Something unusual heard on the Marana football team's sideline as the squad headed to the locker room for halftime: "Hey coach, did we defer before kickoff?"
In a normal game, it isn't all that hard to remember the coin toss. But this coin toss was more than a month ago, and Monday afternoon's showdown between Marana and Mountain View was anything but ordinary.
The game (the first meeting between the intra-town rivals in seven years) started Sept. 4, but with a little less than seven minutes left in the second quarter, the threat of lightning prompted referees and school officials to pull the plug.
The cancellation came mere seconds after Mountain View senior quarterback Evan Roberts completed a long touchdown pass to senior wideout Mark Vera to put the Mountain Lions ahead 6-0. That's exactly when play resumed on Monday, with more than a few differences.
Vera, the lone point-scorer in the first part of the game, watched from the sidelines, the recent recipient of emergency appendix surgery. The 3 p.m. sun shone much brighter than any stadium lights, and the stands were about half as full as they were in September.
None of the unconventional aspects of the game seemed to mean much to Mountain View's Myles Williams.
After rushing for 304 yards on 41 carries just four days earlier in the Mountain Lions' first win of the season, 54-27 over Rincon/University, Williams bulldozed for 138 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries Monday as the Mountain Lions (2-5 and facing Salpointe Catholic on Oct. 23) notched their second consecutive win with a 20-7 victory over the Tigers. Marana (3-3) won at home 20-0 against Flowing Wells on Friday, and travel to Cienega this Friday.
"(Williams) is a good role model, he works hard and encourages everybody," said Mountain View head coach Paul Schmidt.
That encouragement seemed to pay off, especially on defense.
The Mountain Lions allowed 96 yards of total offense, holding the Tigers' running back duo of seniors Josh Boak and Terry Helsel to a combined 75 yards rushing, and stifling junior fullback Louis Payne.
Mountain View's defense was equally effective at thwarting the Marana passing game, allowing one pass completion and eventually causing the Tiger coaching staff to pull junior quarterback Robert Contreras in favor of Boak.
Senior defensive back/safety Robert Kallal gave the Mountain Lions their final touchdown of the afternoon, racing 65 yards for a score after intercepting a Contreras pass with 6:49 left in the third quarter.
The Marana defense, although unable to stop Williams' explosiveness on the ground, was stingy in all other aspects. The Tigers allowed one five-yard completion, and forced three fumbles and an interception.
One fumble, recovered by sophomore defensive back Tanner Morris and returned to the 18-yard line of Mountain View, set up Marana's only score of the game, a four-yard quarterback keeper by Boak with 4:55 left.
With a good defensive effort on the books, Marana head coach Anthony Coronado was straightforward about where his team needed improvement.
"The first thing is, we obviously need a better passing game," said Coronado. "People are going to load the box – we're going to have to run through eight-man fronts, or we're going to have to get people off of us."
"Right now, we're not getting people off of us," added Coronado, whose team travels to Cienega this Friday.
Mountain View's Schmidt hoped his team is over the worst of what he terms as a "brutal" start.
"We had 13 kids out with the flu against Tucson, (Vera) had to go in for emergency appendix surgery," said Schmidt. "It's tough."
The coach said that two wins so close together, coupled with a bye before facing Salpointe on Oct. 23 might just create the momentum Mountain View needed.
"That's our plan," said Schmidt with a smile.