Running game leads Mountain Pointe to third win. - Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney, #33, evades a Mountain View tackle on... [ read more ]

Pride, Thunder both take to the road Friday after big wins - Marshawn Gibson marches down the field to start the fourth quarter against... [ read more ]

Mountain Pointe avenges state title loss, upsets Chandler on the road - Tyre Johnson carries the ball against Chandler Friday night at Austin... [ read more ]

Mountain Pointe football upsets Chandler on the road - Richard Morin, azcentral sportsPublished 10:14 p.m. MT Sept. 8,... [ read more ]

Pride seeks revenge in game against Chandler tonight - After intercepting his pass, MP’s Isaiah Palo-Mao tries to jump over... [ read more ]

Football Game Preview: Chandler vs. Mountain Pointe - Wednesday, September 6, 2017  |  By: Staff... [ read more ]

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Mountain View’s Jacobby Dinwiddie (red) and Mountain Pointe’s Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson grew up with each other and had several one-on-one battles on Friday night. (Darryl Webb/MyNewsMesa.com)

Blood brothers battle it out on Friday night

Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney (#33) is lifted by teammates after he scores a touchdown in the second quarter of their high school football game against Chandler on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, at Chandler High School in Chandler, Ariz.

Arizona high school football rankings for 2017 season: Through Sept. 15

, azcentral sportsPublished 4:05 p.m. MT Aug. 12, 2017 | Updated 3:00 p.m. MT Sept. 16, 2017

 

This will be a season-long thread, ranking the top 10 teams in each of the six conferences in Arizona high school football for the 2017, as determined by Richard Obert of azcentral sports.

Keep coming back to every week for updated rankings.

Week 4

Through Sept. 15

6A

No. 1 Gilbert Perry 5-0

No. 2 Phoenix Mountain Pointe 3-1

No. 3 Chandler 3-2

No. 4 Phoenix Pinnacle 3-2

No. 5 Chandler Hamilton 4-1

No. 6 Gilbert Highland 5-0

No. 7 Phoenix Desert Vista 3-1

No. 8 Phoenix Horizon 3-1

No. 9 Mesa Desert Ridge 3-1

No. 10 Mesa Red Mountain 2-2

Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney, #33, evades a Mountain View tackle on his way into the end zone for the Pride’s first touchdown.  [Photo by Cheryl Haselhorst]

Running game leads Mountain Pointe to third win.

By Eddie Poe AFN Contributor | 9/16/17

For a team that finished third in the 6A Conference in 2016 and fell short in the state title game, Phoenix Mountain Pointe looks to be doing everything they can to avenge last season’s result. 

A week after upsetting then No.1 Chandler on the road, top-ranked Mountain Pointe kept its foot on the gas pedal Friday night, cruising to a 35-3 victory over No. 22 Mesa Mountain View. 

“We were dominant on both offense and defense tonight,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “Our quarterback made plays and our backs ran really hard behind our line for most of the game.”

Mountain Pointe (3-1) wasn’t perfect on either side of the ball by any means. It racked up over a dozen penalties throughout the game, which allowed Mountain View (2-2) a time of possession which nearly seemed like an eternity. Fortunately for the Pride, secondary play from Kenny Churchwell and Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson kept the Toros out of the end-zone numerous times despite the long list of penalties. 

“[They] certainly made their fair share of plays,” Vaughan said. “We were so dominant on defense but it was the penalties that allowed them to stay on the field and keep their drives going.”

For the second straight week, Mountain Pointe got the offensive push up front that they’re accustomed to seeing, which created a plethora of holes for the backfield. 

After a drive early on led to a touchdown run by Jakim McKinney, a hole opened up once again to start the second quarter and Gary Bragg found paydirt for the second rushing touchdown in the game, scampering for a 23-yard touchdown to give the Pride a 14-3 lead.

A critical mistake to go for it on fourth down deep in their own territory, came back to bite the Toros right before the half. Mountain Pointe took over possession at the Toros’ 23-yard-line and a few plays later, McKinney ran it in from nine yards out for his second touchdown of the game. 

