The Red Mountain defense has surrendered less than 20 points six times in their 12 games this year. They find themselves in their second-straight state semi-final appearance.
It’s helped spark their ten game win streak, and one of the key contributors on that side of the ball has been Shaq Daniels. The 6-foot, 160-pound junior defensive back has helped limit the big plays for the Mountain Lions.
On the year, he has 26 tackles, three interceptions and two blocked field goals.
“I’ve developed my technique, definitely,” Daniels said. “I’ve had a rough start, and I’ve been improving every week.
I’ve been improving my back-pedal, my hands-on and my press on the line. I think I’ve improved overall as a defensive player.”
Red Mountain athlete Lance Lawson, who is the school’s all-time yardage and touchdown record-holder, has helped spark Daniels’ growth by going up against him in practice.
“His athletic ability is incredible and him getting more experience,” Lawson said. “He’s been that lockdown corner that we need over there.”
To hear from Red Mountain head coach Mike Peterson about his team and the upcoming semi-final matchup, check out the #FridayNight360AZ Preview Show.
The offseason also helped develop Daniels’ skill-set. According to head coach Mike Peterson, the Mountain Lions participated in more passing leagues in the offseason than they historically have, and the junior’s pass defense took leaps.
“He just gets better and better and that’s what it’s all about,” Peterson said. “Just keep sharpening your skills and he does. He’s coachable, he’s a great person, he’s a great teammate and we’ve got 80 or 90 of them like him.”
The Red Mountain front seven has also been particularly stout, and seventh-seeded Mountain Lions, the only non-top four seed to make it to the semi-finals, will have their hands full with the defending state champion #3 Chandler Wolves.
#3 Chandler and #7 Red Mountain Mountain square off at Hamilton High School on Friday at 7 p.m. The winner will play the winner of #1 Mountain Pointe and #4 Perry in the 6A state championship on December 2nd.