Call it a quick start to the football season for Red Mountain.
The Mountain Lions scored on their third play from scrimmage Friday and it helped them to a 24-14 road victory over Avondale Westview.
It wasn’t the ideal game to start the season for Red Mountain, considering Westview had been one of the premier 5A-II programs, and the Lions started junior Mason Thorman at quarterback for the first time.
But all went well for Red Mountain. Thorman found out he has a brilliant receiver in Aeron Carr, a solid running back option in Cougar Garcia and a defense that can make big plays.
Carr had six catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns; Garcia rushed for 73 yards on 16 carries and added another score; and Red Mountain’s defense forced three turnovers, including two interceptions by newcomer Marcus Brantley.
Thorman had a solid game, completing 9 of 18 passes for 181 yards, two TDs and one interception that came late in the first half.
“I think we played pretty well,” Thorman said. “This was a little quicker than the junior varsity (from last year).”
Thorman hit Carr with a short pass and with his speed Carr got to the corner and raced 74 yards for the first touchdown of the season for Red Mountain.
“He had his ups and downs tonight, but anytime you can get a win on the road with a junior quarterback starting his first game you have to be happy,” Red Mountain coach Ron Wisneiwski said.
For the rest of the half, the two teams scuffled making mistakes and getting a lot of yellow flags. A Steven Andrews 30-yard field goal made the score 10-0 at the half.
The only glitch for Red Mountain came on the opening drive of the second half. The Knights touched the kickoff before it went out-of-bounds at the 3-yard line, but drove 97 yards for their first score of the season, a 15-yard pass from quarterback Blake Hahn to Ivan Townsend.
On that drive the Knights converted on a fake punt to keep the football.
Red Mountain answered early in the fourth with another Thorman-to-Carr connection of 41 yards to go up 17-7. The Lions got the football when Trenton Smothers recovered a Westview fumble.
Garcia’s 5-yard run late in the fourth sealed the win. And it was called a big win by Wisneiwski.
“We wanted to play these guys,” Wisneiwski said. “We knew they were good and would be a challenge. They will win eight or nine games and that will give us a lot of power points.”
He was also happy with his team’s defensive effort against the high-powered running game Westview is known for. The Knights had 191 yards on the ground, but less than 300 yards in total offense.
“We found out we were bigger, stronger and faster than they were,” Wisneiwski said. “We’re a bigger school. We should be bigger, stronger and faster.”