Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Red Mtn. enters title talk by rallying to edge BrophySep 7, 2012
By Don Ketchum
If Mesa Red Mountain wasn’t already in the conversation regarding possible Division I state football champions, the Mountain Lions are now.
They made it official by rallying for an emotional 33-31 victory over Phoenix Brophy Prep at Phoenix College on Friday night (Sept. 7).
Red Mountain (3-0) did it with 21.5 seconds left on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Mason Thorman to Drake Pierre on a fourth-and-goal play.
The loss dropped Brophy, virtually everyone’s preseason No. 1 team, to 2-2.
“A reporter called me this week and asked me if we would be disappointed if we lost by 3 or even 7 points. Are you kidding?’’ Red Mountain coach Ron Wisniewski said.
“This is definitely our biggest win since I’ve been here. We beat (Peoria) Centennial at their place. We’re a good football team, and we showed everybody, including our own kids, that we are right there now.’’
Senior Mason Thorman also has entered the conversation as one of the state’s top quarterbacks.
He outplayed heralded Brophy senior signal caller Tyler Bruggman, completing 26 of 39 passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Pierre. Thorman also rushed for two touchdowns.
Bruggman, meanwhile, was just 9 of 23 for 139 yards with a touchdown and was intercepted three times. He also rushed for a 20-yard score to put Brophy on the board first just 47 seconds into the game.
That TD was set up by a 45-yard run by Marche Dennard on Brophy’s first play from scrimmage. Dennard finished with 192 yards on 27 carries. He rushed for two touchdowns and caught a TD pass.
It appeared Bruggman’s biggest play of the game would not be with his arm or his running, but with his tackling.
Brophy had rallied to take a 31-27 lead on a 1-yard dive by Dennard after falling behind on a razzle-dazzle pass/lateral from Thorman to Aeron Carr, with Carr completing a 35-yard scoring pass to Ethan Cortazzo.
Brophy was on the verge of running out the clock to win the game when Red Mountain linebacker Diego Hernandez picked up a fumble near midfield. He looked as if he would score, but was dragged down by Bruggman at the Brophy 20 with 2:24 to go.
Thorman got the Mountain Lions to the 6, where they appeared to stall. He threw an incompletion on second down and threw behind Pierre near the goal line on a third-down slant play.
There was one last chance.
Thorman got the ball to Pierre near the left sideline at around the 4-yard line. Pierre broke one tackle and sidestepped another defender to get into the end zone.
Pierre said he knew the ball would be going to him, but figured that Brophy might be thinking it would be another slant.
The distance must have seemed twice as long as it actually was.
Pierre tried to block everything out.
“I had tunnel vision,’’ he said.