Congratulations to the Pride Varsity Football Team for advancing to the 2013 Arizona Division I State Championship game for the second straight year. The Pride will face Hamilton in a rematch of the 2012 title game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday November 30, 2013 at 3:30pm.
Phoenix Mountain Pointe trailed in a game for just the third time this season. It fumbled away the only play it ran in the first quarter.
But the defense never faltered, and the top-ranked team in Division I showed its grit and dominance in the second half, shutting down vaunted running back Taren Morrison and pulling away from Mesa Desert Ridge for a 27-9 state semifinal victory Monday night at Tempe McClintock High.
Mountain Pointe (13-0) advances to its second consecutive trip to the state championship on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“That is the most physical team I ever have seen in this state,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said.
After fumbling the ball on the Mountain Pointe’s only first-quarter play, Wesley Payne carried Mountain Pointe’s offense in the final quarter.
Payne, who also plays linebacker, ran four straight times for 40 yards, capping it with a 14-yard touchdown that extended Mountain Pointe’s lead to 20-9 with 7:33 left.
Junior Paul Lucas finished off Desert Ridge with a 46-yards scoring run a little later.
Finally, Desert Ridge (11-2) got a first down with Morrison running for 26 yards on a couple of plays. But by then Mountain Pointe had let its foot off. Mountain Pointe was missing two starting defenders for the game.
“Our defense was incredible,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “They got three field goals and we gave them at least two of those.
“Wesley Payne was hurt. He played a little defense and came back like that. We had so many kids out. But I’m so proud of the guys.”
Even with Mountain Pointe loading the box with nine defenders, Desert Ridge established the line of scrimmage to start the game.
It ran 10 plays in the opening quarter when Mountain Pointe ran just one, which was fumbled away by Wesley Payne on the handoff. Mountain Pointe touched the ball only one other time in the first quarter – a fumbled kickoffs.
Landon Whitlow, who kicked a 49-yard field goal in the quarterfinals, made Mountain Pointe pay for not taking a holding penalty from its 35. On that first drive, Whitlow kicked a 50-yard field goal to put Mountain Pointe in a hole for the first time this season.
Whitlow’s field goal on the first play of the second quarter gave Desert Ridge a 6-0 lead.
Mountain Pointe’s offense finally got on the field, and it took only 1:10 to score a touchdown. Antonio Hinojosa found Jalen Brown deep for a 38-yard scoring pass and a 7-6 lead.
Desert Ridge took a 9-7 lead at the half, thanks to help from Mountain Pointe, which was flagged for three 15-yard penalties – two personal fouls on the same plays and a roughing the passer on a third-down incompletion. Whitlow’s 37-yard field goal with 1:33 left put Mountain Pointe down at the half.
Taren Morrison, who came into the game with 2,400 rushing yards, ran for 61 yards on 12 carries in the first half.
Desert Ridge had only 30 yards on 11 plays in the opening quarter, but the two fumbles kept Mountain Pointe’s offense off the field.
Desert Ridge’s defense played well for the most part, limiting Mountain Pointe to the Brown TD and two John Abercrombie field goals, before wearing down Desert Ridge with a punishing run game in the final quarter.
Mountain Pointe is returning to the scene of the crime and that’s no cliché.
The top-seeded Pride made quick work of No. 9 Red Mountain, 48-7 on the strength of a 21-point first quarter on Friday in the Division I quarterfinals at Karl Kiefer Stadium.
The win advances Mountain Pointe (12-0) to the state semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons where the Pride will take on No. 4 Desert Ridge (12-0) at McClintock High.
The Pride players had personal items stolen from the locker room at McClintock during last year’s first half in beating Brophy 30-0 in the semifinals.
“I’m not bringing anything valuable, I can tell you that,” Pride senior linemen Natrell Curtis said with a laugh. “I’m just playing. It’s good we are going back to a place we’ve played before. We’ll be ready.”
Unlike the security at McClintock last year, the Pride’s defense has been on lockdown all season and it continued against Red Mountain (6-6).
