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Mountain Pointe receiver Dominique Davis hits his stride on a 72-yard scoring pass play Friday night in Ahwatukee. The Pride lost a lead in the final 50 seconds and fell to Queen Creek, 29-28.  

Queen Creek’s late touchdown dooms Mountain Pointe

Updated 

Mountain Pointe High’s mission to re-establish itself among the top football teams in 6A has hinged on finishing games. 

On Friday, against visiting Queen Creek, the Pride didn’t slam the door.

The Bulldogs orchestrated an 80-yard scoring drive in the closing 2 minutes to knock off the Pride, 29-28, in Ahwatukee.

“At the end of the day, when you play a good football team for 48 minutes you have to knock them out when you have the opportunity to knock them out,” Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock said. “We knew we would have to play a good football game to win, but hats off to them.

“We need to get better.”    

Leading 28-23, Mountain Pointe had an opportunity deep in Queen Creek territory to clinch the victory.

But a holding penalty forced the Pride to punt, setting up Queen Creek quarterback Devin Larsen for the game-winning drive. 

With wide-receiver screens mixed with quarterback scrambles, the Bulldogs quickly drove down the field, capping it with a two-yard run by sophomore Trey Reynolds — his second TD of the night — with 50 seconds remaining. 

“As a kid I dreamed of those game-winning drives,” Larsen said. “Our line came up huge and it was an all-around team drive right there. Having (Reynolds) punch it in like that for us is amazing.”

Larsen struggled throughout the first half, completing just four of 10 passes  for 57 yards and a touchdown. Constant pressure from Mountain Pointe’s aggressive, blitzing defense had Larsen on the run, resulting in a loss of yards or short gains.

But the senior picked things up in the second half, finishing 14 of 25 for 191 yards. He also rushed for 42 yards.

“Devin proved his worth tonight,” Queen Creek coach Travis Schureman said. “He put it on his shoulder and made the plays when he needed to. I’m just happy our kids are going to get the recognition they deserve. I’m happy with where we are at.”

Mountain Pointe had one last chance in the closing 50 seconds, but senior quarterback Nick Wallerstedt’s pass to junior wideout Dominique Davis was broken up downfield as time expired.

Wallerstedt and Davis had been a force throughout the game, connecting seven times for 144 yards and two touchdowns – one a 73-yarder that gave Mountain Pointe the lead in the third quarter.

Along with completing 14 of 19 pass attempts for 195 yards, Wallerstedt added 45 yards on the ground, the second-most for the Pride, behind senior running back Jakim McKinnney’ 100.  

At 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, McKinney’s ability to stay low to the ground has made it difficult for opposing teams to bring him down all season. His strength coupled with his breakaway speed make him among the most dynamic backs in the state.

The Bulldogs’ defense never allowed McKinney to break free, though. Whether it was a shoelace tackle in the trenches or a safety coming up to make a play just beyond the line of scrimmage, Queen Creek’s defense always had multiple players swarming the ball to limit the Pride’s big-play ability.

“Our defense has been playing their butts off all year,” Schureman said. “It’s great to see all of those guys flying to the ball, and they’re going to hit you. Hats off to our coaches. They work these guys every week and they are well prepared.”

Queen Creek – which made the jump to 6A this season – improved to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in region play. It takes on Corona del Sol (1-5, 0-1) next week.

The rigorous schedule of the Pride (2-3, 0-1) continues with a visit to Highland (6-0, 1-0) in Gilbert. 

“At the end of the day it’s all about details,” Wellbrock said. “We need to make sure we do the things that need to be done in order to play championship football.”

Queen Creek 29, Mountain Pointe 28

Queen Creek             7  7  9  6  – 29

Mountain Pointe        7  7 14  0 – 28

First

MP – Nitura 1 run (Abercrombie kick), 5:59.

QC – Reynolds 36 run (Kaupe kick), 2:57.

Second

QC – Dobbs 31 pass from Larsen (Kaupe kick), 7:30.

MP – Davis 12 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), :43.

Third

QC – Larsen 1 run, 10:16

MP – Davis 73 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 9:54.

MP – McKinney 2 run (Abercrombie kick), 5:12.

QC – FG, Kaupe 22, :48.

Fourth

QC – Reynolds 2 run, :50.

