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 ]

Home   »  Pride in the News

By Renard Roberts AFN Contributor  |  Updated 

Pride fall to Eagles in California

Offensive struggles proved to be costly for Mountain Pointe High School in their 39-25 loss to Chaminade College Preparatory (West Hills, CA), Thursday night at Mission Viejo High School in California.

This year at the Under Armor Brothers in Arms Classic the Pride came out flat on both sides of the ball. It only took three plays for Chaminade’s Michael Wilson, a Stanford commit, to take a short slant route the 77-yards to put the Eagles up 7-0.  

In the first quarter, all Mountain Pointe had working for them was their defense. They got a huge boost from cornerback Marshawn Gibson, as he jumped an outside route, picked off the pass and returned it 40-yards for the Prides first points of the ball game.

Points after turnovers were very detrimental to the Pride’s mission however. Later in the first half the Eagles returned the favor with an interception of their own, nearly returning it for a touchdown. It did not take much for Chaminade to punch the ball in again as star running back Andrew Vanburen, showing what a great talent Boise State will receive in the next year, scored one of his four rushing touchdowns. 

During the duration of the game the Pride would gain some momentum, but it would be snatched away by their opponents with a blink of an eye.

The running game finally started to develop in the second quarter as Jakim Mckinney did his best to carry the team, scoring the only two offensive touchdowns. But right before the team from Awhatukee headed towards the locker room, Vanburen scattered down the Chaminade sideline scoring his third touchdowns.

The Pride were one dimensional on offense as the pressure forced by the defensive line of the Eagles did not allow quarterback Nick Wallerstedt to find his targets down the field.

Instead of coming out with an impressive drive to gain some momentum, the first play of the second half ended in the worst possible way. Chaminade defensive back Christopher Rankings picked off his second pass of the night. 

Even though Mountain Pointe had mad many mental mistakes going into the fourth quarter, they were still fighting to stay within striking distance. Another interception, this time by Delano Salgado, led to a touchdown which kept the game within two possessions. The last straw of confidence was lost however when Chaminade blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter.

“We had penalties we had turnovers we played poorly on offense and defense, we didn’t tackle or block well, we got out played and out coached”, Mountain Pointe Head Coach, Norris Vaughan.

The Pride were also spread thin throughout the matchup as a few of their key players went out with minor injuries. In the postgame speech by Vaughan he told his team that they lacked heart and let the other team play more physical.

They will need to bring their “A” game next week as they battle Chandler High in a rematch of the 6A state championship last season.  

     

     

    Mountain Pointe running back Gary Bragg, returning from an ACL injury that kept him out for most of the 2016 season, ran for three touchdowns Friday night against Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.   [Photo by Carmen Jollineau]

    Mountain Pointe makes early statement in rout of O’Connor

    By Eddie Poe, Tribune Contributor | Updated 

    Mountain Pointe wasted no time showing why it is the No. 2-ranked high school football team in Arizona.

    Gary Bragg and Delano Salgado ran through and around the defense of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor with ease on Friday night, cruising to a 46-6 rout at Jack Dillard Stadium in their season opener.

    “I’m really proud of the way we came out and played,” coach Norris Vaughan said. “We had a few dropped balls, a few miscues here and there but I thought we played really well.”It looked at first like No.2 Mountain Pointe was going to be faced with a challenge as they were forced to punt the ball away on their first two drives.

    The challenge was short-lived as Bragg took a handoff from quarterback Nick Wallerstedt on the following drive, made two O’Connor defensive players miss, and sped down the left side of the field for a 47-yard run.

    It later set up Wallerstedt for an 11-yard quarterback draw to score the first points of the game.From that point on, Mountain Pointe grasped hold of the flow of the game and never looked back.“It was good to be able to come out and control the game like we did and go at our own pace,” Braggs said, who finished the game with three rushing touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Pride defense mauled opposing quarterback Christian King to the tune of no first downs allowed in the first half.

    One of the questions for Mountain Pointe coming into their season opener was whether their defense would present the same type of aggressiveness and force without their star defensive lineman, Matthew Palo-Mao, who was lost for the season to injury. “I wish we had him but we had a number of other guys behind him step up and really perform,” Vaughan said. “A guy goes down, other players step in and do their job. That’s all you can ask for.”

    With a week off before their next game, Mountain Pointe will begin preparing for the national stage as they’ll travel to California on Aug. 31 to take on Chaminade High School. The following week, they’ll return home for a matchup with Chandler — a game that’s been marked on their calendar since last season’s state final loss. 