With the Pride up 14-0 after Antonio Hinojosa (8 of 11 for 161 yards) threw the first two of four touchdown passes, the defense added to the first-quarter scoring splurge when defensive end Mitchell Fraboni hit the quarterback from behind and the ball popped into the hands of Pride linebacker Trey Lauer, who took 28-yards for the score.
“That’s was a big-time play, something you see in the NFL.” Pride coach Norris Vaughan, who improved to 99-16 in his Arizona coaching career. “Our defense has been outstanding all year.”
Red Mountain had its chance to get some momentum in the second quarter after a shanked punt gave the Mountain Lions the ball on the Pride’s 29, but when the offense tried some razzle dazzle with a reverse wide receiver throw it was intercepted by senior Dominique Fenstermacher, who nearly turned it into a pick six.
“There is no margin for error,” Red Mountain coach Ron Wisneiwski said. “Even on their first touchdown our kid gets his hand of the ball, but instead of batting it down, he batted it in the air and their kid (Butler) caught it for a touchdown. It was like that all night.
“At the time (on the interception) it’s only 21-0 and if we score who knows where this game goes, but we didn’t. Give them credit. I am proud of our guys considering where we started out (1-4) and how they fought back.”
The Pride, fighting a strong wind, was unable to expand its lead in the second quarter but put up another 21 points in the third quarter as Timmy Hernandez caught a 16-yarder, Brandyn Leonard scored from 5-yards out and Brown hauled in a 64-yard bomb.
The seniors played their final game at home, where the Pride haven’t lost since Sept. 27, 2011, and plenty of them made their presence felt as Wesley Payne rushed for 133 yards on 21 carries, Brown had two scores and finished with three catches for 99 yards, Mitchell Fraboni had two sacks, Lauer had the defensive touchdown and Charlie Trevino had a sack.
“It’s bittersweet because it means a new chapter in my life is coming,” Trevino said. “We’ve had some great memories here. It’s really hard to put into words, but we still have a few more weeks together.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
MP 48, Red Mountain 7
Mountain Pointe crushes Boulder Creek By Jason P. Skoda, Ahwatukee Foothills News East Valley Tribune
The order of business for Mountain Pointe wasn’t much different than the previous weeks.
Play as efficient as possible on offense, don’t budge on defense and build a big lead early on so the will of the opposition starts to wane.
The top-seeded Pride followed it pretty much to script in thumping No. 16 Boulder Creek 55-7 on Friday in the first-round of the Division I playoffs at Karl Kiefer Stadium.
Mountain Pointe (11-0) will host No. 9 Red Mountain (6-5) after the Mountain Lions handled No. 8 Highland, 34-6.
“We had some mistakes, but that wasn’t the type of game we expected,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “We had the running game going as Wesley Payne ran really well and Jalen Brown continues to make big plays and the defense didn’t give up anything.”
The Pride had a few too many penalties, missed an extra point and the backups allowed a touchdown to end the chance of extending the team record of four shutouts in a season, but all-in-all it was another impressive showing.
The defense allowed 36 yards in the first half and stopped the Jaguars (5-6) on three fourth down attempts to get the ball right back to the offense.
On two of those turnover-on-downs the Pride scored on the first play from scrimmage and at one point had three straight one-play scoring drives and four overall.
“We needed to show them why we were seeded No. 1 and they were No. 16,” senior linebacker Trey Lauer said. “Once we got the lead we just kept piling it on.”
The Jaguars opened the game with an onside kick, but it went out of bounds to set up the Pride with the short field.
Paul Lucas scored a few plays later on a 38-yard run to get it started as Mountain Pointe scored on six of seven offensive possessions in the first half (7 of 8 overall by the first team) and piled up 322 yards in the first half.
Payne, showing some speed to go with his usual power running, scored on runs of 57 and 39 yards, while Brown caught four passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns, the first of which gave him the school record for most career touchdowns (48).
