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Mountain Pointe High football coach Rich Wellbrock addresses his team after falling to No. 15 South Jordan (Utah) Bingham (Utah), 21-14, in the final minute on Saturday night in Henderson, Nev. The Pride had first and goal at the 5 in the final two minutes but were unable to score.  

Mtn. Pointe comes up short at goal line in Nevada vs. national power

HENDERSON, Nev. – Mountain Pointe’s late comeback attempt fell three yards short Saturday night against the No. 15 team in the country, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham.

Facing a fourth and goal at the 3 inside of 2 minutes left in the game, Pride quarterback Nick Wallerstedt’s pass to the right flat was deflected and the Miners (4-0) kneeled out the clock to hand the Pride (1-2) a 21-14 defeat.

“They had our receiver uncovered all the way until right before the snap, then he runs out there and was in a great position to take the slant away,” Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock said. “It’s football. And things like that happen.”

Four plays prior, Wallerstedt found Ahmen Williams for a 31-yard gain to the 5 on a fourth-and-22 play. Three consecutive runs netted two yards leading to the failed fourth-down play.

“That was a really good high school game between two good teams, “Bingham coach John Lambourne said. “I suspect that (Mountain Pointe) is going to go on and do pretty good Anyone that is able to compete with us in that manner, is going to be pretty good.”

Mountain Pointe’s final drive started at its 20-yard line with 6:17 left after Bingham’s 26-yard field goal attempt that would have made it a two-score game bounced off the right upright, ending a seven-minute drive.

“Defensively, we just battled and battled,” Lambourne said. “Our guys up front are pretty tough dudes to start with. That wasn’t just a one-play stand. That was a four-play stand. And that’s pretty tough to do.”

The Pride pulled within 21-14 late in the third when the Miners muffed a punt and could not corral it at the 5. The Pride recovered and three plays later Finley Nitura went untouched across the plane.

Wallerstedt completed 15 of 29 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. His 26-yard scoring pass to a leaping Williams (three receptions, 56 yards) tied the game at 7 in the first quarter.

Pride running back Jakim McKinney, averaging 105 rushing yards a game, found the going difficult against a stout Bingham front. He was held to 58 yards on 27 carries. Wellbrock said Bingham’s 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive lineman Simote Pepa is among the best he’s coached against.

Mountain Pointe’s big-play receiver, Dominique Davis, who came in with 10 catches for a 33.4-yard average, was limited to six receptions for 60 yards.

Defensively, Mountain Pointe held up well against the national power. Nearly half of Bingham’s 295 yards of offense came on two plays. Evona Hall put Bingham in front 14-7 with a 92-yard touchdown run with 8:51 left in the first half.

That score held until the Miners dug into their bag of tricks midway through the third quarter. Wide receiver Jared Greenfield took a handoff and then found a wide-open Jake Cragun running down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown on the pass.

Hall rushed for 180 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Nobody else in a Miner uniform accounted for more than 50 yards of offense. Bingham was limited to 55 yards passing.

“The biggest thing I take away from a game like this is I thought our defense really toed the line,” Wellbrock said. “Besides the long run and the halfback pass, other than that, I was really pleased with how they played.”

Mountain Pointe has a history of coming up big against national powers on visits to the Las Vegas area. Five years ago, it upset nationally ranked Bishop Gorman, joining the few teams ever to beat the Gaels on their home field. That started an undefeated season that ended with the state championship and No. 5 national ranking for the Pride.

This game begins a critical stretch for this Pride team. In the coming five weeks, Mountain Pointe, which plays the toughest schedule in Arizona this season, faces Hamilton (2-2) – which on Friday upset Las Vegas Arbor View Hills – with a short preparation week, and then Queen Creek (3-1), Highland (4-0), Desert Vista (3-0) in the Ahwatukee Bowl, Chaparral (3-0) and Desert Ridge (2-2) – which took unbeaten Liberty to the wire Friday.

The Pride’s losses are to Pinnacle (3-1), the nation’s 44th-ranked team with Oklahoma-bound quarterback Spencer Rattler, and now to No. 15 Bingham.

Bingham (Utah) 21, Mtn. 14

Mountain Pointe  7    0    7    0 – 14

Bingham              7    7    7    0 – 21

First

Bingham – Hall 2 run (Smith kick) 7:37

MP – Williams 26 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick) 2:43

Second

Bingham – Hall 92 run (Smith kick) 8:51

Third

Bingham – Cragun 50 pass from Greenfield (Smith kick) 6:23

MP – Nitura 1 run (Abercrombie kick) 0:39

Individual Statistics

Rushing

Bingham – Hall 17-180, Wimmer 9-31, Jones 6-9, Marx 2-10. Mountain Pointe – McKinney 27-58, Wallerstedt 9- -15, Washington 1- (-2), Nitura 1-1, Sansers 1-4.

Passing

Bingham – Jones 2-8-0, 5 yards, Greenfield 1-1-0, 50. Mountain Pointe – Wallerstedt 15-29-0, 191.