    The reality of two early season games on a national stage is crucial for Mountain Pointe’s success in the long run.“[Those] games are definitely going to help us later on in the season,” Wallerstedt said. “We’ll see two of the better teams in the country and after that it’ll just be about treating every game like we’re playing [Chandler] or [Chaminade] because you never know what’s going to happen.” 

    Although the preparation for those two matchups will be fairly similar to any other game, there’s no arguing the heightened importance of them. “We always want to play the best teams to start off the season,” Vaughan said. “We think [they] will help us tremendously for the rest of the season.”

    “But, they’ll both be just like any other game.”

     

    The 2017 high school football season is here.

    Here are the top teams in each conference, as well as our preseason picks and our initial rankings.

    Arizona high school football conference previews, rankings

    , The Republic | azcentral.comPublished 2:01 p.m. MT Aug. 17, 2017

    No. 1 Chandler

    Among the top 10 in the country by USA TODAY.

    No. 2 Phoenix Mountain Pointe

    Big, physical, fast and determined to finish strong this time.

    No. 3 Gilbert Perry

    QB Brock Purdy bigger, stronger and back for more after leading historic season.

    No. 4 Mesa Red Mountain 

    Lance Lawson on strong defense will be a difference maker.

    No. 5 Phoenix Desert Vista

    Coach Dan Hinds’ best team since the 2011 champs.

    No. 6 Chandler Hamilton

    QB Tyler Shough leads a strong senior class.

    No. 7 Phoenix Pinnacle

    Junior QB Spencer Rattler’s time to stack wins.

    No. 8 Mesa Desert Ridge

    Eight sophomore starters, but they’re really good.

    No. 9 Phoenix Horizon

    Under the radar no more.

    No. 10 Chandler Basha

    Coach Rich Wellbrock is ready to wake the monster.

    More: Arizona high school football 2017 schedule – Zero Week

    Mountain Pointe wide receiver Kenny Churchwell makes a one-handed catch.  (Photo: Arizona Republic)

    Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6-2, 185, Sr.

    5 interceptions, 11 deflections in 2016.

    American Family Insurance ALL-USA Arizona preseason football team 2017

    , azcentral sportsPublished 5:09 p.m. MT Aug. 15, 2017 | Updated 4:53 p.m. MT Aug. 17, 2017

     

    This is the 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Arizona preseason football team.

    Offense

    Quarterback

    Brock Purdy, Gilbert Perry, 6-1, 197, Sr.

    All-Arizona last season, despite missing the first three games, and putting up 3,333 yards and 42 TDs passing and running for 842 yards and six scores.

    Running back

    Zidane Thomas, Peoria Centennial, 5-10, 205, Sr.

    A 2,000-yard rusher last year, turned loose this week after having hardship approved by AIA.

    Running back

    Draycen Hall, Gilbert Higley, 5-8, 165, Sr.

    Scored 40 TDs and had 3,908 all-purpose yards in 2016.

    Center

    Max Wilhite, Goodyear Desert Edge, 6-3, 300, Sr.

    Fourth-year varsity starter.

    Lineman

    Matteo Mele, Tucson Salpointe Catholic, 6-6, 275, Sr.

    Washington commit added 20 pounds since last season.

    Lineman

    David Watson, Tucson Amphitheater, 6-6, 300, Sr.

    Committed to Arizona, where both of his parents played sport.

    Lineman

    Ralph Frias, Safford, 6-7, 320, Sr.

    Started at left tackle since freshman year.

    Lineman

    Joey Ramos, Glendale Deer Valley, 6-4, 290, Sr.

    Rated No. 1 offensive lineman in Arizona for 2017 season by azcentral sports.

    Tight end

    James Stagg, Phoenix Desert Vista, 6-4, 241, Sr.

    Will remind people of former Desert Vista standout Zach Miller.

    Wide receiver

    Solomon Enis, Phoenix North Canyon, 6-4, 190, Sr.

    Has ASU, UA in his final seven. 

    Wide receiver

    Gunner Romney, Chandler, 6-3, 200, Sr.

    BYU commit had 70 catches for 1,309 yards, nine TDs last season.

    All purpose

    Lance Lawson, Mesa Red Mountain, 5-9, 185, Sr.

    All-Arizona last year, he is a game changer on both sides of the ball, will be go-to guy on offense.

    Defense

    Tackle

    Chris Manoa, Chandler, 6-0, 300, Sr.

    41 tackles, 4 sacks, 8 QB hurries on 6A title team

    Tackle

    Kai Golden, Marana Mountain View, 6-2, 295, Sr.

    40 tackles, 9 for losses in 2016

    End

    Aaron Romero, Mesa Skyline, 6-3, 245, Sr.