Team statistics

                              Queen Creek                Mountain Pointe

First downs                  13                                     15

Rush-yards                25-146                             39-173

Comp-Att-Int             14-25-0                           14-19-2

Pass yard                    191                                   195

Total yards                  321                                   368

Fumbles-lost               2-1                                    1-1

Penalties                    6-45                                  5-42

Individual statistics

Rushing

Queen Creek – Borja 16-51, Larsen 4-42, Reynolds 2-38, Bond 1-8, Coleman 1-5,  Berry 1-2. Mountain Pointe – McKinney 28-100, Wallerstedt 7-45, Sanders 3-27,  Nitura 1-1.

Passing

Queen Creek – Larsen 14-25-0, 191 yards. Mountain Pointe – Wallerstedt 14-19-2, 195.

Receiving

Queen Creek – Aldecca 4-55, Prochazka 3-43, Dobbs 2-47, Borja 5-46. Mountain Pointe – Davis 7-140, Dickson 3-24, Sanders 2-13, Washington 1-20, Gomez 1-(-2). 

Mountain Pointe receiver Dominique Davis has studied, and in some cases idolized, greats who play his position since he was 7. It has paid off. The rangy and speedy junior is emerging as the Pride’s big-play threat with a 26.7-yard average and five touchdowns in four games.   

Mountain Pointe’s Double-D spells doom for Ds

Running pass routes at a park near his house since he was 7, Dominique Davis has been preparing himself.

To this day, the Mountain Pointe High junior receiver imagines himself as some of his favorite football players, particularly Houston Texans star DeAndre Hopkins.

Davis tries to emulate their production, but he knows his best chance to join their ranks is to run his own route.

He’s doing it. Davis, a 6-foot-2 junior, has burst upon the scene as the Pride’s big-play receiver, with 20 catches for 533 yards, five touchdowns and a whopping 26.7-yard average in the opening four games.

“From high school all the way to the pros, I love watching film of receivers,” Davis said. “I mimic them, really. If there’s moves I see, I’ll try to use them, but I really do want to be my own player.”

His production is even more eye popping given that he’s done it in an offense that focuses primarily on the rush.

Senior quarterback Nick Wallerstedt lit up at the mention of his top target, whom he said makes his job much easier when a pass-play is called.

“I know he’s a mismatch one-on-one against just about any corner he goes up against. I can just put it up there anywhere near him and I have faith that he’s got it and going to run the right route,” Wallerstedt said.

Because the Pride are so efficient at running, with several talented running backs carrying the ball behind a stout offensive line, opposing defenses often bring additional players into the box. This leaves Davis and the other Mountain Pointe receivers one-on-one, in prime position to make big gains off play action.

In Sept. 14’s 55-20 victory over Hamilton, Davis took a screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown against a defense sucked in to halt the Pride’s run. Senior offensive lineman Alex Vogel said those plays are crucial to balancing the offense.

“That’s what we had last year with the power running offense, that guy who can get open on a long pass play for a touchdown to keep the defense off us a little bit and not just crashing the run all the time. So hopefully he can keep doing that,” Vogel said.

Paying attention to the “little details” on each practice and game snap, Davis will walk to the sideline after a drive to review shoulder and hand positioning, or just ask advice on how to tighten up his routes.

The coaches have taken notice. A constant voice in Davis’ ear is Pride coach Rich Wellbrock, one of his biggest supporters. Mountain Pointe’s staff regularly calls plays designed for Davis to simply streak down the sideline and grab the ball over defenders in jump balls.

Wellbrock said Davis has plenty of room to improve, though.

“He’s special, but we’ve got to get him to elite status,” Wellbrock said. “That’s being there and being that threat every play, to where defenses have to pay extra attention to what he’s doing.”

While the Pride offense boasts plenty of talented players, there aren’t that many that say much in the huddle or off the field.

Davis, hearing his coach implore the juniors to make their voices heard in the locker room, has taken a more-active role in pushing for improvement, not only in his own game, but also in those of teammates.

“I try to be a vocal leader, and I talk a lot off the field, encouraging guys and stuff like that,” Davis said. “But on the field, it’s really just trying to lead with how I play and prepare.

“I’m definitely getting better at that, though.”

Davis and the Pride will be tested Friday in a home contest against 4-1 Queen Creek. It will be both teams’ first 6A Central Section game

Week 5 is here! Homecoming week! Queen Creek @ Mountain Pointe Friday, September 21st 7pm

Mountain Pointe running back Jakim McKinney breaks away from Hamilton’s defense for a long touchdown run in high school football Friday night in Ahwatukee. McKinney and Eli Sanders did most of the damage as the Pride rushed for 416 yards in a 55-20 rout.  

