Mountain Pointe safety Kenny Churchwell feints toward ASU football, picks UCLA - Kenny Churchwell holds up four fingers as he sports a UCLA hat on Friday,... [ read more ]

Arizona Safety Kenny Churchwell is a Bruin - Arizona Safety Kenny Churchwell is a Bruin UCLA gets a commitment from... [ read more ]

Kenny Churchwell Commits To UCLA - Kenny Churchwell announced his commitment to UCLA on Friday morning. Kenny... [ read more ]

Wellbrock hired at Mountain Pointe -   Haley StesiakPosted January 23, 2018 at 11:23 am Rich Wellbrock has... [ read more ]

Phoenix Mountain Pointe hires Rich Wellbrock as next football coach - Rich Wellbrock, hired at Mountain Pointe, coached at Basha for one season... [ read more ]

Rich Wellbrock poised to become new Pride football coach - Rich Wellbrock selected as new Mountain Point High head football coach... [ read more ]

New Mountain Pointe football coach Rich Wellbrock directs the Pride during a 7-on-7 tournament at Arizona State on June 8. 

Rich Wellbrock leads new era of Pride football

 

Rich Wellbrock understands that he is following a football coaching legend at Mountain Pointe High.

“This is on Mount Rushmore, as far as programs go,” Wellbrock said during a break from his first summer of drills as coach of the Pride.

“Everybody looks from the outside and sees Mountain Pointe as one of the top programs in the state and nationally.”

If Mountain Pointe is on the Mount Rushmore of high school football, the man Wellbrock follows could be there, too. Norris Vaughan’s teams built a dynasty during his nine years as Pride coach, going 99-19 before resigning in December and moving to Georgia to be closer to family.

Three weeks ago, Vaughan was named offensive coordinator at Athens Clarke Central High.

“When you get to a program like this, you already know the expectations. It’s exciting and that’s what we’ve all signed up for. We all came to this program to be part of the conversation,” Wellbrock said.

That conversation involves teams contending for a state championship, which has become tradition at Mountain Pointe. Vaughan’s teams appeared in the title game three times and won the state title in 2013. They reached the final four – the big-school state semifinals – in eight of his nine years.

While Wellbrock said his relationship with Vaughan was purely professional, he doesn’t hide his admiration for him.

“He’s built such a tradition here,” Wellbrock said. “They play hard-nosed football and obviously he has moved this program into another stratosphere.”

Not every coach is up for following an act like that, yet former Mountain Pointe principal Bruce Kipper, who recently moved into Temppe Union High School District’s athletic director position, fielded applications from dozens of coaches with winning pedigrees who wanted to give it a try.

Not all of them were right for the circumstances at Mountain Pointe, Kipper said.

Because Wellbrock had a long run of success on a campus similar to Mountain Pointe’s – Desert Edge in Goodyear – Kipper said that Wellbrock was the best fit for the Pride.

It was an opportunity Wellbrock couldn’t pass up. He, too, saw the parallels: kids with character, work ethic and chips on their shoulders to succeed in an elite program.

Kipper said at the time that he regarded last season as an anomaly on Wellbrock’s resume.

In one year as coach at Basha, the Bears were a disappointing 2-8. That flew in the face of Wellbrock’s tenure at Desert Edge, where his teams won 75 games in seven years, including a state title in 2014.

Wellbrock has a talented roster to uphold Mountain Pointe’s legacy. He expects big things from Jatu Gipson, Anthony Dedrick, Rashion Hodge and Jerrick Dickson.

He also is complimentary of quarterback Nick Wallerstedt, the returning starter, although Wellbrock has yet to publicly announce a starter.

“It took him a little bit to get that throwing motion changed,” he said of Wallerstedt, who also starred on the baseball diamond for the Pride. “He’s had a really good summer and he’s excited about the offensive changes we’re making. What a great kid.”

