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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All parents are invited to attend monthly booster meetings.

2017-2018 meeting dates:  

  • June 13
  • July 18
  • August 8
  • September 12
  • October 17
  • November 14
  • December 12
  • January 9
  • February 13
  • March 13
  • April 10
  • May 8

7:00 pm  |  Room E-204

Under the tutelage of Head Coach Norris Vaughan, 30 Mountain Pointe football players have signed with Division One schools over the past eight years.



Alex Lewis  –  Nebraska
Ben Demarr   –  Air Force
Davon Jones   –  Mississippi Valley State


Izzy Marshall  –   Arizona State
Jose Romero   –  Arizona
JR Plote   –  South Dakota State


RJ Hollis  –  Hawaii


Kenny Lacy  –  UCLA
Tre Campbell  –  Georgia State
Landry Payne  –  Oregon State
Thair Blakes  –  UAB


Jalen Brown  –  Oregon/Northwestern
Wesley Payne  –  Oregon State
Timmy Hernandez  –  Oregon State
Markell Simmons  –  TCU
Natrell Curtis  –  UAB
Dominique Fenstermacher  –  UNLV
Mitchell Fraboni  –  ASU
Emmanuel Butler  –  NAU
Deontay Townsend  –  Sam Houston State
Xavier Cochrane  –  Colorado


Nick Carman  –  Utah
Davis Perrott  –  Washington State
Paul Lucas  –  Oregon State
Brandyn Leonard  –  New Mexico State


Jack Smith  –  Arizona State


Isaiah Pola-Mao  –  USC
Eddie Rivas  –  NAU
Jaydon Brooks  –  Navy
Rashie Hodge  –  South Dakota State

Congrats to Jaydon Brooks on being honored as one of the top scholar athletes in Arizona by theNational Football Foundation.  Pictured with Coach Norris Vaughan at the 36th Annual Scholar Athlete Awards Banquet on April 8, 2017.

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












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.”

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 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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6A Championship Preview: A Heavy Weight Bout

You almost had the sense that this day would come back on week three of the high school football season. Mountain Pointe surprised the state with just how good they are with a 52-7 win over Chandler. It just feels right that these two powerhouse teams would meet again and give us what I think many expected the first time these two teams met.

Mountain Pointe has been the class of Arizona and rightfully so as they have one of the best defenses we’ve seen in quite some time in terms of talent, size and skill. Despite working through injuries on offense, they have enough athletes and the big hogs on the offensive line to continue to be a threat on offense.

Key Matchup: Chandler center Caleb Medina vs Mountain Pointe defensive tackle Matthew Pola-Mao.

This will be a big time battle in the trenches when you look at the offensive and defensive lines for both teams. One that I am very excited to see is big Chandler Caleb Medina up against the stud sophomore Matthew Pola-Mao on the interior of the defensive line. A huge part of the Chandler offense is their inside run from the spread formation handing the rock to T.J. Green and Ryan Johnson. I have been at games this season where Green has gone untouched at the point of attack because of how great a job the Chandler interior line does led by Medina. Mountain Pointe attempting to take away the run, especially between the tackles will be a big key.

If Mountain Pointe wins, it will be because… The own the ball and time of possession on offense. While Chandler’s defense is much improved since these two teams played last, the Pride owning the ball on offense will keep the game played at their pace. While their defense being on the field is anything but a liability, keeping Chandler’s offense off the field can only help your cause.

If Chandler wins, it will be because…They start fast. All I can say is wow from what I saw in person to what Chandler did to Brophy the second to last week of the regular season and then to Desert Vista in the second round of the playoffs. Two very good teams were smacked and didn’t know what hit them and the game was over before it felt like it had even started. 97-7 is what Chandler outscored Brophy and Desert Vista in tge FIRST HALF of those two games combined. They play much better with a lead and are very hard to keep up with after getting out to fast starts. They also have the tendency in games I’ve seen them lose over the last few years to force the issue and get away form their game when playing from behind.

Kickoff for the 6A state title between Mountain Pointe and Chandler will be at 7pm Saturday from University of Phoenix Stadium.

Mountain Pointe and Chandler face off in Saturday’s 6A conference title game.(Photo: azcentral sports)

Mountain Pointe, Chandler meet in 6A conference final

, azcentral sports3:53 p.m. MST November 24, 2016

Senior quarterback Noah Grover’s knee is a question mark, despite testing it out in last week’s 21-14 semifinal win over Mesa Red Mountain.

For the first time, Mountain Pointe is feeling the effects of losing running back Gary Bragg, whom coach Norris Vaughan hailed as the state’s best running back, before his season-ending knee injury in a 62-34 Sept. 23 win over Phoenix Pinnacle. Up to that point, Bragg had run for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns, including 180 and three TDs against Chandler.

Vaughan spent the past two playoff games searching for offense. Mountain Pointe needed four defensive touchdowns to escape Mesa Desert Ridge 47-21.

Last week, Grover struggled in his first game back from a broken femur bone suffered six weeks ago, misfiring on a few passes that could have gone for touchdowns in the close win over Red Mountain.

But the defense also didn’t play its best against Red Mountain, dropping a sure pick-six in the final quarter.

Vaughan is hoping his team got its bad game out of the way to be at its best against a Chandler team that hasn’t been stopped in the past nine weeks, compiling 509 points (57 points a game) with sophomore quarterback Jacob Conover coming of age and running back T.J. Green playing huge in big games.

“I don’t know what happened the last time, but we played really well on both sides,” Vaughan said. “We made plays. Our quarterback was healthy.

“The last time we made some stops and we scored.”

And scored and scored and scored. There was actually a running clock in the second half in that rout.