Quarterback Antonio Hinojosa finished with his fourth game of completing 100 percent of his passes, this time going 10 for 10 for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
The Pride, which has had three players break arms in recent weeks, were without their top kicker/punter Ryan Sheehan, who was hurt in practice Wednesday, and wide receiver/cornerback Timmy Hernandez didn’t play in the second half because of hip injury.
Other than that it all added up to another dominate win in what Mountain Pointe hopes is a season that lasts three more weeks.
No. 1 Mountain Pointe 55, No. 16 Boulder Creek 7
BC 0 0 0 7 – 7
MP 13 28 7 7 – 55
MP – Lucas 38 run (kick failed), 9:12
MP – Brown 27 pass from Hinojosa (Abercrombie kick), 1:17
MP – Payne 57 run (Abercrombie kick), 11:13
MP – Brown 32 pass from Hinojosa (Abercrombie kick), 7:17
MP – Payne 39 run (Abercrombie kick), 5:11
MP – Brown 7 pass from Hinojosa (Abercrombie kick), 0.00
MP – Leonard 6 run (Abercrombie kick), 7:24
BC – D. Johnson 6 pass from G. Johnson (Perna kick), 4:52
MP – Ellis 79 run (Abercrombie kick), 4:28.
First downs 7 12
Rushing 21-22 18-272
Passing 10-18-0-66 11-12-0-194
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties 2-20 8-73
BC – G. Johnson 11-27, Kautzman 2-(-1), Dawson 1-(-2), Parenteau 2-(-2), Byrd 2-7, Bedatsky 1-(-3), Essary 1-(-2). MP – Payne 6-113, Lucas 4-63, Leonard 4-17, Ellis 1-79, Blohm 1-0.
BC – Johnson 11-17-0-66, No. 6 0-1-0-0. MP – Hinojosa 10-10-0-180, Alston 1-2-0-14.
BC – D. Johnson 8-35, Parenteau 2-11, Kautzman 1-3, Haney 1-17. MP – Brown 4-130, Hernandez 3-27, Butler 3-40.
Come out and cheer on our Mountain Pointe Pride Football team on Friday Night November 8, 2013, as they host Boulder Creek High School in the 1st playoff game.
Game will be at Mountain Pointe High School at 7:00pm
.Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2013 12:43 am | Updated: 12:50 am, Sat Nov 2, 2013.
Mountain Pointe hammers Dobson for perfect regular season By Edmund Hubbard, Special to Tribune East Valley Tribune
After Mountain Pointe defeated Dobson, 57-3, on Friday night, Pride players shook their opponents’ hands, sang the fight song with the band and smiled at the fans’ signs reading “10-0.”
The players celebrated their undefeated season only for those couple minutes. By the time coach Norris Vaughan finished his postgame speech, their minds were focused on the playoffs.
“We’ve had a great season,” Vaughan said. “Now that season’s over so all that we just played doesn’t count for anything. Now we got to go on and get ready for the next season.”
Senior quarterback Antonio Hinojosa said the earned their undefeated record and expected No. 1 seed in the Division I playoffs.
“I feels weird,” Hinojosa said. “I’ve never been here before. But it feels really good. It feels like we definitely deserve to be here. We’ve worked hard enough to be here and it’s a much deserved record, 10-0.”
The player wearing number 10 was the main reason the Pride got their 10th win this season.
Mountain Pointe came out flat to start the game. The offense turned the ball over on its opening drive after a Dobson defender popped the ball out of senior wide receiver Jalen Brown’s hands after a catch. The defense stopped Dobson on the ensuing drive.
Hinojosa used his arm to get the team back on track.
On Mountain Pointe’s second drive, Hinojosa stepped back and heaved the ball deep down the field to Brown. Hinojosa trusted his receiver and Brown came down with the ball for a 58-yard catch.
“It was close,” Hinojosa said. “I couldn’t really see where the safety was. He rolled over from the opposite side so once I let it go, I was kind of scared that he was going to get to that ball, but I knew Jalen was going to get there first.”