The Pride faithful can expect more hard-nosed football with a few exceptions: Wellbrock hopes to open up the playbook.

“We want to make the tough runs when it’s time. That’s Mountain Pointe football. But we’re spreading it out a bit more.

“Hopefully we’ll have a little bit more diversity within the offense. We’d like to see our receivers get the ball in space,” Wellbrock said.

The Pride offense and defense will be put to the test immediately, as they open at Pinnacle on Aug. 24 against top quarterback prospect Spencer Rattler, who is headed to Oklahoma next year.

“We’re just excited to be done with this 7-on-7 stuff and really get to working on the 11-man grind,” Wellbrock said. “I’m very excited about the opportunity.”

No. 6 Jakim McKinney, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 5-8, 170  [Sr. Carlos Salcedo/Special to azcentral sports]

Running wild: Top 10 RBs for 2018 Arizona high school football season

, The Republic | azcentral.comPublished 2:34 p.m. MT June 11, 2018

In this age of the no-huddle offense fueled by the passing game, very great offense has to have a quality running back.

There will be no shortage in Arizona high schools during the 2018 football season.

Top 10 running backs

No. 1 Bijan Robinson, Tucson Salpointe Catholic, 5-11, 190, Jr.

He has proven to be a dynamic back on Friday nights since he was a freshman. Last year, he emerged among the top eight candidates for azcentral Sports Player of the Year with his ability to make plays out of nothing and to dominate in 4A, helping  the Lancers reach the 4A final.

No. 2 DeCarlos Brooks, Chandler, 5-10, 190, Sr.

With offers from Pac-12 California and Oregon State, Brooks is ready to impress the country as the marquee, featured back with Drake Anderson moving onto college at Northwestern. Brooks had more than 1,000 yards rushing last season as a parttime running back in Chandler’s potent, well-rounded offense.

No. 3 Darvon Hubbard, Scottsdale Chaparral, 6-0, 200, Jr.

He moved from Akron, Ohio, late last summer, and gave a sampling of what’s to come this season with his ability to break tackles. Great downhill runner who will be asked to catch passes out of the backfield in a new spread offense. Has a few gears that makes him a top weapon.

No. 4 Tawee Walker, Peoria Centennial, 5-10, 195, Sr.

This was a gift from Las Vegas heaven for coach Richard Taylor, who was wondering how he was going to replace two-time, 2,000-yard rusher Zidane Thomas. Walker, who recently moved in from Las Vegas, fills those shoes with power and speed. He ran for more than 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns last season at Mohave in Nevada.

No. 5 Israel Benjamin, Scottsdale Saguaro, 5-9, 190, Jr.

He has transformed his body during the off-season, becoming much stronger and faster, according to coach Jason Mohns. Understands the offense after transferring in last summer from Brophy Prep. Very good coming out of the backfield to catch passes. Watch for a big season from one of the best students in the classroom.

No. 6 Jakim McKinney, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 5-8, 170, Sr.

Fast, elusive, great cutback moves, he ran for 1,334 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. Averaged nine yards a carry. Great at catching the ball. A threat to score every time he touches the ball with his breakaway speed.

No. 7 Juwuan Price, Peoria, 5-10, 180, Sr.

Electric player who runs under 11 seconds electronic in 100 meters. Ran for more than 1,600 yards, averaging nine yards a carry, during a breakout junior season. He also is a threat to take it back on kickoffs, averaging 40 yards a return in ’17. He scored more than 20 touchdowns for the Panthers.

No. 8 Ali Mohammad, Glendale Apollo, 5-10, 180

Mohammad should be even better after he ran for 1,530 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. Quick, fast, elusive, he has gotten stronger in the weight room without losing speed and agility.

No. 9 Deonce Elliott, Mesa Red Mountain, 5-10, 180, Jr.

Red Mountain found  an answer to its run game with Elliott recently transferring from Mesa Desert Ridge. But he may have to sit out the first five games because of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s transfer rules. To have this speedy athlete for the second half of the season should help the Lions in their push for the 6A playoffs.

