In an attempt to get his team’s offense going, Mesa Red Mountain coach Jim Jones called for a pass to the end zone in the waning moments of the first half.
The pass didn’t light the intended fire under the offense, but it did result in a crucial touchdown in the Mountain Lions’ 16-3 win at home over Scottsdale Horizon Thursday night.
With Red Mountain leading 7-0 and less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter, Horizon was backed up to its own 5-yard line with the ball. Red Mountain held two timeouts and the Mountain Lions used them after first- and second-down stops in hopes of having time left on the clock and a short field to use for a score.
A Red Mountain penalty then put that plan in jeopardy, giving the Huskies a first down.
Two plays later, however, Red Mountain recovered a Horizon fumble at the 23-yard line. On the first play, with just more than a minute left in the half, Mountain Lions quarterback Gavin Mack lobbed a ball six yards deep in the end zone, and wide receiver Bryant Williams made a leaping, fingertip catch for a touchdown.
“We were sloppy offensively; we couldn’t get anything going, so the idea was to try to get our offense fired up,” Jones said.
“We’ve got to establish our offense, establish momentum and then keep it going, but we didn’t do that tonight.”
Though the extra point failed, Red Mountain took a 13-0 lead into the locker room at the half. The two-touchdown lead seemed insurmountable.
The Mountain Lions’ offense struggled all night. Though they totaled 357 yards, 82 of them came on a single second-quarter scoring drive, and the team gave away 102 yards on 14 penalties.
Horizon’s offense struggled even more, partly because of Red Mountain’s pressure defense, which led to four quarterback sacks and held Horizon quarterback Greg Djinis to 6-of-18 passing.
The Huskies finished with 119 yards and moved only 4 yards on its lone scoring drive, kicking a field goal after taking possession at the Red Mountain 10-yard line.