Jalen Brown caught a state-record 50 career touchdown passes at Mountain Pointe from 2010-13. (Photo: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports)
It started in the early 1990s under the construction of Karl Kiefer, a Hall of Fame coach who had turned Tempe McClintock into a perennial state powerhouse.
It now is in the hands of Norris Vaughan, who took Phoenix Mountain to the top in 2013 with a top-five national power that went 14-0, the school’s only undefeated and state championship big-school team.
Mountain Pointe football was built on the run, so to speak.
Run, run and run.
The school’s all-time list is loaded with gritty, big-play backs and led by the state record holder for career touchdown catches.
No. 1 Jalen Brown, WR/DB, 2014
Caught a state-record 50 career touchdown passes from 2010-13. As a freshman, he already stood out, staring both at receiver and safety. He was a big cog to Mountain Pointe’s two best seasons in 2012 (a state runnerup finish) and 2013 (14-0 and state championship). Brown was the catalyst of that 2013 Mountain Pointe team that finished among the top five in the nation. Brown, now a redshirt freshman at Oregon, caught his first collegiate pass last week against Georgia State.
No. 2 Keith Brown, RB, 1996
Brown was the first big back in the Karl Kiefer era, rushing for 31 touchdowns in 1995. Brown’s season school record of 2,701 yards in ’95 still stands today. He made USA TodayAll-American honorable mention. Mountain Pointe rode Brown, who ran the ball 337 times his last season. He is the only Mountain Pointe player to ever have more than 300 carries in a season. He went on to play as a 220-pound tailback at UCLA.
No. 3 Alex Lewis, OL, 2011
A 6-foot-6, 290-pound left tackle who is expected to be an NFL draft pick in the spring. He is currently a senior captain at Nebraska, where he started all 13 games last season, helping the Cornhuskers be among the top 20 teams in the nation in rushing. Lewis keyed the best running team Vaughan had in 2010, when he had two 1,000-yard rushers and the Pride averaged 315 yards rushing a game. His father Bill Lewis was an NFL lineman, who played for the Cardinals. Alex Lewis transferred to Nebraska after playing his first two seasons at Colorado. He played for the Buffaloes as a true freshman.
No. 4 Antonio Hinojosa, QB, 2014
The most prolific and successful quarterback in school history, he holds school records for most TD passes in a game (five, twice in 2012), most TD passes in a season (top two at 32 in 2013 and 31 in 2012), and most touchdown passes in a career (63 with the next-closest at 23) to go with several others. Only 5-11 and 170 pounds, he was slippery and accurate, taking advantage of his speedy play-makers.
No. 5 Michael Moore, RB, 2006
He was a big, between-the-tackles back at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, who had six touchdowns in a game during his senior season, which still stands as a school record, tied with Skeeter Brown, who set it in 1994. Moore had 25 touchdowns in 2005. He holds the school record for most rushing yards in a game at 337, against Tempe Corona del Sol, in his last year. He averaged 9.8 yards a carry his senior year. Personal setbacks kept him from fulfilling his football potential in college.
No. 6 Nic Lovett, RB, 2000
Before going onto Weber State, Lovett made his father proud, before Mark Lovett — a former Arizona State fullback who was a big part of the Sun Devils’ undefeated 1975 team that beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl — died in 2001, while coaching at Mountain Pointe. Mountain Pointe’s practice field is now named after Mark Lovett, who coached running backs and linebackers for Kiefer. Nic was a chip off the block with his ability to spring loose for big plays in 1999, when he ran for 1,899 yards. He holds the school record for career rushing yards with 3,330 between 1996-99.
No. 7 Landry Payne, LB, 2013
He was part of the dynamic duo Payne brothers in 2012 with younger brother Wesley racking up 170 tackles on that 12-2 state runnerup team. Landry was even more impressive with his ability to get into the backfield. He was only 5-10 and about 170 pounds, but Landry hit like a locomotive. Big number 7 had seven sacks and 16 tackles for losses his senior season to go with 92 tackles, 53 solo. And, oh yeah, when the Pride needed extra offensive punch, Landry delivered. He averaged 19.54 yards on 13 carries.
No. 8 Wesley Payne, LB/RB, 2014
Slightly bigger than older brother Landry at 5-10 and 190 pounds, Wesley’ fire fueled Mountain Pointe’s greatest season in 2013. Even though he missed two games with an injury and played much of the season banged up, Payne had 58 tackles following the school-record 170 he had as a junior. He also was the thunder to Paul Lucas’ lightning in the backfield, rushing for 938 yards and 12 TDs. Nobody will forget that season-opening 28-21 victory at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, where Payne’s fury was unleashed. He had 167 rushing yards and a touchdowns in 22 carries to go with 14 tackles in that breakthrough game.
No. 9 Davon Jones, RB, 2010
When Norris Vaughan came to Mountain Pointe in 2009, he quickly turned to Jones to resurrect the program. Jones had 33 touchdowns on that 12-1 team that lost its only game to Mesa 14-10 in the state semifinals. They are second-most in school history, only to Brown’s 52. Davon Brown’s comeback after playing just five games his junior season coincided with Mountain Pointe’s turnaround in Vaughan’s first season, going from 2-8 in ’08.
No. 10 Mike Collins, WR, 1994
Collins was a pretty dynamic wide receiver, before he became one of the top players in the 1998 College World Series, an infielder on Arizona State’s baseball team that finished national runner-up. His 10 catches against Glendale Ironwood in 1992 still stands as a single-game school record. He caught four TD passes in a game in 1993, which Jalen Brown equaled twice. He is second behind Jalen Brown for most TD catches in a career with 13.