No. 10  Marqui Johnson, Saguaro, 5-8, 160, Sr.

A recent transfer from Chaparral, Johnson will likely sit the first five games with the move. But he’ll probably play nine games with the Sabercats again the favorite to win 4A. He is lightning, great in space, has moves that make it tough to get a good hit on him.

Own a business?

Sponsor an ad in our program and/or  a stadium banner!  Click here.

Know someone who owns a business?

Ask them to become a sponsor!  Click here.

Have a student athlete?

Take out a player ad in the program!  Click here.

Register at www.mphspride.com
> Athletics > Camps/Clinics
> Programs > Camps/Clinic at Mountain Pointe
or click here to Register

Mountain Pointe Football Strength, Skills & Conditioning

For all Current Mountain Pointe Football Players & Incoming Frosh Football Players

Mondays – Fridays  | through June 28  AND  July 16 – 20 |  2:00 – 4:00 pm  |  Strength Conditioning  |  Weight Room

Tuesdays & Thursdays |  through June 28 AND  July 17 & 19 |  4:00 – 6:00 pm  |  Skills Training  |  Practice Fields

Camp Fee:  $125

Football Camp is conducted by Mountain Pointe Head Rich Wellbrock and his coaching staff. The camp is designed to provide the best in the coaching, teaching and development of sound and basic football fundamentals.

Questions: Coach Wellbrock rwellbrock@tempeunion.org

Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson, Jakim McKinney, Nick Wallerstedt, and Anthony Dedrick named in Arizona’s Top High School Football 2019 Recruits

, azcentral sportsPublished 4:48 p.m. MT March 16, 2018 | Updated 5:05 p.m. MT May 22, 2018

Arizona high school football recruiting: Top recruits in 2019 class

Major colleges are going to be coming through Arizona in May to see all the talent. There’s a lot and it just keeps growing. The 2019 class is as deep and talented as any that has come through in the past 10 years.

This is the azcentral sports’ Big 150, and each week, we’ll add 10 names to the list.

Editor’s note: Richard Obert ranked the Top 100 high school football prospects in Arizona before last year, but this is a new list for the 2018 season.

 

No. 12 Lacarea Pleasant Johnson, Mountain Pointe, DB, 6-2, 180

His recruiting ramped up in the spring with offers from Colorado, Florida, Iowa State, Missouri NAU. It’s a matter of time before ASU and Arizona offer. He is fast with great range and top-notch ball skills. Great athlete. Plays receiver on offense. He had 20 tackles and an interception last season.

No. 56 Jakim McKinney, Mountain Pointe, RB, 5-7, 160

Ran for 1,300 yards last season, showing great burst and change-of-speed moves that had tacklers grasping at air in 6A.

No. 57 Nick Wallerstedt, Mountain Pointe, QB/Athlete, 6-3, 185

A great multi-sport athlete in football and baseball. He started several games his sophomore year, then became the full-time starter last season when he passed for close to 1,600 yards and ran for 711 yards.

No. 101 Anthony Dedrick, Mountain Pointe, TE/DE, 6-4, 235

He played in just six games last season, totally 13 tackles. But he has made dramatic steps in his recruiting with offers from South Dakota State, San Diego State and New Mexico State since May 7.

Hedley Orthopaedic Sports Medicine staff will be conducting PreParticipation Sports Physicals for the 2018-2019 school year on Tuesday, May 8th. Physicals will be $15 cash or check. Checks can be made payable to Hedley Orthopaedics. Every student planning to try-out for a school sport will be required to have a physical prior to try-outs. These physicals will be good for the entire 2018-2019 school year!

