While Red Mountain got most of the buzz heading into the 6A State Championship, it was Liberty who ended up stealing show as the seven-seeded Lions upset the top-seed Mountain Lions 34-28 in overtime Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
While Liberty (10-4) controlled most of the game, Red Mountain (12-2) rallied late in the fourth quarter with a 73-yard scoring drive with less than a minute remaining in regulation and no timeouts to tie the game at 28.
After the Lions’ drive stalled, the two teams went to OT for the first time in a big school title game since Hamilton beat Red Mountain’s rival, Mountain View, in triple overtime back in 2003.
Liberty interception by Isiaih Johnson
— LibertyLionsFootball (@LibertyFBLions) December 7, 2019
Liberty senior quarterback Jonah Guevara scored on a zone read keeper on the first play of overtime but the point after attempt failed seemingly setting the stage for the favorite to hoist the gold ball.
However, head coach Mark Smith’s stingy defense held and after Hyrum Boren’s pass over the middle was intercepted in the end zone on fourth-and-goal by junior Zay Johnson, the Lions streamed onto the field in celebration.
🏆 It’s official! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/j8H8DVzSkt
— Liberty PSBN (@psbnlhs) December 7, 2019
Liberty had certainly been battled-tested and prepared for an opponent as talented as Red Mountain. The Lions had close losses to Brophy (9-6), Mountain Ridge (39-33) and Chaparral. Two of their four defeats were to Open Division participants in Chaparral and Pinnacle.
Friday was Red Mountain’s first loss since a four overtime heart-breaker to Perry back on September 6th.