    Ready to emerge on the scene as a pass rusher

    End

    Ty Robinson, Gilbert Higley, 6-5, 255, Jr.

    With Jason Harris out, watch for this guy to blow it up in the backfield.

    Linebacker

    Calib McRae, Marana Mountain View, 6-1, 227, Jr.

    39 tackles, 2 sacks in 4 games before injury last season.

    Linebacker

    Brayden Flynn, Chandler, 6-3, 220, Sr.

    Transfer from Hamilton, had 14.5 sacks last year.

    Linebacker

    Giovanni Miranda, Scottsdale Saguaro, 6-4, 205, Sr.

    Game changer on both sides of ball.

    Back

    Dom Hampton, Peoria Centennial, 6-2, 185, Sr.

    30 solo tackles, 2 forced fumbles last year.

    Back

    Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6-2, 185, Sr.

    5 interceptions, 11 deflections in 2016.

    Back

    Josiah Bradley, Saguaro, 6-1, 194

    Fast, athletic safety had 3 interceptions, 8 deflections during 4A title season.

    Back

    Donjae Logan, Mesa Desert Ridge, 5-11, 170, Sr.

    Stanford commit had 33 solo tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 deflections in 2016.

    Special teams

    Kicker

    Brayden Narveson, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, 6-0, 190, Sr.

    Watch to emerge as team’s full-time kicker after he made a 51-yard field goal last season.

    Punter

    Carlos Ritchie, Laveen Cesar Chavez, 6-1, 175, Sr.

    Good all-around athlete who averaged 43 yards a punt last season with seven inside the 20-yard line.

    Long snapper

    Slater Zellers, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep, 6-1, 220, Sr.

    The No.1-ranked long snapper in the nation by Kohl’s, he has committed to California.

    Kick returner

    Aiden Diggs, Goodyear Millennium, 6-0, 170, Sr.

    He was second in the nation in average kickoff return yardage last season with 44.7 in 15 attempts.

    Punt returner

    Keishaud White, Phoenix Desert Vista, 5-6, 160, Sr.

    Two years ago, the only two punts he returned went for touchdowns.

    To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.

    Kimberly Carrillo/AFN Photographer
    “If we can stay healthy, we have a chance to get back to the state championship game, there’s no question,” Vaughn said.

    Hut, hut! Pride, Thunder ready for the 2017 season

    • By Greg Macafee, AFN Sports Editor  

    Ahwatukee always has at least one successful high school football team. But in 2017, the community will have two teams with the talent to make a run for a state championship.

    Last year ended the same way for both Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools – with losses to Chandler High in the Class 6A State Tournament. Desert Vista was knocked out in the quarterfinals, while Mountain Pointe made a run to the state championship game.

    The Pride finished the season ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and had beaten Chandler High earlier in the fall by 45 points.

    On its run to the championship and throughout the season, however, the Pride suffered numerous injuries. In its semifinal victory over Red Mountain High the team lost at least four starters.

    This season, the Pride will return with another strong defense featuring defensive backs Kenny Churchwell and Delano Salgado, who combined for 93 tackles and six interceptions.

    But injuries already have impacted the 2017 Pride.

    The defensive line will be missing Matthew Pola-Mao, who will miss the season due to injury, head coach Norris Vaughn said.

    Nevertheless, Vaughn said he likes his team’s chances if his players can avoid more major injuries.

    “If we can stay healthy, we have a chance to get back to the state championship game, there’s no question,” Vaughn said.

    Desert Vista is also feeling confident about its chances on the gridiron.

    “I feel like teams are going to have to try and win by their defense,” leading tackler Larry Davis said. “They gotta win by not letting our offense score because I don’t think a lot of people are going to score. Our defense is pretty stacked.”

    For Mountain Pointe, look for Jacob Olsen and Shomari Hayes to fill the void left by the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Pola-mao.

    Olsen led the team in sacks in 2016 with six and made 87 tackles as well. Hayes was another big piece of the Prides hard-hitting defense last season, racking up 74 tackles, 11.5 of them being for a loss.

    The Pride will have a stout defense in 2017, but they will also have another solid offense.

    Tailback Gary Bragg returns from an ACL injury that ended his junior season after rushing for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games. They will also return quarterback Nick Wallerstedt, who filled in for injured Noah Grover last season, throwing for 558 yards and four touchdowns.

    Salgado will also have a significant role in the offense for the Pride. The senior tailback rushed for 730 yards and six touchdowns last season.

    After a 7-5 season, the Desert Vista Thunder are looking to return strong in 2017 with a potent offense and an even stronger defense.

    They finished their run in 2016 with a devastating 62-7 loss against eventual state champion Chandler High in the quarterfinals, after finishing the regular season ranked 10th in Class 6A.