Chandler coach Shaun Aguano feels much better this time. He was missing three defensive backs, including his best one, Imani Lee, in that Mountain Pointe game. He was without arguably his second-biggest big-play guy, running back/receiver Ryan Johnson, who was nursing an injury. And Chandler was playing its third game in 13 days, while Mountain Pointe was coming out of an off week.

Aguano didn’t show his team the Sept. 8 Mountain Pointe film.

“Our team is a different team,” Aguano said. “But is it on the minds of our kids? Yes, it’s on their minds.”

These are arguably the two fastest football teams in the state.

Mountain Pointe’s speed won’t surprise Chandler. But its physical play is different than any other team it has faced.

With big safety Isaiah Pola-Mao coming in hard to make tackles and break up passes, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior is an imposing force.

Conover had that deer-in-the-headlights moment, passing for just 42 yards and having two of his 17 passes intercepted.

Conover has bounced back exceptionally well. He has passed for 3,264 yards and 27 touchdowns and has thrown only one interception since that loss.

The offensive line has jelled, opening holes for a run game that has 3,449 yards and 51 TDs, 1,853 yards and 30 TDs by Green.

“We need to match up with them physically,” Aguano said. “Norris always has them ready to go. It’s going to be a good game.

“We just need to make sure we stay focused the whole game.”

Chandler (11-2) vs. Mountain Pointe (13-0)

What: 6A football championship.

When: Saturday at 7 p.m..

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale.

How to watch: online at live. Radio at 88.7 FM the Pulse. Tape delayed on FOX Sports Arizona on Monday at 3 p.m. (4A), 6 p.m. (5A) and 9 p.m. (6A)

Analysis: The fewest points Chandler has scored in a game since being held to just a garbage-time TD in the Mountain Pointe loss are 44. Mountain Pointe is ranked No. 10 nationally by USA TODAY. Neither Chandler nor Scottsdale Saguaro are part of USA TODAY’s Super 25. But they are being considered for the ESPNU Dec. 23 GEICO State Champions Bowl Series in Texas if Mountain Pointe loses. Mountain Pointe doesn’t want to lose that prize. But it will be facing a totally different team this time around.

Obert’s prediction: Chandler 35, Mountain Pointe 21.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert or 602-316-8827. Follow him at

Mountain Pointe freshman Matthew Pola-Mao (75) and his brother, junior Isaiah Pola-Mao (9), are part of young core of players getting plenty of playing time that will make the Pride stronger in the years to follow.  Billy Hardiman/Special to Tribune]


State championship: ‘Rivals’ Rivas and Pola-Mao better each other

Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 5:05 pm

Eddie Rivas and Matty Palo-Mao have similar body types.

The same competitive drive as well.

So when the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Rivas, an offensive lineman, and 6-2, 300-pound Pola-Mao, a defensive lineman, lock up in a Mountain Pointe practice it can be monumental.

“Matty is my little rival,” Rivas said with a laugh. “He’s my little brother in some ways. We’ve spent a lot of time getting after it when he’s on scout team.”

The outcome varies on the day, but it is clear they make each other better.

“He gets me sometimes. He’s younger than me, but I’m not going to say I don’t beat him a lot.”

Pola-Mao, who is getting attention from Pac-12 schools, knows when he is done with his one-on-ones with Rivas Friday nights are a little easier.

“He’s the best and anyone I see isn’t as good,” Pola-Mao said. “We are about the same size, but I’m probably stronger. We make each other better.”

Rivas, who is committed to Northern Arizona, believes it is that kind of daily work that allowed the Pride become of the top rushing teams in the state and on the precipice of a second state title since 2013.

“We work hard all the time just to get to this game,” Rivas said. “It starts in practice. We know Chandler is good, and big up front. They are probably the best matchup against us size wise, but no one is better than guys we face all week.”

* Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda


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State championship: With rust gone Grover ready to return to form

Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 11:35 pm | Updated: 12:03 pm, Wed Nov 23, 2016.

Noah Grover couldn’t be who he wanted be for six weeks.

And then once he returned to being quarterback of Mountain Pointe he wasn’t himself.

The Pride senior made a surprising return from a broken femur after healing quicker than expected to start the state semifinals against Red Mountain.

Then he went out played out of character.

Grover missed open receivers, was indecisive and let the circumstances get to him.

“I was a little rusty,” Grover said. “It was the big game jitters. I got in there and the crowd was super loud and it got to me. I hadn’t been on the field in a long time.

“I started getting comfortable just before halftime. Then (Red Mountain) scored (to tie it at 14) and it put more pressure on us.”

The Pride (13-0) managed to get through it with a 21-14 win with the belief that Grover, who was the steady and consistent leader the offense needed before the injury, will return to his usual self with another week of practice leading up to Saturday’s 6A Conference state title game against Chandler (11-2).

“Clearly, he wasn’t himself,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “He had a full week of practice, but he played differently than he had all year. We knew we wanted to get him in a game before that state championship if we made it that far.

“We think he will be better but that remains to be seen. I know he can do it because he played exactly the way we needed him to do for the first six games.”

Grover was 3 of 8 for 42 yards against Red Mountain so the opportunities weren’t there, but it was clear he was shaky compared to the resume he put together in the first seven starts of his career when he completed 66 percent of his passes, hit receivers in stride and with touch that led to 13 touchdowns and three interceptions in 96 attempts, and averaging 18 yards per completion.

“I know playing in a game and having this week to practice is going to make a difference after getting some of that rust off,” Grover said. “We put in work all season for this. We are going to come and be ready to play Saturday.

“I am ready.”

* Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda


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