MERIDIAN — Rocky Mountain football coach Scott Criner likes to refer to the end zone as the fun zone.
Lucky for him, that phase was a frequent part of the teams vernacular Friday night as he watched his Grizzlies race away with a 45-37 victory over Mountain View.
It was senior running back Jason Crimmins 30-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal for Rocky Mountain, but not without a bit of a scare from the feisty Mavericks.
Trailing 45-30 with 2 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the game, Mountain View drove 65 yards in eight plays, finishing with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kai Turner to Justin Ruttke. The Mavericks then retrieved the onside kick to take over on the Rocky 45-yard line with less than a minute to play.
Turner tried to connect deep with a receiver on four passing plays, the last of which was batted down by Rocky defensive back Isaiah Johnson to preserve the victory.
Youve got to have faith in our D. They are amazing, said Crimmins, who finished with 110 rushing yards. Its great to have a great defense like that that can get stops when you need them.
Five different Grizzlies scored touchdowns, led by quarterback Riley Bradshaw, who completed 17-of-24 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns to go with 103 rushing yards and two more TDs.
Hang onto the football. We practiced that all week and the mistakes that we made a week ago, we didnt make tonight, Criner said. Thats what was good for us.
With the victory, Rocky Mountain (5-1, 4-1 5A SIC) moves into sole possession of third place behind unbeaten Capital and Eagle, while Mountain View (3-2) falls into a tie for fourth.
Mountain View tried to set the tone early by putting pressure on the Rocky defense, which faltered in the second half of a loss last week to Capital.
The Mavericks marched 50 yards in five plays on their first drive of the game. After two tries at the end zone, Mountain View opted to go for a field goal, which senior kicker Isaac Dodd made from 28 yards out.
Rocky didnt let Mountain Views lead stand for long.
The Grizzlies scored on back-to-back possessions on a pair of 5-yard runs from Bradshaw. Both 2-point conversions were successful, moving Rocky ahead 16-3 with 1:31 remaining in the first quarter.
Turner connected with Kenny Webster on a 38-yard pass at the end of the first quarter, setting up Josh Buss 3-yard TD pass from Turner two plays later. Buss finished with a game-high 163 yards on the ground.
Rocky Mountain was able to get some separation before the half, however, when Turners deep pass attempt to Garrett Collingham was picked off by Rocky Mountains Emilio Gomez.
The interception led to Rockys third score of the game, this time on a 2-yard run from sophomore Jake Roper to give the Grizzlies a 24-10 lead at the break.
Mountain View got as close as 24-19 in the third quarter on a safety, but was never able to fully close the gap.
NOTE: Boise State coach Chris Petersen was on the Rocky Mountain sideline to watch commit Khalil Oliver. The starting strong safety didnt get much action, however, as Mountain View never threw to his side of the field.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX