Perfection is so incredibly rare in sports that when it occurs, it is truly something special to watch. Red Mountain star Lance Lawson was essentially perfect Friday night, completing all four of his throws for two touchdowns, while also rushing for 63 yards, en route to a 14 - 0 Red Mountain victory over the Skyline Coyotes.
“He’s invaluable,” said Red Mountain coach Mike Peterson, referring to his star studded senior. “He played a lot of quarterback tonight, it was the only way we could get anything going.”
Before the game, emotions were riding high as Lawson received an award for all of his incredible athletic achievements in a Red Mountain uniform. Most notably, Lawson claimed the record for the most career all-purpose yards in Arizona high school football history.
From the opening kick, Lawson’s presence and impact were unrivaled. On the second play of the game, Lawson threw a screen pass to wide receiver Gerald Wilbon, who took the pass 50 yards down the field for the game’s first touchdown.
“We’ve been working on our connection this whole season,” said Wilbon, “It’s been getting a lot better and it’s still getting better.”
The Red Mountain defense looked dominant Friday night, holding Skyline to 201 total yards and forcing three turnovers.
“Our defensive coordinator is an amazing coach,” said Lawson. “He gave us the perfect calls all game and we got the shutout.”
The low scoring affair that ensued was atypical for Red Mountain, as this was the first game this season the team had failed to eclipse 27 points. The lack of offense production can be directly correlated to the incredible number of penalties the Lions incurred. 18 penalties totaling 158 yards, including a called back touchdown, certainly limited any momentum Red Mountain could muster.
“It was hard to get in a flow,” said Peterson. “I’m sure it disrupted their offense, it disrupted our offense. They called it really tight.”
The loss for Skyline was a brutal one, as injuries to their starting quarterback and running back made their uphill climb that much steeper. Steven Castle, their starting quarterback, and Aaron Wood, their starting running back, were two of Skyline’s more impressive players and their absence was readily apparent.
While their victory wasn’t pretty, it clinched the East Valley region for Red Mountain and secured their spot in the state playoffs. Going forward, this squad’s only goal is to bring a state championship home with them to Mesa.
“We still need to fix a couple things on our offense,” said Lawson. “We shoot ourselves in the foot a lot with penalties, but we will clean up a couple things here and there I think we can make a really good run in the playoffs.