After a close first half in which Red Mountain hung around, the Huskies came out with a purpose in the 2nd half and rolled to a 30-14 victory over the Mountain Lions at Red Mountain Stadium.
From the first possession of the game, it was obvious that Red Mountain's strategy was to shorten the game and try and keep Hamilton's offense off the field as much as possible. They ran off as much time between plays as they possibly could, and had there been a 25 second play clock in the stadium, they probably would have been whistled for several delay of game penalties. After receiving the kickoff, Red Mountain ran 3 running plays, with Derek Molina not in the starting lineup, and then punted. Hamilton drove from their own 48 to the Lion's 9 before settling for a 26 yard field goal by Yannick Metz for a 3-0 lead with 8:06 on the clock.
Red Mountain was able to pick up one first down on their next possession, then were forced to punt again, managing to run over 3 and a half minutes off the clock in the process. It took less than 2 minutes for the Huskies to drive 81 yards to a touchdown, the score occurring on a Drew Terrell 12 yard run. Metz's PAT made it 10-0 with the clock showing 2:46.
Red Mountain again was forced to punt after a sack, and the Huskies went on the move again. This time, however, they fumbled, and Joe Soria recovered for the Lions at the Red Mountain 17. Red Mountain advanced to their own 48 where they faced a 4th and 1. They lined up in punt formation with Cody Saul all alone split to the right with no one covering him. Unfortunately, Colton Sheley threw the ball too high, and it bounced off of Saul's outstretched fingers. Hamilton's next drive ended before it started with a holding penalty, and the ensuing short punt gave the Lions the ball at their own 33 with 4:48 remaining in the first half.
Finally, Molina was inserted at tailback, and the Lions had their best drive of the evening. Eating up over 4 minutes, they marched 67 yards to a touchdown, scoring on a 4 yard toss from Derek Mendoza to Joseph Lancaster. The PAT by Sheley cut the lead to 10-7 with 34 seconds left. The Huskies connected on a few passes, moving to the Lions 19 with 1.4 seconds left, and then Metz attempted a 36 yard field goal…twice. The first try looked good, but the Lions used a time out before the snap ala Mike Shanahan. The second attempt was wide right and just short, and the halftime score was 10-7 Huskies.
The sleeping tiger was awakened in the second half. Hamilton took the 2nd half kickoff and stormed down the field, breaking off four 10-plus yard rushes to start the drive and finishing it 2 plays later with a 3 yard scoring run by Zach Bauman. Nate McDonald hit the PAT making it 17-7 at the 9:34 mark.
The Lions only gained 9 yards on 3 plays, and then punted. Again, Hamilton drove to a score, this time using a no huddle offense. The 72 yard drive ended with Zak Hambsch running it in from 12 yards out. McDonald's kick failed making it 23-7 with 5:01 remaining in the 3rd.
Hamilton got the ball back when Ryan Milus intercepted Mendoza at the Husky 45. Once again, they drove to a touchdown, with Travis Dean going in from the 6. Metz, who had been pulled from the previous two PAT attempts because the coaches were mad at him for missing the field goal, was back to connect on this PAT and make the score 30-7 with 11:50 left in the game. Red Mountain continued to eat up clock with their deliberate offense. They took over 4 and a half minutes to move from their 20 to the Husky's 49, where a 4th down pass attempt failed.
On their next drive, Hamilton appeared to be going in for one final score, as Hambsch took a quarterback keeper around the right side and lunged for the end zone. However, as he was about to land just short of the goal line, the ball squirted out of his hand. Julian Madison picked it up for the Lions right around the goal line and raced the length of the field for a touchdown. Sheley's kick ended the scoring with 4:22 left. The Huskies ate up the rest of the clock, coming inches from scoring with under a minute left. Instead of going for another score from the 1, Hamilton took a knee and ran out the clock.
Hamilton dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The slow down tactics of Red Mountain were effective in the first half, when the Huskies made a couple of mistakes to kill 2 drives, but the Lions could not stop the powerful Husky offense in the second half.
For Hamilton it has to go to the offensive line, opening holes for Zach Bauman and Dante Alexander running, and giving both quarterbacks Dean and Hambsch time to throw. On defense, it goes to Michael Sylvestre.
Red Mountain's game balls go to Julian Madison, for numerous tackles and the fumble return touchdown and Brett Cerqua.