In addition to Sports Physicals, the Hedley Orthopaedic Sports Medicine staff will have Baseline ImPACT testing available to take at the time of physicals. ImPACT is a computerized neurocognitive baseline test for concussions/head injuries. Every high-risk athlete is required to have a valid baseline test on file prior to try-out every school year. The baseline test will be good for the entire 2018-2019 school year. The Sports medicine staff will review all tests at the conclusion of physicals to determine validity. If invalid, student-athletes will be required to do a retest prior to beginning try-outs. This test provides baseline data to the Certified Athletic Trainers and Team Physicians to refer to if a concussion is sustained during the season, think of it as a physical for the brain.

High-Risk Athletes that are required to have a valid baseline test on file prior to try-outs are Football, Cheerleading, Volleyball, Diving, Soccer, Basketball, Wrestling, Baseball, Softball, and Pole-vaulting.

Click here for more information including all forms and guidelines.

The 1st Annual Mountain Pointe Football Boosters Cornhole Tournament will be held Saturday, May 12th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at Desert Foothills Park, 1010 E Marketplace SE, Phoenix, AZ 85048.

This ADULTS-ONLY event will benefit the Mountain Pointe High School Football Boosters Club.

In addition to the cornhole tournament, there will be a 50/50 raffle, and other raffles for various prizes, including two Arizona Cardinals football tickets to an upcoming game.

Pizza, water and soft drinks will be available for purchase as well.

Find details and registration form here:  MP Football’s 1st Annual Cornhole Tournament

MP adds Conrad Hamilton as defensive coordinator and Ross Crow as offensive coordinator.

Mountain Pointe adds ex-head coaches Conrad Hamilton, Ross Crow as coordinators

, azcentral sportsPublished 11:07 a.m. MT March 28, 2018

Phoenix Mountain Pointe continues to make moves beyond the Norris Vaughan era with new head coach Rich Wellbrock adding Conrad Hamilton as his defensive coordinator and Ross Crow as offensive coordinator.

Both men were ran high school programs in the Valley.

Hamilton was head coach at both Phoenix North Canyon and Scottsdale Chaparral. He was defensive coordinator on two of Chaparral’s state championship teams during the Charlie Ragle era.

Crow led Avondale Agua Fria’s program the last two years. Before that, Crow was head coach at Phoenix Sierra Linda.

“I’m just excited for our kids, to get to be coached by a staff that both Ross and Conrad has helped me put together,” Wellbrock said of the coaching additions. “I know the community is really excited.”

Wellbrock said that Hamilton is bringing his defensive coaches from Chaparral with him.

Crow also is bringing help, according to Wellbrock.

“I’ve kind of given him and Ross a little leeway hiring their own guys,” Wellbrock said. “At this level, you’ve got to have guys you can trust.”

Pride stocked with talent once again

Mountain Pointe again figures to have one of the best teams in the state with the return of quarterback Nick Wallerstedt, running back Jakim McKinney and offensive lineman Deandre Henry. Mountain Pointe also has one of the top defensive backs in the West in Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson.

Crow was offensive coordinator at Surprise Shadow Ridge before he became head coach at Sierra Linda, where he was 7-13 in two seasons. His Agua Fria teams went 2-8 and 1-9.

Hamilton teaches at Chaparral, but the Firebirds went out of state for their next head coach, hiring offensive-minded Brent Barnes, who had a successful run at Norman (Okla.) North, where he was 26-9 in three years.

Nine of Hamilton’s 10 years coaching high school football in the Valley was spent at Chaparral. He was head coach at North Canyon for one season, before returning to Chaparral. He was the DC at Chaparral on two of the state title teams while Chaparral strung together three championships in a row from 2009-11.

Hamilton left Chaparral as head coach in 2016 to join Todd Graham’s staff at Arizona State as a defensive analyst. He returned to Chaparral last year back in his role as defensive coordinator under Thomas Lewis.

Hamilton is a fiery coach, just like Wellbrock.

How will that mix on the sideline?

“When we’re fired up, we’ll keep an arm’s distance,” Wellbrock said. “We want the best for the kids.