    Although Desert Vista graduated starting QB Nick Thomas and leading rusher Lelon Dillard, the Thunder still have several returning players who will have a larger role in 2017.

    With Nevada transplant quarterback Derek Kline under center, the Thunder will boast an offense with plenty of weapons, both in the backfield and on the outside.

    James Stagg and Keishaud White both return to the offense after combining for nine touchdowns and 750-plus receiving yards last season.

    Defensively, head coach Daniel Hinds said, the Thunder is returning its entire secondary as well as Davis, who made 93 tackles last season and racked up 6.5 sacks as well.

    Caleb Humphrey and Stagg also return to a defense that could be dangerous throughout the season.

    Of course, a highlight of the season will come Sept. 28, when Desert Vista hosts its crosstown rival in the Tukee Bowl.

    Last year’s Tukee Bowl saw seniors on both sides scoring all 43 points of a 27-16 Mountain Pointe win.

    Rashie Hodge Jr. and Antwaun Woodberry combined for three touchdowns on the ground while Noah Grover found Isaiah Pola-mao through the air for the only passing touchdown of the game.

    For Desert Vista, Lelon Dillard found the end zone on the ground and senior kicker Riley Erickson put two field goals and an extra point through the uprights.

    Both Ahwatukee teams always provide exciting matchups for the bowl game.


    “Everything about it, you have this community two schools in it, the kids know each other,” Hinds said. “It’s just fun to be a part of.”

     

     

    Churchwell Ready To Be A Leader On “Angry” Pride

    The Mountain Pointe Pride are known for their punishing defense, and they were among the best in 2016 with Isaiah Pola-Mao leading the way. Pola-Mao is now at USC, but the other Pride safety from that defense, Kenny Churchwell, is hoping to pick up where the MP defense left off.

    “(Pola-Mao) helped me as a player and a coach,” Churchwell said. “He helped me change my attitude because I was hot-headed.  I can’t lie – I was hot-headed. I turned into a calm, patient, ready to hit somebody…take all my energy off that. He taught me a lot, and I’m ready to show it to the next person at Mountain Pointe.” 

    Churchwell said his chemistry with Pola-Mao made it so they always knew where the other one was on the field without having to say a word. It was a special bond, and he sees something similar being formed with senior defensive back/slot receiver Delano Salgado.

    Churchwell is also channelling former Mountain Pointe running back/linebacker Rashie Hodge Jr. as a leader and sees a strong senior group ready to lead the Pride.

    “I’m trying to be the best, one of the best, to ever come out of Mountain Pointe,” Churchwell said. “It’s not just me as a leader, we have Delano Salgado, we’ve got (quarterback) Nick Wallerstedt,..We have a lot of people and a lot of weapons. We are ready for the season.”

    Recruiting-wise, the Mountain Pointe safety holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Utah, Washington State,  Wyoming, Boise State, Colorado State and Hawaii.

    The Pride are hungrier than ever after making an appearance in the 6A state championship game last year but falling to the Chandler Wolves. The group is laser-focused and return plenty of aforementioned talent as well as running back Gary Bragg, who’s season ended after an ACL injury five games into the season. 

    “We changed mentally and physically. We’re tired of getting second place, we’re tired of getting close to the championship and not winning it,” Churchwell said.  “We’re angry. We’re ready to play. We’re all tired, and we’re going to step up as leaders – me, Nick, Delano, (defensive back Marshawn Gibson). We’re going to step up as a team, and we’re going to win. I promise.”

    Mountain Pointe begins their 2017 season on Friday at Sandra Day O’Connor. 

    Pride Without Another Star?

    azcentral’s Richard Obert reported that the Pride will be without Isaiah’s younger brother, junior defensive tackle Matthew Pola-Mao after an “undisclosed injury.” Pola-Mao had 52 tackles and six tackles for loss last year as a sophomore and led a dominant defensive line with Shomari Hayes.

    Arizona Sports Awards Big Schools Football Athlete of Year finalists: T.J. Green, Isaiah Pola-Mao, Brock Purdy

    , azcentral sportsPublished 5:42 p.m. MT Dec. 10, 2016 | Updated 12:48 p.m. MT Dec. 11, 2016

    The Arizona Sports Awards, presented by Arby’s, will honor an Athlete of the Year in every sport at the spring 2017 event.

    At the end of each season, azcentral sports will announce three finalists for each Athlete of the Year award. The finalists are listed alphabetically.

    All three will be invited to the awards show where the winner will be announced live. More information on the spring 2017 event will be announced soon.