Mountain Pointe rolls past Hamilton

With a short week of preparation and the memory of a bitter loss to the nation’s No. 15 team lingering, Mountain Pointe shook it off, unleashed its speedy rushing game and ran past Hamilton, 55-20, in high school football Friday night in Ahwatukee.

Mountain Pointe rolled to 416 rushing yards and 643 yards total offense against a program not far removed from its days as Arizona’s big-school dynasty.

But the Huskies were overmatched from the outset, as Pride running backs Jakim McKinney, a senior, and Eli Sanders, a sophomore, blasted through Hamilton’s front seven into the second level and raced away.

Meanwhile, the Pride’s blitzing, aggressive defense smothered Hamilton’s rushing game and consistently was in the face of Hamilton passers, making sacks or forcing hurried throws. Pride linebacker Rashion Hodge was a menace to the Huskies.

Last Saturday, the Pride was on the doorstep of upsetting 15th-ranked South Jordan (Utah) Bingham in Henderson, Nev., but inside the Bingham 5-yard line in the closing 2 minutes, Mountain Pointe’s fourth-down pass was deflected at the goal line.

There was no apparent hangover. Mountain Pointe struck quickly, manhandling the Huskies up front to open holes for McKinney and Sanders.

That, in turn, set up quarterback Nick Wallerstedt in the play-action and short passing game. The Pride also continued to take shots down the field and had receivers open deep most of the evening, but Wallerstedt overthrew several long balls.

The score reached 41-3 and the Pride threatened to put the game into running time before Hamilton regrouped and scored two late touchdowns, one of the drives set up by a recovered onside kick.

Mountain Pointe (2-2) plays host to Queen Creek (4-1), up this year to 6A, next Friday, while Hamilton (2-3) plays host to Dobson (1-4).

Mountain Pointe junior middle linebacker Rashion Hodge says help from a knowledgeable source – his brother, Rashie, who was one of the best in the state at the position two years ago – is helping him grow into the leader of a stingy Pride defense.   Zach Alvira/Tribune Staff

Pride linebacker Hodge emerging as playmaker on stingy defense

Mountain Pointe’s Rashion Hodge knew at a young age that he was destined to be a linebacker.

He heard stories about his father playing it at South Mountain High and he saw his older brother, Rashie, transform into one of the best linebackers in the state as a senior for the Pride in 2016.

Rashie went on to play for South Dakota State but has since transferred to Glendale Community College as a running back.

With his brother back in the Valley, Rashion uses Rashie as a resource for advice, and it seems to be working.

“I picked a lot up from my brother,” Rashion said. “He taught me how to work hard. He had to work his way up to where he was. He worked hard and made a name for himself on varsity.”

Now a 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior, it’s Rashion who is starting to make a name for himself.

Through the Pride’s first three games, Hodge leads the Pride with 23 tackles, including one for a loss and a safety against Mountain View.

Last Saturday, Hodge and the Pride took on national power South Jordan (Utah) Bingham High, ranked 15th, in the Polynesian Classic in Henderson, Nevada. Despite the 21-14 loss, Hodge registered 11 tackles.

It’s not easy for a junior to take control of an experienced defense.

“He is becoming a leader in the right way and that’s what we look forward to,” Mountain Pointe linebackers coach Brandon Whitener said. “He is already barking at guys if they line up in the wrong spot. That’s a good thing because he knows what is going on around him and will help him play even faster.”

Hodge has speed and range. His ability to run from sideline to sideline and maintain his balance while making a hit are traits that have jumped out to Whitener and the rest of the coaching staff in their first season at Mountain Pointe.

Beyond that, it’s Hodge’s length. His long arms give him the ability to shed an opposing blocker and make a play.

“You look at him and without bending over he can almost scratch his knee caps,” Whitener said, laughing. “That’s a long kid, and being able to run and still move and work in space is impressive.”

It’s been a seamless transition for Hodge under new head coach Rich Wellbrock and his staff.

Along with Whitener, Hodge has learned the Pride’s new defense from coordinator Conrad Hamilton, who spent six years in the NFL as a defensive back.

From the style of coaching to the overall scheme, Hodge said he feels like there is a new vibe about the Mountain Pointe program, one that will lead to success.

“We have a different level of coaching now,” Hodge said. “There is more of a college feel here now. Coach Hamilton knows how colleges and pros work and we know that we need to listen to him because he has the experience.

