Red Mountain quarterback Caleb Murray-Thomas tossed three touchdown passes and the Mountain Lion defense forced four turnovers en route to a 29-13 victory at Skyline Friday night in a battle of Division I Mesa schools who are hoping to continue playing football in the postseason.
The Mountain Lions (5-5), ranked 10th in the AIA Max Preps Division I rankings, jumped on top on the first play from scrimmage. Linebacker Diego Hernandez sacked Coyotes quarterback Michael Amado in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Red Mountain lead. The next two Mountain Lion scores came on TD passes from Murray-Thomas to wideout Terrell Tyler of 46 and 55 yards. Both were short passes where Tyler did most of the work with his speed. Then with 11 seconds left in the first half, Red Mountain linebacker Conrad Burnap picked off an Amado pass and raced 45 yards for a touchdown and a 22-7 Mountain Lion halftime advantage.
Amado did hit Skyline wide receiver Corey Anderson on a slip screen that allowed Anderson to race 77 yards for a touchdown in the first half. Amado also hooked up with tight end Sal Martinez in the final period for a 32-yard scoring strike. For Red Mountain, Burnap lined up at fullback and caught a two-yard TD toss from Murray-Thomas in the third quarter that pushed the Mountain Lion lead to 29-7.
In addition to Burnap's pick-six, Red Mountain's defense notched interceptions from Tyler Walker and Kaiden Molina; while Xavier Davis recovered a fumble for the Mountain Lions.
Skyline (6-4) ends its season with losses in four of its last five games, while Red Mountain rebounded from a 1-4 start to finish at the .500 mark after playing a difficult schedule. Both schools will learn their playoff fates on Saturday morning.