    April 30, 2017

    ASU Gammage   |   Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm   |   Speaker: Larry Fitzgerald

     

    Isaish-Sports-Awards-3

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Phoenix Mountain Pointe safety and wide receiver Isaiah Pola-Mao is a finalist for the Arizona Sports Awards, presented by Arby’s, Big Schools Football Athlete of the Year. (Photo: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports)

    Isaiah Pola-Mao

    School: Phoenix Mountain Pointe

    Year: Senior

    Positions: Safety, wide receiver

    Pola-Mao was a big-play receiver, but he left a legacy on defense, a three-time All-Arizona selection at safety. He had seven interceptions as a sophomore, four his junior year and 10 this season, including six in the last three playoff games.

    He returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns in the 47-21 6A Conference quarterfinal win over Mesa Desert Ridge. He had an interception in the 21-14 semifinal win over Mesa Red Mountain and two more in the state final against Chandler, a 37-17 loss, in which he injured his shoulder.

    “I thought he was the best player in the state,” said Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan, who believes Pola-Mao will be playing in the NFL some day.

    Pola-Mao, an imposing figure at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, was arguably the biggest hitter in the state. It was hard to get around him. He had 100 tackles, 31 solo, this year. He broke up 18 passes and caused two fumbles, including one in the championship game.

    On offense, Pola-Mao had his biggest season, catching 27 passes for 640 yards (23.7 yards per catch) and nine TDs. His performance in the first meeting with Chandler was off the charts. He caught two TD passes, set up another with a diving grab near the goal line and intercepted a pass in the 52-7 win.

    Mountain Pointe was ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation most of the season with Pola-Mao the heart and soul of the team.

    “It was awesome,” Pola-Mao said of the season. “If I could redo it, I’d do it. I was glad I could play the past few years with this team.

    “The interceptions, honestly, it started up front with the D-line, with Khalif (Ravenell), Shomari (Hayes) and my brother (Matthew). They get to the quarterback and cause pressure. I’m just doing my job.”

     

    Ralph Amsden | Publisher  |  3 Feb 2017

    ArizonaVarsity.com 2018 Early Prospect and Player Rankings

    With 2017’s signing day in the books, here’s the earliest version of ArizonaVarsity’s 2018 prospect and player rankings. Our rankings will differ from Rivals official list, and will be updated and expanded on every month for the next year, until Signing Day 2018. This is the only version of the list that won’t be premium content, so make sure and subscribe to ArizonaVarsity so you don’t miss out on future content.

    Important to remember- prospect rankings and player rankings are different. Prospects rankings involve athletes projected to be in-demand college recruits. Player rankings project and react to on-field performance at the high school level. Send any feedback to azhsfootball@gmail.com