“We’ve all been working really hard at practice,” McKinney said. “Sometimes the guys up front make mistakes but they get right back up and they got a lot better tonight.”

A few minutes before the half, Mountain View had their best opportunity to get back in the game but another crucial mistake proved costly. On a screen pass out left, quarterback Brandon Nuñez hit Jacobby Dinwiddie in the flat and the offensive line carved out an open path to the end zone and Dinwiddie took it to the house for what seemed like a must-have touchdown. Unfortunately, a holding penalty negated the touchdown pass and Mountain Pointe went into the half with a 21-3 lead.

From there the rout continued as on the opening play of the second half, a hole practically the size of Arizona opened and quarterback Nick Wallerstedt it himself for a 77-yard touchdown run. 

“We knew what to expect tonight and I felt like our guys came out and played really hard on both sides,” Vaughan said. “We just need to cut down on penalties.”

To go along with four touchdowns on the ground, Wallerstedt connected with Pleasant-Johnson late in the fourth on a touchdown pass. He finished with a TD reception and an interception — a pick for a touchback late in the second quarter that stalled a Mountain View drive.

The Pride will return home next week for the first time this season, when they welcome quarterback phenom Spencer Rattler and Pinnacle High School (3-2). 

Photo: Carlos Salcedo, azcentral sports

By:  | September 9, 2017

Mountain Pointe (Phoenix) takes down No. 10 Chandler (Ariz.) on the road

Following a loss to national power Chaminade Prep (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Phoenix Mountain Pointe stunned top-ranked Chandler, 24-21, on its home turf Friday.

MORE: How the Super 25 fared for Sep. 8-Sept. 9

Mountain Pointe quarterback Nick Wallerstedt got the game’s first score by way of a 3-yard keeper with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter. Two plays later, Jacob Olsen recovered a fumble by Chandler’s offense and returned it 12 yards to make it a two-score game.

The Pride (2-1) kept the pressure on with a four-play, 83-yard drive punctuated by Jakim McKinney’s 2-yard plunge early in the second.

Chandler (2-2) finally got a defensive stop midway through the second quarter and got on the board with a DeCarlos Brooks touchdown run with just over four minutes remaining in the half.

Neither team scored in the third until Ben Abercrombie kicked a 16-yard field goal to make it 24-14 in favor of the Pride.

However, on the next possession, Brooks scored on a 1-yard run to make it a three-point game. Mountain Pointe recovered the onside kick, but fumbled a few plays later and Chandler’s Avery Carrington recovered.

With the ball and just two minutes left, the Chandler offense just couldn’t pull through and Mountain Pointe held on for the win.

Marshawn Gibson marches down the field to start the fourth quarter against the Chandler Wolves.  [Photo courtesy of MP Football Facebook]

Pride, Thunder both take to the road Friday after big wins

By Greg Macafee, AFN Sports Editor  |  

The tough competition doesn’t stop with last weekend’s defeat of Chandler High as Mountain Pointe High will see where it stands against the Arizona’s top football talent in the coming weeks.

This week, the Pride will hit the road for the third straight week, taking on Mesa Mountain View (2-1).

The Toros are 1-0 at home this year, defeating Corona del Sol (1-3) 35-18. They are led by Mike Fell, who won his 200th career game in the season opening victory over Valley Vista.

Friday night will bring a matchup between two experienced head coaches and several talented players.

Mountain Pointe will have the task of locking up the quarterback-receiver tandem of Brandon Nunez and Jacobby Dinwiddie. The pair has hooked up for 283 passing yards and one touchdown so far in 2017. As a sophomore, Dinwiddie was a huge part of the Toros offense, catching 70 passes for 1,012 yards and six touchdowns.

Look for a talented secondary, led by Pride seniors Kenny Churchwell, Delano Salgado, Tyre Johnson and Marshawn Gibson to lock down the pair through the air.