“I’ve learned a lot from him and Coach Whitener, like breaking down in pass coverage and foot work.”

Only three games into his first varsity season, Hodge has yet to receive a Division 1 college offer but that doesn’t mean there aren’t schools interested. They’re waiting to see how Hodge pans out. Hodge said the Oregon State coaching staff, where former Pride players Timmy Hernandez and Wesley Payne play, has expressed interest.

Whitener, however, hopes Hodge remains under the radar for the duration of the season. He believes that would allow Hodge to further improve.

“As a first-year starter, it can put a lot of pressure on a kid to perform, especially coming after his brother, who had a lot of success at Mountain Pointe,” Whitener said. “Right now, I just want him to be his own guy and understand what he needs to do with this defense. I want him to carve out his own path as far as what his future is going to entail.”

Exactly what his path is remains to be seen, but with coaches in place who want him to succeed, as well as an older brother sharing advice from his time playing the same position, Hodge is on the path to becoming one of the best linebackers in the class of 2020 in Arizona.

Before that, he has another goal in mind.

“I’m just trying to execute and work hard,” Hodge said. “I want to be the hardest-working man on the field and get my team to the championship.”

Hamilton @ Mountain Pointe   |  September 14th   |   7:00 pm

This motley crew is a goofy bunch – just don’t get in its way. The Mountain Pointe offensive shoves foes around to opens holes for a relentless ground game. It also enjoys mirth with line coach Frantz Pierre-Louis – known among the players as “Coach Zoe.”   Zach Alvira/AFN Staff

Pride’s physical – and playful – offensive line getting the last laugh

Football games often are won in the trenches. An offensive line that is big and physical to open holes for runners and protect the quarterback is every coach’s dream.

Coach Rich Wellbrock and Mountain Pointe High believe that they have that this season.

Why wouldn’t they? Mountain Pointe seems to have that every season. Physical play by dominating lines has been their trademark as they marched to the state semifinals or beyond eight of the past nine seasons.

“They’re the cornerstone of this team,” Wellbrock said of his linemen. “You can always count on them to do the right thing on the field, at the school and in the community. It’s a great group to have around.”

In their first season directing the Pride, Wellbrock and his staff inherited starters all over the field, including the offensive line. Seniors Cole Cundary, Alex Vogel, Zach Quihuis and Eriq Williams lead the way up front. The unit also has talented juniors Will Haire, Steven Williams and Kaleb Whitethorne.

The group averages 6-feet, 275 pounds – near the average for prep football teams in Arizona. They believe it’s their work ethic that separates them.

Mountain Pointe’s line will be tested Saturday when it takes on South Jordan (Utah) Bingham High, ranked 15th nationally in MaxPreps Xcellent 25, in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nevada, as part of the Touchdowns Against Cancer Games. Kickoff is 8 p.m. at Liberty High.

“It’s a position that doesn’t get talked about much, but it’s a group that comes out and does their job,” Wellbrock said of the line. “It’s hard to pinpoint anytime one of them does better than the other.”

Their daily work ethic is inspired by a position coach who has experience. Line coach Frantz Pierre-Louis – known among the players as “Coach Zoe” – is in his sixth year working at the varsity level. He was offensive coordinator and line coach at Phoenix Christian before joining the Chaparral staff in 2017.

The linemen say that the transition to the new coaching staff has been easy because Zoe has a similar coaching style to that of former coach Norris Vaughan and his staff.

“At least from our standpoint, they coach pretty much the same,” Quihuis said. “They teach us all the same types of technique. Coach Zoe may yell a little more but that would be about it.”

A strong bond with Zoe has been built in short order. Playful banter is common in the group.

“These guys are clowns,” Zoe said, laughing. “They speak their mind, they’re free spirits. I think we are the best unit on the team.”

From their time on the practice field to dinner afterward, Zoe says this tight-knit offensive line is among the most important units on the team.

Vocal leaders among the group have emerged, among them Quihuis. His leadership has stood out to teammates and coaches.

“Every day he does his job. He’s ready to go and he pulls everyone along with him,” Wellbrock said. “He pushes everyone to meet his level of intensity.”

That intensity fuels the success of the Pride’s offensive line during Quihuis’ two years as a starter.

Last season, Mountain Pointe had 5,495 yards of offense, most of it on the ground from running back Jakim McKinney, who has built a close bond with the line.

“They mean a lot to me,” McKinney said. “I do love them. We’ve been through a lot, especially in games and even outside of games. We all hang out and sometimes go to dinner. It’s a good connection for us.”