Receiving

Bingham – Cragun 1-50, Wimmer 1-7, Parikh 1- (-2). Mountain Pointe  – Washington 4-39, Davis 6-60, Williams 3-56, Dickson 2-31, Gomez 1-5.

Mountain Pointe High receiver Dominique Davis rips off another big play in Friday’s football game at Pinnacle. Davis, with five catches for 211 yards and a touchdown, was among the few bright spots for the Pride in their 56-34 season-opening loss to the Pioneers.   

Pride clobbered by Pinnacle backups as injured Rattler sits

  |  8.25.18

Mountain Pointe High’s secondary was bitten but not by a Rattler on Friday night.

Pride coach Rich Wellbrock’s debut was spoiled by a Pinnacle High quarterback who was not expected to play at all, J.D. Johnson, who was superb replacing injured Spencer Rattler as the top-ranked Pioneers rolled, 56-34.

Rattler left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. By halftime, top-ranked Pinnacle’s starting running back, Matt Goodlow, also was injured and on the sideline.

It didn’t seem to matter. The third-ranked Pride (0-1) defense was just as flummoxed by the backups. Johnson led Pinnacle (2-0) with Oklahoma-bound Rattler, among the best high school football players in the country, watching from the sideline. Rattler came into the game 0-3 against Mountain Pointe.

Johnson took advantage of his opportunity, passing for 225 yards and two touchdowns, completing 13 of 17 passes.

“I was a little nervous,” Johnson said. “But, I was just ready to step up.”

Pinnacle jumped to a 14-0 lead before Mountain Pointe gained a first down. However, two big plays by Pride quarterback Nick Wallerstedt, a 61 yard completion to Dominique Davis to set up a 17 yard touchdown run by Jakim McKinney, and then a Wallerstedt 54-yard touchdown run, pulled Mountain Pointe even at 14.

Then Wallerstedt threw an interception on his second pass of the second half and that ended his night. He was replaced by Ahmen Williams.

“That first drive was so critical and getting that interception and getting short field and getting that score right on, I think that took a little wind out of their sail,” said Pinnacle coach Dana Zupke. “I think that really got us control of the second half right away.”

Wallerstedt completed five of 10 passes for 118 yards and had the interception. He also rushed for 108 yards. Williams threw a pick as he completed only three of nine passes, but they gained 118 yards.

Davis had five catches for 211 yards and a touchdown.

Rattler completed his first five passes for 80 yards and a touchdown before he was injured. He was confident that his teammate could carry the team to victory when it became evident that he was not going to make it back into the game.

“I compete with him every day and it makes us both better,” Rattler said. “I knew once he got up he would do his thing. I’m real happy for him.”

It was a tough introduction to Mountain Pointe football for Wellbrock, the 2015-16 coach of the year at Desert Edge, but coming off a two-win record in his only season at Basha.

Mountain Pointe hosts Mountain View (1-1) on Friday.

Arizona high school football Week 2 Game of the Week watch list: Mountain Pointe-Pinnacle

, Arizona RepublicPublished 12:49 p.m. MT Aug. 21, 2018 | Updated 1:09 p.m. MT Aug. 21, 2018

 

There is a chance to see some future Saturday football players on Friday when No. 2 (6A) Phoenix Mountain Pointe opens its season at 1-0 and No. 1 (6A)-ranked Phoenix Pinnacle in the azcentral sports’ Game of the Week.

Mountain Pointe

Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson, CB, 6-2, 180, Sr.

Long, athletic, fast corner who has a 3-star composite rating by 247Sports, Pleasant-Johnson should have a busy night with Spencer Rattler throwing the ball. Pleasant-Johnson likely will find himself guarding Pinnacle’s best wide receiver. He has offers from Florida, Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri, Oregon State, San Diego State, Utah, and Northern Arizona.

Anthony Dedrick, DL, 6-4, 230, Sr.

He is being recruited as a weak-side defensive end. Holds a 3-star rating by 247Sports. So far four offers: NAU, South Dakota State, San Diego State and New Mexico State. Putting pressure on Rattler will help him get seen by more colleges who are looking for somebody with a large frame and quickness and speed.

Jerrick Dickson, TE/DE, 6-4, 220, Sr.

His father Marcus Dickson was a big-play running back at Phoenix Maryvale in the late 1980s. Great athlete who could make an impact on offense to get on the radar with major-college coaches.

Worth watching: QB Nick Wallerstedt, a senior, has committed to Arizona State to play baseball. Coach Rich Wellbrock may unveil 6-4, 185-pound senior Ahmen Williams at QB. He is a dynamic athlete who could make a splash in front of college recruiters. .. RB Jakim McKinney isn’t very big at 5-8, 170, but he has the speed and gears that make him stand out on the field.

RELATED: Mountain Pointe-Pinnacle leads high school football story lines

Pinnacle

Spencer Rattler, QB, 6-2, 185, Sr.

Seems like years ago that Rattler committed to Oklahoma. There has been no second-guessing that commitment since doing so last summer. Now after throwing for 415 yards and four TDs in last week’s opening win over Gilbert Perry, the five-star Rattler might be the most-watched high school quarterback in the nation.