On the ground, the Toros have been led by senior tailback Dean Yamada who has tallied 198 yards on 40 carries.

Mountain Pointe also will have to be on the lookout for the running ability of Nunez. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound quarterback has scampered for 63 yards this season, but he showed off his legs in the red zone against Valley Vista, finding the end zone twice.   

If Pride secondary can contain the duo of Nunez and Dinwiddie, the talented trio of running backs from Mountain Pointe should have the opportunity to control the pace of the game like they have all season long.

It’s been a staple of their offense since their first game, when senior Gary Bragg returned from an ACL injury last season with a 131-yard, three-touchdown performance against Sandra Day O’Connor.

Against Chaminade, a top-10 school in California, Bragg was locked up for just 45 yards on 10 carries. But, junior running back Jakim McKinney made his presence known, rushing for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

Another important aspect of Mountain Pointe’s matchup with Mountain View will be the play of quarterback Nick Wallerstedt.

With a stout running game behind him and a big offensive line in front of him, the Pride signal-caller has been able to manage games. He has made throws when he has needed to, but also has used his feet when given the opportunity.

His three-yard quarterback keeper against Chandler put the Pride ahead and they never looked back.  

With a big redemption win over the state champions, the Pride look to be back to form after a tough loss against Chaminade. It still has a tough schedule ahead as Pinnacle and the Ahwatukee bowl both await in the weeks ahead.

Desert Vista vs. Brophy Prep

Desert Vista High School (2-1) made it two wins in a row on Friday with a 44-13 win over Mesa Skyline and this week it will look to make it three as they travel to Brophy Prep (1-3) to take on the Broncos.  

Brophy Prep fell to undefeated Highland this past Friday 14-6 in another close contest, a recurring theme for the Broncos. They squeaked out a 28-27 win against Westview and fell to Desert Ridge by nine points.

While their record may not show it, the Broncos boast a talented roster full of playmakers that head coach Daniel Hinds and his team will have to be on the lookout for. The talent of the Broncos starts in the backfield with quarterback Noah Gonzales.

The 6-foot-2 gunslinger has completed 50 percent of his passes in 2017 for 735 yards and five touchdowns. His only game without 200-plus passing yards came in their season opening loss to Pinnacle.

In his first season under center, Gonzales has found two favorite targets in seniors Xavier Juniel and senior Donovan Arthur. The two receivers have combined for 374 yards and three touchdowns in four games.

But he has also struggled at times, throwing three interceptions in the game against Highland.

This is an area of the game that a strong Desert Vista secondary could take advantage of as the combination of James Stagg, Caleb Humphrey and Larry Davis should stymie the Brophy running game. In both of Desert Vista’s victories season, they have held opponents below 200 rushing yards.

Offensively, the Thunder will look to continue to keep up their high scoring efforts as they are clicking in both the passing and running game.

Since throwing two interceptions against Perry, quarterback Derek Kline has been big for the Thunder. He’s completed over 60 percent of his passes in the past two games and he’s also thrown for seven touchdowns.

That streak should continue against Brophy if the Thunder can avoid turning the ball over, which they have done in the past two games other than a lone fumble against Basha.

Along with Kline, look for senior Keishaud White to have a big impact in their fourth game of the season. He has scored in all three games, both through the air and on the ground. But on Friday he added another facet to his scoring repertoire against Skyline, returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

– Contact Sports Editor Greg Macafee at gmacafee@timespublications.com or by phone at 585-610-2344. Follow Greg on Twitter @greg_macafee

 

Tyre Johnson carries the ball against Chandler Friday night at Austin Field.  |  Photo by Kimberly Carrillo

Mountain Pointe avenges state title loss, upsets Chandler on the road

By Eddie Poe AFN Contributor

From the start, you could tell it weighed heavy on their minds.

After falling in last year’s 6A state championship to Chandler, Mountain Pointe found the best type of redemption on Friday night — knocking off the No.1 team in the state on their own turf.

