The Ahwatukee Bowl will reach the grand old age of 20 when the neighborhood rivalry continues on Friday as the two football programs get reacquainted.
This year’s game has a lot to live up to this time around.
There has been a game where it took five overtimes to decide a winner, one where the only points and the deciding margin of victory, in the second half was a safety and teams so powerful they went on to win a state title.
Then there are the oddities – a goal post being ripped down, a streaking student in a gorilla mask, a forfeit due a thunderstorm and an incident where a policeman’s gun allegedly ended up on the ground while trying to get the crowd to disperse that created a frenzied but ultimately safe situation.
All of it adds up to one of the best rivalries in the state.
Here is a look at every game in the series:
A crowd of about 8,000 people attended the first Ahwatukee Bowl to see Mountain Pointe’s size and experience dominate the game. The Pride won 45-7 with Marcus Jones rushing for 166 yards on 20 carries. The Thunder, with no seniors, committed five turnovers and lost their first game after a 3-0 start. Mountain Pointe entered 0-3 but its students tore down Desert Vista’s north goalpost after the win.
Top-ranked Desert Vista won 32-14 with junior quarterback John Rattay throwing for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Bobby Wade ran for 86 yards and the Thunder defense held Mountain Pointe to 25 first-half yards. The Thunder players carried coach Jim Rattay across the field after their first rivalry win.
Top-ranked Desert Vista cruised again behind John Rattay, who completed 16 of 25 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-6 win before 11,000 fans. Tight end Elton Johnson was his favorite target, catching eight balls for 106 yards and two of the touchdowns. Desert Vista did not make a turnover and held 1,700-yard Pride running back Nic Lovett to 67 yards (17 in the first three quarters).
In an Ahwatukee Bowl classic, Desert Vista won 38-35 after five overtimes and more than 3 ½ hours of play. Mountain Pointe had clinched the Central Region entering the game but could not down the Thunder, led by Brent (3 TD passes) and Zach Miller, despite tying the game with 20 seconds remaining in regulation. The game went into OT when Mountain Pointe’s Ryan Cozetto connected with Brian Hernandez on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Cozetto was sent in to win it with a field goal attempt in the second OT, but he unknowingly tore his ACL earlier in the game and collapsed when he planted his foot. The teams traded TDs in the third and fourth extra periods including one time when Cozetto fumbled, and Hernandez picked up and scored. It ended when Mountain Pointe missed a FG, and Desert Vista’s Brock Rideout kicked the 25-yard game winner in the fifth OT.
Jarrett Sayas rushed for a 65-yard touchdown on the game’s third play and his Thunder dominated from there for a 34-7 victory. Sayas finished with 107 yards on 10 rushes. He added another rushing touchdown and a 101-yard interception touchdown return in the regular season finale.
In Dan Hinds’ first Ahwatukee Bowl as Desert Vista’s head coach, the Thunder scored six times in the first half and won 63-13 in the series’ largest blowout. Clinton Polk rushed nine times for 217 yards and Jarrett Sayas rushed nine times for 88 yards.
Desert Vista overcame an early 14-0 hole and won 34-30 when the Thunder had a late-game, 80-yard drive capped by Jordan Stewart’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Mike Tamez with one minute remaining in the game. Mountain Pointe entered the teams’ region opener at 4-1 while Desert Vista had been stumbling at 2-3.
Mountain Pointe ended its six-game Ahwatukee Bowl losing streak by making Karl Kiefer the first 300-win coach in Arizona prep football history with a 23-21 victory. The Thunder lost the rivalry game for the first time with seniors when a Jordan Litke 40-yard field goal came up short on Desert Vista’s final play. Jarvis Hodge led the Pride with 174 yards on 25 carries while Desert Vista’s Chris Brogdon rushed 26 times for 153 yards.
Mountain Pointe’s Michael Moore proved unstoppable with a 279-yard rushing game on 18 carries to lead Mountain Pointe to a 39-14 victory. The Pride had started the season 1-4 but beating the Thunder continued a four-game winning streak to go to 5-4. Travis Hardee added 64- and 90-yard touchdown receptions for Mountain Pointe.
