The Red Mountain Mountain Lions are playing the Mesa Jackrabbits on Friday, following the team’s victory over Brophy College Prep last week.
Leading into the second game of the playoffs, the Red Mountain football team has a 7-4 record, and has won two of their last five games.
Since 2017, the team has won the East Valley Region Championship four times. Their most recent conquest was a few weeks ago.
Red Mountain has an abundance of loyalty around the team in its community. The Red Mountain Football Touchdown Club is committed to supporting the football program’s athletes, parents and coaches. The organization holds events like the annual Red Mountain carnival.
Sara Peavler, president of the Red Mountain Football Touchdown Club, said that planning for the carnival is already underway.
“I think it brings everybody together,” Peavler said. “There’s something for everybody, from the little ones to the older kids, so many adults come just to relax and enjoy the environment. I mean, who doesn’t love cotton candy?”
The club accomplishes most of the fundraising ahead of the season so that families and coaches can focus on the football team, the program and preparing for games.
The team started the season off strong with a win against Mater Dei Catholic. Their longest winning streak this year is two games, in contrast with last season’s four back-to-back victories.
In order for Red Mountain to succeed, teamwork was a skill that needed to be improved throughout the season.
Jefferson Giles, one of four captains, said that the team has gotten closer and bonded more as this season’s gone on. He said that everyone is on the same page going towards the playoffs.
“We’ve all been playing with each other for a long time so it really was a matter of getting the clicks out and hanging out outside of football, like being actual friends and not just teammates,” Giles said. “Hanging out with each other and actually genuinely caring for each other both helps on and off the field.”
There is a clear difference in the ratio between points for and against the team. This season, the PF, points the team has scored, is 291. The PA in contrast is a shorter number at 262, representing the number of points scored against Red Mountain. This ranks amongst the best in the 6A East Valley and is crucial to the team’s success this season.
The team has no difficulty finding itself on leaderboards season after season. This year, Red Mountain is ranked first place in the 6A East Valley Section.
While Red Mountain has competed against some of the same schools for multiple seasons, some still remain a challenge to this day.
One of the team’s hardest games to play was against Mountain View, according to Giles. Regardless, the team was able to defeat them with a final score of 21-14.
“They’re our biggest rivals and we all just had to click into that next gear to get a win against them,” Giles said. “That was the game we all really stepped up and played our hardest I feel like.”
This defeat marks the second season in a row that Red Mountain has won against Mountain View.
Tanner DeMassa, a captain on the team, leads the team in sacks with 6.0. He said that coming together as a group helped them get into where they currently are.
“I think it was just that some of our team didn’t believe in a couple other people on our team and everyone bought into each other and really just believed,” DeMassa said. “We’ve come together more since then.”
As for the game on Friday, the team is confident and prepared. DeMassa said that their game against Brophy College Prep came down to minor mistakes.
“We had our first playoff game Friday night, that was way too close and stressful, but I think we’re in a good position right now and we feel like the championship is open,” Giles said. “We can go out and take it for sure.”