With a three-headed backfield controlling the running game early on, junior quarterback Nick Wallerstedt remained poised behind a stout offensive line as No. 2 Mountain Pointe stunned No.1 Chandler 24-21 on Friday night at Austin Field.

“I’m so proud of these boys, each and every one of them,” coach Norris Vaughan said.

As he shook hands and received congratulatory hugs from his coaching staff following the game, Vaughan yelled, “This ain’t us!”

He was referring to last week’s game against national power Chaminade Prep (Mission Viejo, Calif.) in which the Pride were unable to overcome a slew of mistakes en route to a loss.

A different Mountain Pointe team showed up on Friday night though.

Just before the end of the first quarter, the Pride (2-1) got things started when Wallerstedt took a keeper in from three yards out. Ten seconds later, Jacob Olsen recovered a fumble by Chandler and ran it in from 12 yards out to give the Pride a 14-0 lead.

On their first drive of the second quarter, Chandler made another costly mistake. The punter was unable to kick the ball away after a high snap and the Pride were gifted the ball on Chandler’s 17-yard line.

A few plays later, Jakim McKinney ran in it from two yards out and there was utter silence from the Chandler faithful. 

“That early momentum carried us,” Wallerstedt said. “It was exactly what we needed.”

Chandler (2-2) didn’t just fall back and fold. After four failed drives to start the game, backup quarterback Billy Bolger (replacing the injured Jacob Conover) began finding seams and the offense received some help in the form of a roughing the passer penalty. 

After a run that put them in the red zone was called back on a holding penalty, the Wolves eventually got on the board on a DeCarlos Brooks touchdown run with 4:37 remaining in the half.

For nearly the entire third quarter, both offenses stalled, unable to move the ball down the field. Driving towards the end of the quarter, Bolger found a receiver open across the middle and he took it 36 yards for a touchdown to cut Mountain Pointe’s lead to 21-14 as the third quarter ended.

Wallerstedt and Mountain Pointe’s backfield trio — Gary Bragg, Delano Salgado, and Marshawn Gibson — wore the Chandler defense down as they marched down the field to start the fourth quarter. Taking nearly seven minutes off the clock, Ben Abercrombie capped off the drive with a 16-yard field goal to give the Pride a 24-14 lead with five and half minutes remaining. 

Bolger and the Wolves didn’t feel the pressure though as they answered with a score of their own, running in a short touchdown to cut the lead back to 24-21 with just under three minutes to go. 

Then, on a handoff out left, the ball fell from Bragg’s hands as he turned up field and the Wolves recovered the fumble. The home crowd was the loudest it had been all game long, while the visiting Mountain Pointe fans were in utter shock. 

Just like a strong team does, the defense picked up the mistake made by the offense. On fourth down and the game on the line, Bolger’s pass was tipped up in the air and Salgado secured it to seal the victory. 

On the ground, the Pride ran for an even 200 yards while Wallerstedt accounted for 79 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.

“We’re still finding out who we are,” Vaughan said. “But this game helps us in the direction of finding it.”

Mountain Pointe will continue their season on the road next week as they travel to Mesa Mountain View.

, azcentral sportsPublished 10:14 p.m. MT Sept. 8, 2017

Mountain Pointe football upsets Chandler on the road

Following a loss to national power Chaminade Prep (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Phoenix Mountain Pointe stunned top-ranked Chandler, 24-21, on its home turf Friday. 

Mountain Pointe quarterback Nick Wallerstedt got the game’s first score by way of a 3-yard keeper with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter. Two plays later, Jacob Olsen recovered a fumble by Chandler’s offense and returned it 12 yards to make it a two-score game. 

The Pride (2-1) kept the pressure on with a four-play, 83-yard drive punctuated by Jakim McKinney’s 2-yard plunge early in the second. 

Chandler (2-2) finally got a defensive stop midway through the second quarter and got on the board with a DeCarlos Brooks touchdown run with just over four minutes remaining in the half. 

