west valley preps

Mountain Lions edged in playoff thriller

Two-point conversion play blown up to end MRHS’ season


AHWAUTUKEE — Mountain Pointe football coach Eric Lauer said if it would have been his team playing on the road, he would have gone for the two-point conversion and the win, too — just as Mountain Ridge coach Doug Madoski decided to do in Friday’s playoff game.

“It’s playoffs; you go for the win,” Lauer said of Madoski’s decision, which turned out to be a fake handoff and bootleg by Mountain Lion senior quarterback Brendan Anderson that Pride linebacker Demetrice "DJ" Johnson shut down in the backfield. The two-point conversion play effectively ended Mountain Ridge’s season, as the Mountain Lions came up short, 42-41.

The play also stole the thunder from an amazing drive over the final 1:35 of Friday’s first-round Class 6A matchup, capped by Anderson finding a leaping Terrance Hall in the back of the end zone, where he out-leaped two defenders, to haul in a 32-yard touchdown catch with 17.6 seconds left.

Mountain Pointe then recovered the ensuing onside kick and took a knee once to end the No. 9-seed Mountain Lions’ season with a 5-6 mark. The No. 8 Pride (8-3) advances to take on No. 1 Casteel in a Nov. 25 quarterfinal.

“At the end of the day, we came to win,” Madoski said of the decision to go for the 2-point conversion on the road, rather than take a chance against a capable Mountain Pride offense in overtime.“We knew most of their games had been shootouts. And we thought we have to stay in the shootout.”

Madoski has tons of praise for Hall, Anderson and the rest of the Mountain Ridge Class of 2023, which endured COVID-19 and all the public school challenges that went with it, along with walking into a program that went 0-10 at the varsity level in 2018.

“These are great kids,” Madoski said. “We’ve been to the playoffs three times in four years. The idea of being in the playoffs, when there was an 18-game losing streak, people laughed and said it would never happen.”

Anderson finished his final game as a Mountain Lion, according to unofficial statistics, by going 35-for-47 for 410 yards with five touchdowns. His counterpart, Pride senior Chris Arviso II, was effective as well, going 20-of-29 for 252 yards. 

There were no interceptions in the back-and-forth contest, though a few were dropped. While Mountain Ridge dominated most statistical categories, they only rushed for 84 yards, while Mountain Pointe’s tough running backs racked up 293 rushing yards on 36 attempts against the MRHS defense.

The Mountain Lions took the opening kickoff and scored in only three minutes, with Anderson hitting Hall for the first of three TD passes he’d throw to his leading receiver on the night. Mountain Pointe mounted a scoring drive of its own later in the first quarter, but Mountain Ridge would go up 20-7 at one point in the second quarter.

A short 3rd-and-goal rollout throw from Arviso to Christian Clark made it 20-14 at halftime. The Pride took some momentum from that, with Clark busting tackles on an 85-yard scoring run on the first play of the second half.

The Pride then used a three-and-out and forced a fumble on a kickoff return, taking advantage of both situations to score a total of 21 points in five minutes to lead 35-20 midway through the third quarter. However, Anderson and company then ironed things out for the Mountain Lion offense.

A short touchdown pass to Hall late in the third quarter pulled Mountain Ridge within a touchdown.

A solid goal-line stand by the Pride kept MRHS from tying the game early in the fourth quarter. Mountain Ridge then allowed the Pride offense to march down the field, only to force and recover a fumble at the end of a first-down-and-more run.

Anderson then led the Mountain Lions down the field, with Chris Ramos zipping into the end zone from 7 yards out with 4:55 to play. The PAT kick tied the game, 35-35.

The Pride then scored what would be the winning touchdown only about three minutes later. Randle Parker broke through the MRHS line and scored from 35 yards out with 1:35 to go, The PAT made it 42-35.

That’s when Anderson led the Mountain Lions 85 yards in just under a minute, capped by his TD pass to Hall. A questionable late-hit call on a pass that looked catchable gave MRHS 15 extra yards, but Anderson and his receivers did most of the work on the drive.

The Pride didn’t sack Anderson at all in the game on a play from scrimmage. The final conversion play marked the only time the quarterback was tackled in the backfield in the contest.

Hall finished, unofficially, with 11 catches for 114 yards and three TDs in his last game as a Mountain Lion. He also had six rushes for 35 yards.

Junior Parker Halpine caught six passes for 66 yards for MRHS as Anderson completed passes to six different receivers.

Some shouting and shoving took place in the handshake line after the game, but the teams were quickly separated. Lauer said there had been a great deal of “chirping” going on throughout the game by both squads.

Lauer said his team has yet to really play a complete, sound game, including Friday’s win over MRHS. 

Pride receiver Jaylen Johnson said that complete game could come as early as  the matchup vs. No. 1-seed Casteel.

“That complete game? It’s coming,” Johnson said.“I have faith in this team. We have a lot more left in the tank.”

Friday, Nov. 18

Class 6A playoffs — first round


MRHS   7 13 8 13—41

MPHS   7   7 21 7—42

Scoring: MR, 9:00 1st, Brendan Anderson 15 pass to Terrance Hall (Jayden Rogers kick); MP, 1:05 1st, Chris Arviso 13 pass to Matty Braun (Braun kick); MR, 9:12 2nd, Anderson 4 pass to Conrad Curley (Rogers kick); MR, 3:22 2nd, Anderson 24 pass to Parker Halpine (kick wide left); MP, 1:32 2nd, Arviso 4 pass to Christian Clark (Braun kick); MP, 11:34 3rd, Clark 85 run (Braun kick); MP, 8:36 3rd, Arviso 74 pass to Jayden Burnley (Braun kick); MP, 6:42 3rd, Jay’len Rushing 7 run (Braun kick); MR, 1:58 3rd, Anderson 6 pass to Hall (Anderson pass to Ryland Sands (Rogers kick); MR, 4:55 4th, Chris Ramos 7 run (Rogers kick); MP, 1:35 4th, Randle Parker 35 run (Braun kick); MP, Anderson 32 pass to Hall (2-point conversion play failed).

Unofficial team statistics

Rushes-Yds: MR 13-84; MP 36-293. Passing: MR 35-47-0—410; MP 20-29-0—252. Total Off: MR 494; MP 545. 1st downs: MR 25, MP 18. Pen.-Yds: MR 8-63; MP 11-78. Punts-Avg.: MR 4-43.75; MP 3-26.66. Fumbles-Lost: MR 1-1; MP 3-2. Rec.: MP 8-3; MR 5-6.






Mountain Ridge, Mountain Lions, Glendale, football, Hall, Anderson, Madoski, playoffs Class 6A