“After we talked, we figured out it was a good union. I’m excited.”

Wellbrock, who was 2-8 in his only season leading Chandler Basha in 2017, says this will be much like his days at Goodyear Desert Edge, where he delegated to coordinators. The Scorpions had a big run under Wellbrook, leading to a state championship in 2015.

Congratulation to the following Mountain Pointe football players on committing to play at the next level!

 Gary Bragg  Colorado State University - Pueblo
 Kenny Churchwell  University of California, Los Angeles
 Marshawn Gibson  Pima Community College
 Jatori Gipson  Pima Community College
 Sky Hinojosa  New Mexico State University
 Mason Honne  Washburn University
 Donte Lindsey  Pima Community College
 Jeon Moss  Phoenix College
 Daniel Pena  Pima Community College
 Andres Rangel  Pima Community College
 Khalif Ravenell  Eastern New Mexico University

 

Kenny Churchwell holds up four fingers as he sports a UCLA hat on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 at Mountain Pointe High School. (Photo: Richard Obert/azcentral sports)

Mountain Pointe safety Kenny Churchwell feints toward ASU football, picks UCLA

, azcentral sportsPublished 8:55 a.m. MT Jan. 26, 2018 | Updated 9:42 a.m. MT Jan. 26, 2018

Mountain Pointe safety Kenny Churchwell, playing the ‘eeny, meeny, miny, mo’ game Friday, initially picked up an Arizona State hat.

He started to put it on as friends and family in the room started to applaud.

But then his mother grabbed his arms to stop him. He put the ASU hat back down and grabbed the UCLA hat as students screamed and swarmed him.

Churchwell, picking among UCLA, ASU and Arizona, announced during an early-morning news conference in the Mountain Pointe High School gym lobby that he will play college football for the Bruins.

UCLA didn’t offer him until two months ago but he always thought of himself playing at a major university in California. The All-Arizona senior took his official visit there last weekend. 

“UCLA is a great school,” Churchwell said. “Everybody dreams of going to California.

“I always wanted to either to go to USC or UCLA. I grew up watching them. They’re big on education. I love the opportunity there.”

Churchwell, who teamed up in Mountain Pointe’s secondary with current USC safety Isaiah Pola-Mao during the Pride’s 2016 runs to the 6A final, will now be a football rival with his good friend in the Pac-12.

“He asked me a couple of days ago, ‘Where are you going?’ ” Churchwell saiid. “I said, ‘Wait until Friday.’ Everybody had been asking me. I told (Pola-Mao) either we’ll play together or we’ll play against each other.”

But USC wasn’t among the three hats in front of him at a table on Friday. It was Arizona, ASU and UCLA. All three schools have new coaches.

It looked like it was ASU when Churchwell picked up the hat.

But he told the students to hold back before rushing him, then put the cap down and put on the UCLA hat, as more screams of joy erupted.

He embraced his father, Kenny Jr., in an emotional hug, filled with tears.

Churchwell said he was leaning towards ASU at one point.

“Coach (Herm) Edwards is a big-time coach,” Churchwell said about ASU. “But when UA picked (Kevin) Sumlin, that also is a big-time coach. So it was hard to decide. But it’s Chip Kelly (new UCLA coach) all the way.”

Churchwell texted former Mountain Pointe offensive lineman Kenny Lacy, who plays at UCLA, asking him if he thought he would get a UCLA offer.

“He said, ‘Look at you, you’re going to get one,’ ” Churchwell said. “I thought it was just UA offer, an ASU offer, and be a home-town hero. But the opportunity to get a Cal-Berkeley offer, a UCLA offer, Washington State, Boise State, those are big-time schools.”

Even though Churchwell hadn’t yet to receive the UCLA offer, he posted on Twitter in early November that the Bruins were in his top five.

“I had to say I’m open for anything,” he said. “UCLA came and I’m truly blessed with it.”