Neither team scored in the third until Ben Abercrombie kicked a 16-yard field goal to make it 24-14 in favor of the Pride. 

However, on the next possession, Brooks scored on a 1-yard run to make it a three-point game. Mountain Pointe recovered the onside kick, but fumbled a few plays later and Chandler’s Avery Carrington recovered. 

With the ball and just two minutes left, the Chandler offense just couldn’t pull through and Mountain Pointe held on for the win. 

Standout performer

Nick Wallerstedt took advantage of a sloppy Chandler contingent on Friday, grinding out 79 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. An effective running game behind him allowed the junior quarterback to pick his spots from the pocket – and he did not waste his opportunities. 

More standouts

Jacob Olsen (Mountain Pointe): Recovered and returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter and recorded an important sack in the second half. 

Jarick Caldwell (Chandler): In a relatively quiet night for the Wolves’ offense, Caldwell still impressed with six catches for 50 yards.

Star watch

Delano Selgado (Mountain Pointe): Although he didn’t reach the end zone, the speedy back was a productive playmaker for the Pride – finishing with 46 yards on 8 carries and a key interception on defense. 

Jacob Conover and Gunner Romney (Chandler): The Wolves surely missed their standout quarterback-receiver duo on Friday night. Conover – who has offers from Alabama and Arizona, among others – is out with a shoulder sprain. The BYU commit Romney is nursing a knee injury. 

Quote of the game

After a hard-fought loss the previous week, Wallerstedt said his team deserved the win after all the hard work they put in during preparation for Friday’s game. 

“It feels great,” Wallerstedt said. “We’ve been fighting all week, preparing as a team and staying focused. We deserve it.”

Stat of the game

As a team, Mountain Pointe rushed for an even 200 yards. 

Up next

Chandler will travel to face Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor next Friday, and Mountain Pointe will also take to the road for a bout with Mesa Mountain View. 

 

After intercepting his pass, MP’s Isaiah Palo-Mao tries to jump over Chandler’s Jacob Conover (17) downfield. Watching is brother Matthew Palo-Mao.  |  By Greg Macafee AFN Sports Editor

Pride seeks revenge in game against Chandler tonight

Tonight, Sept. 8, two of the top high school football teams in Arizona will battle it out in a rematch of the 2016 Class 6A state championship – a game that ended with the Chandler Wolves capturing their second state title in three years by defeating Mountain Pointe Pride.

While their seasons ended differently in 2016, the two teams have traveled similar paths since that day in December.

Both teams have lost top players to graduation, including Isaiah Palo-Moa for Mountain Pointe and T.J. Green for Chandler, who were among other great players that contributed to their successes last season.

Players on both sides have also stepped into those vacated roles, hoping to contribute to another winning season.  

To gain experience and see where they stand with the best of the best, Chandler and Mountain Pointe have also faced off against some of the best teams in the nation.

Chandler (2-1) took on No. 2-ranked IMG Academy on Aug. 26,, falling 27-14; Mountain Pointe (1-1) five days later fell to the No. 9-ranked team in California, Chaminade. After the loss to Chaminade, Pride Head Coach Norris Vaughan said the Pride, will just have to get better.

“We gotta improve on everything, we got to get better at everything that we can do,” Vaughan said.

Early on this season, injuries have begun to plague both teams. The Pride started off the season without linemen Matthew Pola-mao and Cole Cundary. The Wolves also have been hit by injury when quarterback Jacob Conover suffered a shoulder injury against IMG, leaving him in a sling for a few weeks. 

As it is still early in the season, both teams still have time to recover from injuries and grow.

The Pride has showcased strength in the run game with the return of Gary Bragg, combined with junior running back Jakim McKinney. And as expected, the defensive trio of Kenny Churchwell, Delano Salgado and Shomari Hayes will be big for Mountain Pointe.

Expect the Mountain Pointe defense to face off against a talented offense led by senior quarterback Billy Bolger.

