One game is in the books, and Red Mountain still has no idea if it has a viable replacement for graduated star Marcus Brantley in the backfield.
But if the passing game keeps doing this, who cares?
Quarterback Mason Thorman was 21-of-29 for 441 yards and five touchdowns as No. 7 Red Mountain rallied from a nine-point deficit to defeat No. 8 Avondale Westview, 46-26, in a Division I football game at Red Mountain on Friday.
Thorman had a pair of 80-yard touchdown passes early to keep the Mountain Lions close and then stepped on the gas in the second half while the team’s defense figured out Westview’s running game.
Red Mountain (1-0) scored the game’s final 26 points after trailing 26-20 early in the third quarter.
“It was a slugfest all the way to the end,” Thorman said, “and in that second half we came out and slugged.”
Drake Pierre was the main recipient of Thorman’s passes, catching eight of them for 219 yards and three touchdowns. He went through a stretch a season ago where he lost confidence and would drop balls, but he and Thorman went to a local park routinely this offseason to make sure 2012 would be different.
“I would just stand 10 yards away from him and throw bullets as hard as I could to get his hands better,” Thorman said. “I can’t ask much more of my receivers to go up and get the balls like he did.”
Aeron Carr had a big game, too, hauling in five catches for 119 yards and two scores.
Westview moved the ball at will in the earlygoing, taking a lead of 23-14 with 1:35 remaining in the second quarter. The Mountain Lions answered with a score before halftime to cut the deficit to a field goal, and outscored the Knights 26-3 after intermission.
“If you look back over over the last two years here, our defensive staff has made great adjustments and done far better in the second half," Red Mountain coach Ron Wisniewski said.
Red Mountain did it without Dalton Kirk, who led the team in tackles last year but tore his anterior cruciate ligament in practice this week. He will miss the rest of the season.
The Mountain Lions had negative yardage rushing the ball in the first half and finished with only 23 yards on 24 carries for the game, but the passing attack was so potent it didn’t matter.
Wisniewski said Westview’s game plan of stacking the box gave the aerial attack its openings. He has confidence his team can run the ball if needed.
“It’s not a concern,” Wisniewski said. “Our offense is a take-what-you-give-us. Next week, when people look at this film and say, ‘Oh, yeah, we better back up,” we’ll run for 250 yards. We’ll take what you give us. They dared us to throw it, and that’s what we did.”
Score by quarters
1 2 3 4 F
WV 13 10 3 0
RM 7 13 20 6
First downs: Westview: 13. Red Mountain: 16.
Rushes-Yards: Westview: 37-136. Red Mountain: 24-23.
Passing Yards: Westview: 122. Red Mountain: 441.
Comp-Att-Int: Westview: 5-12-0. Red Mountain: 21-29-1.
Fumbles-Lost: Westview: 8-3. Red Mountain: 2-0.
Penalties-Yards: Westview: 9-94. Red Mountain: 7-55.
W - Mitchell 34 pass from Provchy, Valdez-Paz kick
R - Carr 80 pass from Thorman, Duran kick
W - Girk 36 pass from Provchy, kick failed
R - Pierre 80 pass from Thorman, Duran kick
W - Valdez-Paz 25 FG
W - Provchy 3 run, Valdez-Paz kick
R - Pierre 39 pass from Thorman, Duran kick
W- Valdez-Paz 35 FG
R - Thorman 5 run, Duran kick
R - Pierre 38 pass from Thorman, Duran kick
R - Carr 14 pass from Thorman, kick failed
R - Plourd 13 run, run failed