Mountain Pointe opened with a loss to Pinnacle, among the favorites to win the 6A state championship. The Pride rolled up 437 total yards and 34 points, totals that should be enough to win on most Fridays. They lost to the Pioneers by 22.

Zoe says there is always room for improvement.

Mountain Pointe High football coach Rich Wellbrock addresses his team after falling to No. 15 South Jordan (Utah) Bingham (Utah), 21-14, in the final minute on Saturday night in Henderson, Nev. The Pride had first and goal at the 5 in the final two minutes but were unable to score.  

Mtn. Pointe comes up short at goal line in Nevada vs. national power

HENDERSON, Nev. – Mountain Pointe’s late comeback attempt fell three yards short Saturday night against the No. 15 team in the country, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham.

Facing a fourth and goal at the 3 inside of 2 minutes left in the game, Pride quarterback Nick Wallerstedt’s pass to the right flat was deflected and the Miners (4-0) kneeled out the clock to hand the Pride (1-2) a 21-14 defeat.

“They had our receiver uncovered all the way until right before the snap, then he runs out there and was in a great position to take the slant away,” Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock said. “It’s football. And things like that happen.”

Four plays prior, Wallerstedt found Ahmen Williams for a 31-yard gain to the 5 on a fourth-and-22 play. Three consecutive runs netted two yards leading to the failed fourth-down play.

“That was a really good high school game between two good teams, “Bingham coach John Lambourne said. “I suspect that (Mountain Pointe) is going to go on and do pretty good Anyone that is able to compete with us in that manner, is going to be pretty good.”

Mountain Pointe’s final drive started at its 20-yard line with 6:17 left after Bingham’s 26-yard field goal attempt that would have made it a two-score game bounced off the right upright, ending a seven-minute drive.

“Defensively, we just battled and battled,” Lambourne said. “Our guys up front are pretty tough dudes to start with. That wasn’t just a one-play stand. That was a four-play stand. And that’s pretty tough to do.”

The Pride pulled within 21-14 late in the third when the Miners muffed a punt and could not corral it at the 5. The Pride recovered and three plays later Finley Nitura went untouched across the plane.

Wallerstedt completed 15 of 29 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. His 26-yard scoring pass to a leaping Williams (three receptions, 56 yards) tied the game at 7 in the first quarter.

Pride running back Jakim McKinney, averaging 105 rushing yards a game, found the going difficult against a stout Bingham front. He was held to 58 yards on 27 carries. Wellbrock said Bingham’s 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive lineman Simote Pepa is among the best he’s coached against.

Mountain Pointe’s big-play receiver, Dominique Davis, who came in with 10 catches for a 33.4-yard average, was limited to six receptions for 60 yards.

Defensively, Mountain Pointe held up well against the national power. Nearly half of Bingham’s 295 yards of offense came on two plays. Evona Hall put Bingham in front 14-7 with a 92-yard touchdown run with 8:51 left in the first half.

That score held until the Miners dug into their bag of tricks midway through the third quarter. Wide receiver Jared Greenfield took a handoff and then found a wide-open Jake Cragun running down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown on the pass.

Hall rushed for 180 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Nobody else in a Miner uniform accounted for more than 50 yards of offense. Bingham was limited to 55 yards passing.

“The biggest thing I take away from a game like this is I thought our defense really toed the line,” Wellbrock said. “Besides the long run and the halfback pass, other than that, I was really pleased with how they played.”

Mountain Pointe has a history of coming up big against national powers on visits to the Las Vegas area. Five years ago, it upset nationally ranked Bishop Gorman, joining the few teams ever to beat the Gaels on their home field. That started an undefeated season that ended with the state championship and No. 5 national ranking for the Pride.

This game begins a critical stretch for this Pride team. In the coming five weeks, Mountain Pointe, which plays the toughest schedule in Arizona this season, faces Hamilton (2-2) – which on Friday upset Las Vegas Arbor View Hills – with a short preparation week, and then Queen Creek (3-1), Highland (4-0), Desert Vista (3-0) in the Ahwatukee Bowl, Chaparral (3-0) and Desert Ridge (2-2) – which took unbeaten Liberty to the wire Friday.

The Pride’s losses are to Pinnacle (3-1), the nation’s 44th-ranked team with Oklahoma-bound quarterback Spencer Rattler, and now to No. 15 Bingham.