    Arizona Varsity 2018 Prospect Rankings
    Rank Player/Position/School
    1 Solomon Enis (WR) North Canyon
    2 Kenny Churchwell (DB) Mountain Pointe
    3 Joey Ramos (OL) Deer Valley
    4 Jamarye Joiner (ATH) Cienega
    5 Gunner Romney (WR) Chandler
    6 Josiah Bradley (ATH) Saguaro
    7 Max Wilhite (OL) Desert Edge
    8 James Stagg (TE) Desert Vista
    9 Jawhar Jordan (ATH) Hamilton
    10 Jarick Caldwell (WR) Chandler
    11 Sean Andersen (OL) Verrado
    12 Jack Plummer (QB) Gilbert
    13 Mike Rogers (ATH) Cesar Chavez
    14 Ralph Frias (OL) Safford
    15 Alijah Gammage (DB) Desert Vista
    16 Brock Purdy (QB) Perry
    17 Max Massingale (QB) Saguaro
    18 Slater Zellers (LS) Notre Dame Prep
    19 Shomari Hayes (DL) Mountain Pointe
    20 Donjae Logan (DB) Desert Ridge
    21 Jayden Lee (OL) Campo Verde
    22 Giovanni Miranda (WR) Saguaro
    23 Lance Lawson (ATH) Red Mountain
    24 Brayden Flynn (DL) Hamilton
    25 Tyson Jones (OL) Desert Edge
    26 Tyler Shough (QB) Hamilton
    27 Ja’Tai Jenkins (ATH) Verrado
    28 Malik Clark (DL) Moon Valley
    29 Keishaud White (ATH) Desert Vista
    30 Chris Manoa (DL) Chandler
    31 Josiah Bailey (ATH) Kellis
    32 Hunter Mayginnes (OL) Hamilton
    33 Robert Jordan (DL) Mesquite
    34 Draycen Hall (RB) Higley
    35 Gary Bragg (RB) Mountain Pointe
    36 Damaria Norris (RB) Cactus
    37 Tristen D’Angelo (WR) Boulder Creek
    38 Ezekiel Robbins (DB) Hamilton
    39 Bryce Jackson (DB) Chandler
    40 Kaleb Seumanutafa (ATH) Apollo
    41 James Reed (TE) Boulder Creek
    42 Austin Young (OL) Desert Edge
    43 Aidan Diggs (ATH) Millennium
    44 Cade Matthews (LB) Higley
    45 Treyvon Williams (DB) Desert Edge
    46 Dakota Haynes (LB) Pusch Ridge
    47 Cash Peterman (K) Chandler
    48 Jared Wood (QB) Florence
    49 Cole Fisher (RB) Notre Dame Prep
    50 Austin Duffy (QB) Red Mountain
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- QB
    Rank Player/School
    1 Brock Purdy- Perry
    2 Max Massingale- Saguaro
    3 Jamarye Joiner- Cienega
    4 Jared Wood- Florence
    5 Tyler Shough- Hamilton
    6 Mahal Lee- Cactus
    7 Nate Dobson- Peoria
    8 Jack Plummer- Gilbert
    9 Austin Duffy- Red Mountain
    10 Andrew Young- Cactus Shadows
    11 Ruben Beltran III- Centennial
    12 Ernie Peña- Millennium
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- RB
    Rank Player/School
    1 Draycen Hall- Higley
    2 Lance Lawson- Red Mountain
    3 Damaria Norris- Cactus
    4 Mike Rogers- Cesar Chavez
    5 Jawhar Jordan- Hamilton
    6 Sekou Tyler- Paradise Honors
    7 Gary Bragg- Mountain Pointe
    8 Cole Fisher- Notre Dame Prep
    9 Tyrese Allen- Desert Ridge
    10 Troy Ferestad- Bisbee
    11 Nolan Susel- Florence
    12 Kris Jackson- Mesa
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- WR
    Rank Player/School
    1 Gunner Romney- Chandler
    2 Solomon Enis- North Canyon
    3 Cameron Gardner- Casa Grande
    4 Josiah Bailey- Kellis
    5 Tristen D’Angelo- Boulder Creek
    6 Jacob Kaites- Scottsdale Christian
    7 Jarick Caldwell- Chandler
    8 Bujon Boyd- American Leadership (QC)
    9 Joshua Walker- Desert Mountain
    10 Keishaud White- Desert Vista
    11 Xavier Watkins- Paradise Valley
    12 Jake White- Desert Vista
     