Desert Vista jumped out to a 21-0 lead on a Cole Pembroke interception return touchdown and Mark Lund touchdown passes to Bryant St. Cyr and Allante Battle. The Thunder rolled to a 27-12 victory that put them at 6-3. It also ended the Pride’s playoff hopes despite kicker Spencer Thompson booting 43- and 46-yard field goals for Mountain Pointe.
Desert Vista knocked Mountain Pointe out of the playoff picture in the season’s final week, blowing out the Pride 37-13. Desert Vista’s Chris Jones rushed for 107 yards, including a touchdown, on 13 carries while Luke Matthews scored three times while gaining 97 yards on eight carries. Devon Kennard and Danny Mularkey each had two sacks.
The Thunder continued their dominance in the series, winning 42-6 to take 9-3 lead in the rivalry, to finish the season at 8-2. Andres Battle scored on runs of 53 and 4 yards, while quarterback Cody Sokol tossed two touchdowns. The Pride, whose lone score came from quarterback Austin Lahr, had one of their worst seasons as Mountain Pointe ended the year at 2-8.
The first game of the Norris Vaughan era with Mountain Pointe didn’t look like it was going to go the Pride’s way, but ended up winning easily, 34-18 on the way to an undefeated regular season. The Thunder, who lost quarterback Cody Sokol in the game, had leads of 12-0 and 18-6 before Davon Jones took over. Jones scored just before the half and on the first drive of the first half and the Pride never looked back while rushing for 385 yards.
In one of the rare games in the series that came down to the fourth quarter, Mountain Pointe sealed the 20-17 victory when Martin Moriel intercepted Hunter Rodriguez with less than two minutes left in the game. The Pride controlled the line of scrimmage and rushed for 381 yards behind Issac Kartz (218 yards) and Dillan Johnson (110), but the Thunder still had a shot after Rodriguez found Aaron Smith for a 20-yard touchdown pass with nearly five minutes.
This might have been the oddest game of them all as two weather delays and an incident that had the police get involved during one of the delays saw the Thunder get awarded a 1-0 victory as became a forfeit. Desert Vista, which would go on to win the state title, led 24-0 when play was called with 2 minutes and 48 seconds left in the game at Karl Kiefer Stadium. The Thunder scored on its opening drive, Ryan Wagner had a pick six and then recovered a fumble that stopped the Pride’s only real scoring threat.
This game saw only two points scored in the second after being all tied at 21 at halftime. Oh, and a naked student in a gorilla mask streaked across the field jumped the fence in the northwest corner of Thunder Stadium and disappeared into the night. Mountain Pointe, which would finish as state runner-ups, took the lead 23-21 on a safety when Landry Payne tackled Thunder punter Connor Dols in the end zone after a high snap. Desert Vista, which lost leading running back Jarek Hilgers when tackled with his helmet off that required 12 stitches, had two opportunities in the Pride red zone disappear because of turnovers.
Eventual state champion Mountain Pointe won this one going away 49-6 after holding just a 7-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter. After that Pride had some fun when they scored just before half on a great catch by Timmy Hernandez and then piled on with a 28-point fourth quarter including two picks sixes as Markell Simmons and Jalen Brown took advantage of the fact that Thunder played without quarterback and emotional leader Cade Van Raaphorst (knee).
There haven’t been too many ho-hum moments in the history of the Ahwatukee Bowl. This version, however, played out as expected between two programs seemingly going in opposite directions as Mountain Poite won 49-14. The key was a 28-point second quarter after the Thunder (1-5) used a 8-play drive, led by quarterback Alex Farina, who come in for the Thunder’s second series of the game, to tie it at 7. The Pride (6-1) responded on the next drive as three straight runs got them inside the Thunder 30 before Garvin Alston (5 of 9 for 108 yards, 2 TDs) connected with Zach Blohm on a 27-yard pass just inside the right pylon. By halftime it was 35-7 as Mountain Pointe finished with more than 450 yards of offense.
Mountain Pointe won its fourth in the row, the program’s longest streak in the series, with a 28-14 win as the game was competitive throughout. The game was tied at 14 heading into the fourth before the Pride found the end zone twice with their strong running game. Deon Lee had the go-ahead touchdown catch while running back Macarius Blount (165 yards, 1 TD) and quarterback Jack Smith (82 yards rushing) ate clock and picked up first downs to end the Thunder’s chances of getting back into the game.
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