 Combined with a potent running game, he led the Wolves to an overtime, 35-28, win over Spencer Rattler and Pinnacle on Friday in his first varsity start, throwing for 240 yards and five touchdowns.

Chandler running back Drake Anderson was a big part of that potent offense, running for 106 yards. But he also added 95 yards through the air and caught four touchdowns.

This game will be big for both teams, it will give them a good idea of where they lie within the state.

As both teams recover from injuries and get better on the field, don’t expect these two teams to look quite the same in November. Last season, Mountain Pointe rolled over Chandler 52-7 in the regular season before falling to the Wolves in the state championship.

“We are looking for growth, were playing two nationally ranked teams, two weeks in a row,” Vaughan said. “This will only make us better, whether or not we can get over the hump and win these games, I don’t know. I mean we still have a chance to win, but they are really strong.”

Desert Vista vs Skyline

On the other side of Ahwatukee, the Desert Vista Thunder recovered from a season opening loss to Perry with a 29-19 win over Basha High School.

The Thunder did it with a sick quarterback who attacked a Basha defense for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

After the game, coach Daniel Hinds called quarterback Derek Kline a warrior after being able to lead his team to its first “W” this season.

The Thunder (1-1) looked like the team everyone has expected them to be, a potent offense with a highly touted, hard-hitting, defense. Now, it looks to carry that energy into the next matchup with Skyline (2-1) on Friday.

The Coyotes come off a big 41-3 victory over the Valley Vista Monsoon last week and will take to the road this Friday for the first time this season.

The Coyotes have been consistent on the ground this season with Aaron Wood and junior quarterback Steven Castle leading the way behind a big and strong offensive line.

Friday’s game will be a battle in the trenches as the offensive line of Skyline will face off with the three-headed monster of James Stagg, Larry Davis and Caleb Humphrey.

While the Coyotes may look to stick to their run game, look for the Thunder to play into whatever the Skyline defense gives them, as they have several weapons that can affect games in big ways.

 It has been Hinds’s mindset from the beginning and so far, it has seemed to work for the Thunder after a disappointing week-one loss.

Now, they seem to be back on track.

“We know we have the chemistry and the ability to be a good team, but we didn’t show that on the field against Perry,” senior wide out Jake White said after their victory over Basha.

-Contact Sports Editor Greg Macafee at gmacafee@timespublications.com or by phone at 585-610-2344. Follow Greg on Twitter @greg_macafee

By:  | September 7, 2017

Five things to watch this week in Super 25 football

Chandler vs. Mountain Pointe is the top game in Arizona: No. 10 Chandler, Ariz. (1-1) struggled to an 35-28 overtime defeat of Pinnacle (Phoenix) last week. With quarterback Jacob Conover out with an injury suffered in Chander’s season-opening loss to IMG, running back Drake Anderson picked up the slack with 106 yards rushing and four touchdown catches. Last year, Mountain Pointe handed Chandler its only in-state loss, 52-7, only to lose 36-17 to the Wolves in the 6A state championship. Mountain Pointe is averaging nearly 43 points a game, so this could be interesting, especially with Chandler a little banged up.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017  |  By:  | MaxPreps.com

Football Game Preview: Chandler vs. Mountain Pointe

This week, Mountain Pointe (1-1) faces off against Chandler (2-1) on Friday at 7:00 PM. These are two of the top teams in the nation (Chandler is ranked 30th, Mountain Pointe 138th), so it should shape up to be an exciting match.

Mountain Pointe lost to Chaminade 39 – 25 last week. The offensive line was plagued by an aggressive Chaminade defense that sacked the quarterback seven times.

Meanwhile, Chandler battled it out with Pinnacle last week for a well-earned 35 – 28 overtime win. With four TDs, senior running back Drake Anderson was a significant factor in the success. Anderson has been the ringleader for Chandler this season two times now.

The last time they met, Chandler hopped past Mountain Pointe 36 – 17. Will Mountain Pointe avenge its loss? We’ll find out soon enough.