RELATED: Spencer Rattler leads Phoenix Pinnacle to win over Gilbert Perry

Matt Goodlow, RB, 6-1, 190, Jr.

If Rattler endorses you, you know college coaches are going to listen. During Pinnacle’s preseason scrimmage, Rattler called Goodlow the best running back in the state. He has a chance to be. He has the size and speed. He can run through defenders and around them. College coaches will take a close look at him in this game against what should be a fast, physical Mountain Pointe defense.

Worth watching: Senior Athlete Kaleb Covington, 5-10, 175, has speed and gears that appeal to college coaches. Coach Dana Zupke has moved him from RB to WR. He is excellent in the slot. If last week was an indication, he will be used a lot to make plays in space. He caught four passes for 147 yards and a TD. … Senior LB Amelec Juntunen, 6-0, 190, has been moved from running back. He made a big impact on defense in the first game with 14 tackles, 11 solo, and a sack.

Mountain Pointe High School football practices with new coach Rich Wellbrock on July 25, 2018. Nick Oza/azcentral sports

Mountain Pointe enters new era with coach Rich Wellbrock

, Arizona RepublicPublished 7:06 p.m. MT July 25, 2018

Rich Wellbrock keeps seeing Spencer Rattler.

In his first loss as Chandler Basha’s coach last season, Wellbrock watched the Phoenix Pinnacle quarterback carve up his defense with four touchdown passes.

When he saw Rattler with his Oklahoma visor this June at 7-on-7 passing tournaments, Wellbrock would joke with him.

“I told him, ‘I just can’t get away from you,’ ” Wellbrock said.

For better or worse, Wellbrock will see Rattler again on Aug. 24 when Phoenix Mountain Pointe begins its Wellbrock coaching era. Rattler is 0-3 in his varsity career leading the Pinnacle offense against the Pride.

Mountain Pointe is moving past the Norris Vaughan era, a tough transition for any coach.

Vaughan set the bar extremely high. Mountain Pointe reached no less than the 6A state semifinals in eight of Vaughan’s nine seasons as coach.

His 2013 team was the last Arizona team to beat national powerhouse Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. It opened the season with a win at Bishop Gorman on national TV on its way to a 14-0 record and the school’s only state championship.

Wellbrock is an established coach (he won a state championship at Goodyear Desert Edge), and he brought with him one of the best defensive coordinators in the state in Conrad Hamilton, who served in that capacity for two of Scottsdale Chaparral’s state championships in the Charlie Ragle era.

“It’s still going to be punishing,” said senior cornerback Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson, who is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, has a long wingspan, off-the-charts athleticism and picked up eight college football offers in one week.

“Us losing Coach Vaughan, we didn’t lose nothing much. We’ve got a great head coach and defensive coach coming in. We come in with a lot of energy. We can run cover 1, 2, 3, 4. We’re going to execute. This is going to be a good season.”

Mountain Pointe will soon see how good it still is as it transitions from it’s greatest football era under Norris Vaughan.  Richard Obert, azcentral sports

Wellbrock will lean heavily on a loaded, fast defense, especially up front where he has three guys who could dominate off the edge.

Mountain Pointe’s offense may have a faster tempo than it did under Vaughan and should remain electric.

But who will lead it?

Wellbrock has two good quarterback options – the veteran Nick Wallerstedt and the ultra-athletic Ahmen Williams, who is ready to break out.

“Nick has done a phenomenal job, great kid,” Wellbrock said. “The other young man is a senior. They had even reps all summer. Now it’s ‘Who’s going to be the best leader?’

“I think both kids are tough kids and they’re going to want us to win football games. And that’s the biggest thing.”

Key returners

A punishing, big-play run game and physical defense have always been the Pride’s strong suits, and this team should be no different with running back Jakim McKinney (5-foot-8, 175 pounds) fresh off leading the Pride last season with 1,334 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing.

Wallerstedt is back after passing for 1,567 yards and rushing for 711 yards and totaling 20 TDs.

Pleasant-Johnson had 10 pass breakups, leading a fast secondary.

Defensive end Kenneth Lofton (6-3, 220) had 12 sacks.

Ready to break out

Senior slot Jathan Washington (5-9, 155) has a gear seldom seen on the field. He carried the ball just 10 times last season but averaged more than nine yards a carry. He could be electrifying on bubble screens, getting him out in space.

Defensive end Anthony Dedrick and tight end Jerrick Dickson are monsters on a front line that will make it tough for offenses to get going.

Safety Jatu Gipson is about to emerge as a star in the secondary.

Junior wide receiver Dominique Davis (6-1, 165) is ready to make his name as a big-play threat.

Key date

Mountain Pointe opens Aug. 24 at Phoenix Pinnacle, where it will try to keep Rattler, the No. 1-ranked 2019 QB in the nation, from beating the Pride for the first time in his career.

Final word

“I feel like they really understand what is going on with us and team and they’re trying to make us get better and win state.” – RB Jakim McKinney.

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.