Bingham (Utah) 21, Mtn. 14

Mountain Pointe  7    0    7    0 – 14

Bingham              7    7    7    0 – 21

First

Bingham – Hall 2 run (Smith kick) 7:37

MP – Williams 26 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick) 2:43

Second

Bingham – Hall 92 run (Smith kick) 8:51

Third

Bingham – Cragun 50 pass from Greenfield (Smith kick) 6:23

MP – Nitura 1 run (Abercrombie kick) 0:39

Individual Statistics

Rushing

Bingham – Hall 17-180, Wimmer 9-31, Jones 6-9, Marx 2-10. Mountain Pointe – McKinney 27-58, Wallerstedt 9- -15, Washington 1- (-2), Nitura 1-1, Sansers 1-4.

Passing

Bingham – Jones 2-8-0, 5 yards, Greenfield 1-1-0, 50. Mountain Pointe – Wallerstedt 15-29-0, 191.

Receiving

Bingham – Cragun 1-50, Wimmer 1-7, Parikh 1- (-2). Mountain Pointe  – Washington 4-39, Davis 6-60, Williams 3-56, Dickson 2-31, Gomez 1-5.

Ben Abercrombie watched his older brother, John, set school records during his four years as Mountain Pointe High’s kicker. Now Ben, a senior, has broken them all in his fourth year as the Pride’s kicker.   Eric Newman/AFN Staff

Pride’s Abercrombie has family lineage and own legacy to boot

The legs of the Abercrombie family have been a staple on the Mountain Pointe High sideline for much of this decade.

Senior kicker Ben Abercrombie is among few players on the Pride – a team that’s a lock for the playoffs nearly every season – who has played on the varsity for all four years of high school, just like his older brother, John Abercrombie, did.

A soccer player who realized he could utilize his kicking leg on the football field, John began kicking extra points for the Pride in 2011, and converted 108 of them by the time he graduated in 2014.

In 2015, his little brother, Ben, took over.

Ben Abercrombie said there was initial pressure to live up to his brother’s legacy. People expected him to be just as good.

“Everybody always used to call me ‘Mini-Cooper’ because I was his little brother. It’s interesting, and it was definitely something to strive for,” Ben said.

By the end of his junior season, Ben had converted 124 extra points and 17 field goals, both breaking his older brother’s school records.

If it was not clear before, those statistics are the validation that Ben Abercrombie has created his own legacy.

“I think I’ve kind of made my own identity now, and I’ve made my own life out of it,” Abercrombie said.

MP coach Rich Wellbrock said Abercrombie is “by far” the best kicker he has coached in high school.

On kickoffs, Abercrombie consistently puts the ball in or near the end zone. On field goals from long-distance, Abercrombie is as reliable as anybody in the state. Wellbrock said the senior’s ability unlocks options that other teams might not have.

“As a coach, you can actually think of a bunch of different scenarios that you can’t use at other places. The depth he gets on his kickoffs and where they go is great. And then, when we cross the 40-yard-line, we’re in field-goal range, and that’s rare.”

Abercrombie’s power as a player lies not only in his right foot, but in his ability to make teammates smile and feel comfortable around him.

Not much of a talker by nature, Abercrombie chuckled at the notion of addressing the team in the locker room or giving a motivational speech at practice. He said he does try to set an example with his focus and preparation.

“I don’t address the team or anything usually, but I try to be there for guys and talk to them one-on-one about staying positive,” he said.

He goes through his own routine on the sideline while the rest of the team practices on the field. Pride players often look over to Abercrombie and yell encouragement as he kicks into the practice net.

“He’s a quiet leader, and the guys always know he’ll be ready when his number is called,” Wellbrock said. “Whether it’s in the locker room or on the field, the guys love being around him.”

Cameron Rasmussen, a junior who trains with Abercrombie and likely will succeed him as Mountain Pointe’s kicker in 2019, has seen first hand how calming of a presence Abercrombie is in big moments.

“He knows how to act in certain pressure situations that other people would crack under. He can handle the big moments,” Rasmussen said.

On a team that has playoff aspirations and hopes to score a ton of points again, Abercrombie likely will continue to pile onto his school record. He added four extra points in the season opener against Pinnacle on Aug. 24.

The brothers talk about kicking and handling senior year, and Ben said John still motivates him to work harder.

Polynesian Football Classic Las Vegas, Nevada  |  Bingham (UT) vs. Mountain Pointe  |   Saturday, September 8th  |  8:00 pm  |  Get tickets here!