A couple of long passes helped Red Mountain pull away from North Canyon late, leading the Lions to a 24-6 victory.
North Canyon received the opening kickoff. Two minutes into the game, it was Red Mountain's defense which struck first, when Brett Cerqua intercepted Rattlers quarterback Dominic Portocarrero and returned it approximately 30 yards for a touchdown, making it 7-0 with Colton Sheley's extra point. The two teams then traded punts, and the Rattlers went on the move. They drove deep into Lions territory, scoring a touchdown, but having it called back by a penalty. They settled for a 33 yard field goal attempt, but the kick was no good.
The Lions took over at the 20 with just seconds remaining in the first quarter, than ate up 8 minutes on an 18 play drive, lead by new starting tailback Derek Molina. The Lions also had a touchdown called back by a penalty on this drive, and settled for a field goal attempt of 23 yards, which was good by Sheley, making it 10-0 with about 4 and a half minutes left until halftime.
The Rattlers then had a great chance to get on the board. After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, Portocarrero hit Devin McKendrick on a short pass, who appeared headed for a 65 yard touchdown. However, Derek Molina caught him from behind at the 3, stripped the ball, and Joe Soria fell on the ball in the end zone for the Lions touchback. On the very next play, Red Mountain fumbled it right back to North Canyon, with Roland Pierce recovering at the Lions 42. The Lions stopped the Rattlers on 4th down at the 34, and the half ended with two punts and the Lions leading 10-0.
Red Mountain started the second half with a punt and then North Canyon finally got on the board with a 5 minute drive. After having another touchdown called back by penalty, they finally scored without a yellow hanky on the field, on a Portocarrero 33 yard touchdown pass to McKendrick. The extra point failed, making it 10-6 with 5:13 left in the 3rd. The two teams traded punts, with each punter getting off a 50 plus yard punt in the process. The Lions started their next drive from their own 30 after Derek Molina's only kick return of the night, a short 10 yarder. It took the Lions just one play to score, as quarterback Derek Mendoza hit Julian Madison on a 70 yard touchdown pass. The PAT made it 17-6 with under a minute left in the 3rd period.
The Rattlers went three and out and the Lions put the game away thanks to another long pass, this time 50 yards from Mendoza to Cody Saul which put the ball on the 4. From there, big Craig Frum bulled in for the 4 yard score, making it 24-6 with about 9 minutes remaining. North Canyon did not threaten the rest of the night, and the Lions evened their record at 1-1 with the win.
Bottom Line: North Canyon certainly had their chances in the first half to score at least 14 points, but the penalties and the fumble inside the 5 were devastating. Once Red Mountain scored their two offensive touchdowns, the Rattlers could not recover.
For North Canyon, Potrocarrero had a nice game passing, and is coming along nicely in his sophomore season. Paul Dobson ran the ball hard, and Rick Spinell did a good job receiving. Defensive standouts were Alex Johnson, Tyler Bennett and Justin Hulsebos.
For Red Mountain, the offense was rejuvenated with Molina playing tailback. Brett Cerqua was everywhere on offense and defense. Julian Madison had the touchdown and was solid in the secondary.