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- TE
    Rank Player/School
    1 James Stagg- Desert Vista
    2 James Reed- Boulder Creek
    3 Shamon Salway- Window Rock
    4 Tate Speaker- Perry
    5 Mario Meza- Douglas
    6 Edmond Ashton- Lee Williams
    7 Carter White- Poston Butte
    8 Jesse Bravin- River Valley
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- OL
    Rank Player/School
    1 Joey Ramos- Deer Valley
    2 Max Wilhite- Desert Edge
    3 Tyson Jones- Desert Edge
    4 Mason Honne- Mountain Pointe
    5 Jayden Lee- Campo Verde
    6 Hunter Mayginnes- Hamilton
    7 Austin Young- Desert Edge
    8 Xavier Robinson- Deer Valley
    9 Ralph Frias- Safford
    10 Jozia Myers- Campo Verde
    11 Jaden Hoyt- Northwest Christian
    12 Javier Meza- Cesar Chavez
    13 Jose Lopez- Salpointe
    14 Tristan Rael- Chandler
    15 Zach Neff- Perry
    16 David Watson- Amphitheatre
    17 Justin Segura- Horizon
    18 Kaleb Seumanutafa- Apollo
    19 Trevor Renfro- Centennial
    20 Sean Benke- Mountain View (Marana)
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- DL
    Rank Player/School
    1 Brayden Flynn- Hamilton
    2 Shomari Hayes- Mountain Pointe
    3 Chris Manoa- Chandler
    4 Brayden Smith- Ironwood Ridge
    5 Kaleb Seumanutafa- Apollo
    6 Robert Jordan- Mesquite
    7 Raymond Cruz- Dysart
    8 Dylan Gabbard- Show Low
    9 Scott Jones- Cactus
    10 Kyle White- Notre Dame Prep
    11 Brandon Myree- Basha
    12 Khalif Ravenell- Mountain Pointe
    13 Ryan Salmon- Scottsdale Christian
    14 Jared Mix- Mountain View (Mesa)
    15 Jobiin Sweat- Perry
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- LB
    Rank Player/School
    1 Cade Matthews- Higley
    2 Dakota Haynes- Pusch Ridge
    3 Tre O’Guinn- North Canyon
    4 Vincent Elrod- Notre Dame Prep
    5 Cutter Hatch- Perry
    6 Jordan Ware- Centennial
    7 Jakob Redford- American Leadership (QC)
    8 Shelton Mathis- Florence
    9 Richard Molina- Yuma Catholic
    10 Dante Coleman- Queen Creek
    11 Shaun’dell Hawkins- Williams Field
    12 Larry Davis- Desert Vista
    13 Isaiah Joya- Yuma
    14 Fabian Suniga- Shadow Ridge
    15 Sebastian Bautista- Veritas Prep
    16 Kevin Altmaier- Greenway
    17 Jacob Olsen- Mountain Pointe
    18 Tate Stevens- Highland
    19 Shane Kratzer- Paradise Honors
    20 Anthony Madril- Salpointe
    21 Fernando Becerra- Carl Hayden
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- DB
    Rank Player/School
    1 Kenny Churchwell- Mountain Pointe
    2 Alijah Gammage- Desert Vista
    3 Josiah Bradley- Saguaro
    4 Bryce Jackson- Chandler
    5 Donjae Logan- Desert Ridge
    6 Dylan Stevenson- Pinnacle
    7 Solomon Enis- North Canyon
    8 Sekou Tyler- Paradise Honors
    9 Rodney Rogers II- Cienega
    10 Devon Waite- Mountain View (Mesa)
    11 Aaron Turrey- Sunnyslope
    12 Elijah Neal- Peoria
    13 Andrew Smith- Marana
    14 Ricky Manning- Notre Dame Prep
    15 Bradyn Brown- Pima
    16 Bobby Carlon- Moon Valley
    17 Daniel Frampton- Phoenix Christian
    18 Jake White- Desert Vista
    19 Treyvon Williams- Desert Edge
    20 Derick Bush- Salpointe
    21 Donte Lindsey- Mountain Pointe
    22 Trent Campbell- Estrella Foothills
    23 Jose Escalera- Central
    Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- Specialist
    Rank Player/School
    1 Slater Zellers- Notre Dame Prep
    2 Cash Peterman- Chandler
    3 Jacori Wooten- Queen Creek
    4 Patrick McInerney- Saguaro
    5 Matt Brock- Mesquite

     

    State championship: Fast start, first-quarter psyche key in 6A finals

    Posted: Friday, November 25, 2016 6:11 pm

    The first quarter of a football game is anything but sudden death.

    The 6A Conference state title game on Saturday just might the closest thing to it.

    The first 12 minutes, or even less, for that matter, could very well be critical in determining the outcome between No. 1 Mountain Pointe and No. 2 Chandler.

    Usually the first couple of drives involve a feeling out process for a long back-and-forth battle.

    This one just might be different when they kickoff at 7 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium.

    The Pride (13-0) absolutely trounced Chandler 52-7 on Sept. 8. It means a fast start by Mountain Pointe could very well put the Wolves in a here-we-go-again mode.

    Then again if Chandler (11-2) grabs the early lead and momentum it is a continuation of one of the more dominant stretches in recent memory.

    If that is the scenario it squarely puts the Pride in a position of unknown.

    “We can’t panic if we get behind early,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “We will do what we do and stay the course.”

    Mountain Pointe hasn’t trailed all season and until last week’s 21-14 squeaker against No. 13 Red Mountain, the Pride only had one opponent have a fourth quarter drive that could have tied the game.

    And that was over with 10 minutes left.

    “Getting off to a fast start is going to be so important,” Chandler coach Shaun Aguano said. “Especially from a psyche standpoint.

    “For us if we get down, do we think about the first game? For them they haven’t been behind early, and we haven’t been much either. We want to get off early and see how they react to it.”

    Mountain Pointe feels like last week’s game – losing a 14-0 lead and having to dig deep for a little extra to win a tie game in the fourth quarter – came at the perfect time.

    “That just happened last week,” senior offensive lineman Eddie Rivas said. “We were tested and we pulled it out. We know that’s something we can do after winning all of our games pretty easy.”

    It was the surprise game of the week as senior quarterback Noah Grover, who returned after a six week layoff, was out of sorts and came at a cost as four starters, including Rivas, came out of the game dinged up. Vaughan is hopeful all will be ready to go as the Pride tries for the program’s second title in four seasons, but was unsure as of Tuesday’s media day.

    “To win a state championship you have to be lucky and healthy,” he said. “Hopefully we will be really lucky because we are not very healthy.”

