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Home   »  FeaturedPride in the News  »  MP set to open vs. Pinnacle and ‘You Know Who’

8/24

MP set to open vs. Pinnacle and ‘You Know Who’

Mountain Pointe will rely on returning starting quarterback Nick Wallerstedt (left), a senior, and running back Jakim McKinney (right), who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season.    Kimberly Carrillo/AFN Staff

MP set to open vs. Pinnacle and ‘You Know Who’

By Eric Newman, AFN Staff Writer  |   15 hrs ago

Members of the Mountain Pointe High football team saw the carnage first hand last Friday.

Pinnacle High, behind senior quarterback Spencer Rattler, lit up 2017 6A state runner-up Perry, 59-33, to open the season. Many of the Pride players were there to watch.This Friday, it’s MP’s turn at Pinnacle against Rattler, regarded among the nation’s top prep quarterbacks, an Oklahoma commit — but who never has beaten Mountain Pointe. Kickoff is 7 p.m. in north Phoenix.

It’s a tough way for the Pride to break in a new coaching staff and new schemes on both sides of the ball. And it’s never easy to go on the road and play a team that has a game under its belt, let along one guided by the likes of Rattler.The Pride watched Rattler pass for 415 yards and four touchdowns. He added 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground, as well, demonstrating why a good team like Perry can score 33 and still lose by 26.“I would love to say we grabbed somebody off the street that can simulate him, but you really can’t. We just hope to slow him down. We aren’t crazy and hope we will stop him,” new Pride coach Rich Wellbrock said.“He can make so many different types of plays, and we want to keep our eyes on him, watching the little things he does to make his team better. And they’ve got some pretty nice pieces around him, too, so we have to look at those guys, as well.”Knowing his players likely were tired of hearing Rattler’s name time and again, Wellbrock referred to Rattler as “You Know Who” in practice. A year ago, the Pride defeated Pinnacle and You Know Who, 58-34. “You can’t not talk about him, because that’s how you plan for the game. But, it’s very minimal, and we just have to get ready the way we usually do for any game,” Pride senior lineman Alex Vogel said. “There’s always going to be good individual players on every team, and that’s just how we have to prepare to come out and play well.”

Mountain Pointe senior defensive lineman Kenny Lofton said playing against the top players and programs in the state is the reason he puts on the pads for the Pride.“It’s exciting for me, because this is what I play for, and the other guys, too, going up against the best competition. It’s how you get better and how you show what you can do,” Lofton said. The early week off did give Wellbrock and the Pride a fresh game film and an extra week to cement the team’s game plan against a quality opponent. The Pride had held the Zero Week date open for the Arizona Interscholastic Association to schedule a Sollenberger Classic contest. That fell through, so the Pride opens a week later.“You can look at it two ways: We’re looking at it as an advantage where we can see what Pinnacle’s going to do, and how they want to approach everything,” he said. “And, I’m sure Pinnacle’s looking at it from their standpoint that they’ve been able to get a live game and we haven’t.”And, as Mountain Pointe senior defensive back Jatu Gipson said, the group will go in without the week’s-worth of bumps and bruises Pinnacle will after a competitive game.“We get to be fresh and have some more time to game plan. We get to see if they put in anything new in the first game. We had some of the old stuff and we practiced off of that, but now we get to see what they do and maybe make some changes. We’re going to feel good and have energy,” he said.

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