we need to fix."

The Aztecs' youth and lack of depth didn't help on this hot night against a spread-'em-out offense like Red Mountain.

Corona will see a similar style in Desert Ridge next week. Red Mountain wants to instill this offensive fluidity on every team it sees.

"We don't want to and can't be one-dimensional, not during league play," Wisniewski said. "We'll take what the defense dictates, whether it's run 40 times or throw 40 times, but we've been balanced. At least, that's the plan."

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