    The Pride has one of the top defenses in the state, and has the size and speed to match up with Chandler. The Wolves haven’t faced much a challenge since losing to the Pride, outscoring opponents 508-156 over the last nine games.

    It all adds to feeling that the Pride comes into the game reeling a bit and the Wolves, who looked to win their second title in three years, playing better than just about anyone in the state.

    “I think our kids are more focused than they were the first time,” Aguano said of his players, who held a meeting without the coaches early in the week. “We are playing better football right now. Mountain Pointe is a physical and fast football team, and very athletic. They match up well against us all across the board.”

    The Pride have imposed their will up front on teams all year long as the offense averages 310.4 yards a game on the ground and the defensive line often spikes a running back behind the line of scrimmage.

    The Wolves, however, are similar in size and physical play on both sides of the ball. The close encounters up front are going to go a long way in determining who ends up on the stage at midfield Saturday night.

    “I think we have to posses the ball and limit Chandler’s snaps,” Vaughan said. “Defensively, we are really good and we think we can do some things. They have been playing with the chains in their favor. We have to be able to get first downs and not turn the ball over.”

    The Chandler offense, which has been led by sophomore quarterback Jacob Conover all year long, is ready for the challenge of Mountain Pointe’s defense, which has held opponents to two touchdowns or less nine times.

    “We never panic and just get ready for the next play,” senior wide receiver Johnny Johnson said. “I think we are rolling a lot more as a team. The work we put in has us prepared, and we have believed all along (since the Mountain Pointe game) we were never going to lose again.”

    One team has to come Saturday night when the 2016 season comes to end.

    “At this time of the year the season is kind of like life,” Vaughan said. “You go through this journey and you have ups and downs all of the time. You lose people in your life. It is a long journey.

    “And it is defined by one more game.”

    Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@evtrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda

    By the numbers

                                C             MP

    Avg. rush yards      265.3       310.3

    Avg. pass yards      257.1       139.8

    All-purpose yards    545.9       556.2

    Total TDs               77             80

    Points per game      48.3         44.5

    Pts allowed avg.      22.3        12.3

    Tackles for a loss     61           63.5

    Sacks                    29            32

    QB hurries              82           82

    INTs by defense      13            21

    State championship: Opposing coaches weigh-in on 6A title game

    Posted: Friday, November 25, 2016 1:10 pm

    By the time a 10-week regular season and a handful of playoffs games are played there is a pretty good log book of the tendencies of each team.

    Leading up to a state title game Hudl is run on a continuous loop as the coaching staffs try to gain any advantage.

    Sometimes an outside perspective can provide some insight that those too close to the game can’t see or won’t say.

    We talked to two 6A coaches who played either Mountain Pointe and/or Chandler this year. They’ve had common opponents and seen enough film on both teams to have an idea of what to expect in Saturday’s title game.

    Here some of their perspectives:

    * “Mountain Pointe puts everything on their offensive line. There are games where they throw the ball five or six times, and when they do pass they just do it for show. It’s a big line and they have been great, but if you stop the run then are they ready to get it done with the pass?”

    * So what do you do? Do you load the box and make you beat with the pass? No. 6 (Jaydon Brooks) and No. 9 (Isaiah Pola-Mao) are going to win most one-one-one matchups.”

    * The Mountain Pointe offense changed with the young quarterback (Nick Wallerstedt), and they kept winning. That’s pretty impressive. How much do they use him?”

    * You have to establish the run against that Mountain Pointe defense. You are not going to beat them with the pass, at least not consistently. They are too good.”

    * Chandler’s offense is the best in the state. Their skills guys are great, but no one talks about the line enough. They give the skills guys a chance because they good and physical. They are one team that matches up well up front with Mountain Pointe.”

    * The Chandler defense is beatable, but they are playing better. They are getting to the ball carrier in groups. They are playing with big leads so they can take chances and their mistakes are hidden a little bit.”

    * “The Chandler offense has so much momentum. Their confidence has skyrocketed. They are doing all of their damage on first and second down. You have to get them in third and long or third and five. They haven’t faced that a lot lately. Make them earn and keep them from running wild on first and second down with (TJ) Green and (Ryan) Johnson.”

    * “Chandler can get you so many ways it forces the defense to pretty vanilla because you can’t defend all of those guys, the running backs with (Johnny) Johnson and No. 18 (Gunner Romney) on the outside. No real weakness shows up on film.”

    * “Mountain Pointe has to score early or Chandler just might roll them like they have everyone else. Mountain Pointe will get theirs, but man Chandler is explosive.”

    * “If it is close at halftime, Mountain Pointe’s staff might be the best at making adjustments. They are very good at correcting things and taking advantage of any mistakes you’ve made.”

     
     

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