The deep ball to Brown set up a 26-yard touchdown pass from Hinojosa to senior wide receiver Timmy Hernandez. It was only the beginning for the lefty quarterback.
He finished the night 11-of-16 for 253 yards, four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. The offense utilized the air attack early and Hinojosa threw for the team’s first three touchdowns to take control of the game.
“We’ve always known that our passing had success,” Hinojosa said. “Today our running game struggled for the first couple plays and then we realized our pass game was on point. So Coach Vaughan is willing to do whatever it takes to win and the passing game was there tonight.”
Dobson did not have as much success throwing the ball as Mountain Pointe, only managing 25 yards through the air.
The Mustangs came into the game as a run based team. When they were forced to pass they were met and stopped by Pride senior defensive end Mitchell Fraboni.
Fraboni applied relentless pressure to the Dobson offense.
He recorded one-and-a-half sacks and intercepted Dobson junior quarterback Joshua Jaramillo on a screen pass. He would have also added another sack but it was called back because of a Mountain Pointe penalty.
Fraboni said he tried to take advantage when the Mustangs decided to pass.
“I just noticed that they weren’t very fast, their tackles, so I tried to use my speed to beat them,” Fraboni said. “But I had to get physical because we did need to get tough because they kept trying to run inside.”
Mountain Pointe’s undefeated record only gives them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Fraboni said the seeding makes the road to a championship even tougher because puts a target on the team’s back.
Now the Pride only have one game guaranteed.
“We treat every game like it’s the state championship from now on,” Hinojosa said. “We win or go home so there’s no mentality like that when you’re on a football field.”
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:25 am | Updated: 3:54 pm, Sat Oct 19, 2013.
By Jason P. Skoda, Ahwatukee Foothills News
The Mountain Pointe football team has been described as athletic, fast, quick and plenty of other superlatives on the way to being considered Division I’s premier team and nationally ranked.
The Pride showed a side Friday not that is just as important but has been overlooked.
Mountain Pointe dismantled Corona del Sol 63-0 as expected at Karl Kiefer Stadium and did so in a near flawless fashion by executing the game plan in a situation that could have led to a sloppy game.
The Pride were playing as heavy favorites to kick off homecoming weekend. It’s not always a good combination. They could have overlooked the Aztecs (1-7) or come out flat.
Instead Mountain Pointe might have had had its best executed game of the season.
“We came out and did what we needed to in order to take control of the game,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “I was proud of how we executed and took any chance of a letdown out of it.”
Mountain Pointe’s offense scored on all nine possessions, including seven in the first half as it scored 42 points on just 16 plays, to pile up a total of 389 yards.
It’s the equivalent of a perfect game offensively as quarterback Antonio Hinojosa completed all six pass attempts for 199 yards and four touchdowns, three of which when to senior Jalen Brown, who had four catches for 139 yards, including a spectacular one-handed job to close out the first half.
“We came out and did what we needed to do,” said senior wide receiver/cornerback Timmy Hernandez, who had two rushes for 61 yards, one catch for 31 yards and an interception. “We showed some maturity and didn’t let the situation get the best of us.”
The defense set the school record with its fourth shutout of the season and has allowed 82 points in nine games.
In the first half, the Aztecs had 21 carries for 11 yards and five passing yards on one completion in six attempts. Overall, Corona finished with 46 yards, including the negative yardage on a blocked punt and five sacks, on 41 offensive plays.
The Aztecs were outplayed, but not overwhelmed by the situation.
Corona’s players played to the whistle, showed little frustration and didn’t worsen the situation by getting unsportsmanlike penalties. Instead, they lined up every play, running clock or not, and played hard until the whistle.
From that respect it was everything an interim coach like Tim Kelly would want to see from a team that has struggled to be competitive and had a midseason coaching change.
“The scoreboard doesn’t reflect our kid’s work ethic,” he said. “We came out and took it to them (two first downs) on the first drive and moved the ball before some dropped passes stopped us.
“They’ve overcome a great amount of obstacles. They’ve kept fighting and they keep showing up and that’s all we can ask them to do.”
But it was never going to be enough against the Pride as they surge toward the second 10-0 regular season in school history with one game remaining, after next week’s bye, at Dobson (2-6) on Nov. 1.
“I saw what I wanted to from this team,” senior Wesley Payne said. “We were focused and showed what we can do when we are.”
Mountain Pointe 63, Corona del Sol 0
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:47 am
By Edmund Hubbard, Special to Tribune
It may have been Mountain Pointe’s Senior Night, but it was a junior who had the best performance Friday.
Junior linebacker Keondre Churchwell decided to honor his senior teammates by wreaking havoc in the Brophy backfield. He recorded one sack and two tackles for loss for a total of 15 negative yards to help the Pride defense shut out the Broncos, 31-0.
Churchwell and the Pride defense played stout all night. Even when the Brophy offense would get close to scoring range the unit would tighten up and the only scoring opportunities Brophy had were two missed field goals.
“We played well on defense,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “(Churchwell’s) a young kid and he played really well.”
For Brophy it was another unproductive night offensively for a team that averages 15 points per game this season.
Brophy coach Scooter Molander gave credit to the Pride defense but also said some other his own players’ mistakes kept them out of the end zone.
“When we had success, we shot ourselves in the foot with some untimely penalties,” Molander said. “We got some drives going and they filled the box and we weren’t able to win on a few routes. Obviously they’re not the number one ranked team in the state for nothing.”
Churchwell did an excellent job of coming down and filling that gap before a Brophy pulling lineman got there to block him. He saw the play develop early and his quick reads led to the tackles in the backfield and other stops at the line of scrimmage.
He said the defensive coaches game planned against the play during the week but his teammate, senior linebacker Wesley Payne helped him adjust during the game.
“Actually Wesley (Payne) told me to fill the hole faster so I don’t get hit by that big lineman because he’s 200-and-something pounds and I’m only 180,” Churchwell said. “It’s kind of obvious, get there before him and you’ll win.”
Mountain Pointe has good timing when it comes to running backs.
Vaughan said junior running back Paul Lucas broke his hand last week. Therefore, he didn’t play Friday. Fortunately, it was Payne’s first game back after dislocating his elbow.
Payne must have felt like he had to make up for the games he missed because he hammered the Brophy defense for 206 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown.
“The linemen made some outstanding blocks,” Payne said. “I was able to find a hole and do my best to run…It just feels good to be back.”
It took some time for Payne and the Pride offense to find their rhythm and they were not able to score in the first quarter.
The Brophy defenders were constantly moving around before the snap. Usually there was only one defensive lineman with his hand down before each play.
“I thought Brophy did a good job,” Vaughan said. “Their defense played tough early, jumping around and all that kind of stuff, kind of confusing a little bit. But I’m proud of our team, we played really well.”
Payne said he was able to read the defense better as the game went on, even with all the movement. The Pride found their offensive stride in the second quarter and scored two touchdowns.
Coming out into the second half with a 14-0 lead, Vaughan gave the ball to Payne to close out the game. Payne took 11 carries and scored a touchdown to seal the deal for the Pride.
Even with the elbow brace on, Payne ran the ball physically up the middle for Mountain Pointe, while taking some shots along the way.
Payne doesn’t mind being the work horse.
“I like that role,” Payne said. “I try to sacrifice my body for the team and I enjoy that role.”
This is the fifth loss of the season for Brophy and it has obviously been a disappointing season for Broncos, who were the only team to be Mountain Pointe in last year’s regular season.
Despite the tough loss, Molander he is proud of the way his team played against the top team in the state.
“We fought for four quarters,” Molander said. “Overall we competed and that’s what you want from your team. The score doesn’t reflect, I think, ultimately the way we competed and we did miss some opportunities.”
Lucas said after the game he probably won’t play next week against Corona Del Sol but he might be ready the following week at Dobson.
Mountain Pointe 31, Brophy 0