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Dominic Davis of Mountain Pointe hauls in a reception during the Pride’s 28-20 win at Desert Ridge in Mesa on Friday.  |  

Mtn. Pointe scores 21 points in 5 minutes in comeback win over Desert Ridge

No one can accuse Mountain Pointe of not putting a little drama into their games.

After failing to make a single first down and trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Pride, fighting for a first-round home playoff game, scored three touchdowns in less than 5 minutes in the third quarter and then hung on for a 28-20 victory over Desert Ridge on Friday night in far east Mesa.

The previous week, the Pride trailed Chaparral 10-0 after a quarter before rallying for a win.

“They did a phenomenal job on offense, as well as they obviously controlled the clock,” Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock said of the Jaguars. “I think the first drive they scored on was over nine minutes. They did a great job. Coach (Jeremy) Hathcock and his staff and his kids implemented that game plan to the fullest and limited our possessions. We couldn’t get into a rhythm in the first half.”

Desert Ridge, now firmly on the playoff bubble at 3-6, had a bye the previous week and made the most of the time formulating its game plan against the Pride. Mountain Pointe had only 29 total yards at the half.

Meanwhile, Jaguars running back Lucas Wright had 103 rushing yards by halftime and 240 for the game, feasting on toss sweeps to the right side. Wright also converted a third-down with a 35-yard completion to the 2 on a halfback pass to set up Desert Ridge’s second touchdown just before halftime.

While it seemed that Desert Ridge was doing everything right in every facet of the game, Wellbrock wanted his team to focus on taking care of the little things rather than coming back in one play.

“At halftime, we came back out and I said, ‘Fellas, let’s just get a first down,’” Wellbrock said. “Let’s get into a little bit of a rhythm and let’s see what happens. Obviously, we got a couple of plays. Defense made a couple of big plays. We flipped it pretty good.”

On the first possession of the second half, Mountain Pointe scored in less than two minutes and gained momentum.

“Right after that first touchdown, I felt like we were going to have the game,” Mountain Pointe quarterback Nick Wallerstedt said.

The next possession didn’t last much longer. Sophomore running back Eli Sanders capped a drive with a 37-yard touchdown run that tied the game.

A couple of minutes later, the Pride took the lead for good when defensive end Kenneth Lofton picked up a fumble and rambled 30 yards for a score.

After allowing 208 total yards in the first half, the Pride defense clamped down and limited the Jaguars to 153 total yards and six points in the second, aided by two fumble recoveries and an interception.

“Our defensive players bailed us out tonight,” Wallerstedt said. “Definitely, we’ll put the ‘W’ on them. They helped us out, helped us get the ball back and they just did what they needed to do. They do this every week. They ball out and that’s all we needed them to do this week, and they did.”

After Wallerstedt put the Pride up by eight points with a 16-yard scoring run with just under 2 minutes to go, their defense had to stop Desert Ridge one last time.

“They manned up,” Wellbrock said. “There was a lot of guys out there that were in brand new positions (because of widespread injuries). When the bell rang, they ran out there and did some really good things for us and it’s just fun to watch these kids fly around sometimes.”

An interception by defensive back Diamante Landrum in the closing minute sealed the game and allowed Mountain Pointe to take a knee and walk away with a winning record (5-4) for the first time this season.

“I just told (the team), ‘Let’s get out of here, because the team in the first half is not the team we want to remember this game by,’” Wellbrock said.

The Pride, ninth in AIA Class 6A playoff seeding going into the game, all but sealed a playoff berth with the win. They close the season at home Friday against Corona del Sol (1-8) hoping that a victory will lift them into the top eight and a first-round home playoff game.

Desert Ridge (3-6)14th in seeding going into the game, closes against Highland (8-1) and likely needing a win to a void failing to make the playoffs for the first time in Hathcock’s 13 years at the school.

 

Mountain Pointe 28, Desert Ridge 20

Mountain Pointe    0   0  21  7– 28

Desert Ridge           0 14   0  6 – 20

Second

DR – Hathcock 1 run (Edwards kick), 9:01.

DR – Wright 2 run (Edwards kick), 1:01.

High – Cullimore 46 run (McNamara kick), 4:20

Third

MP – Washington 25 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 10:17.

MP – Sanders 37 run (Abercrombie kick), 7:33.

MP – Lofton 30 fumble recovery (Abercrombie kick), 7:15.

Fourth

DR – Wright 1 run (kick failed), 5:51.

MP – Wallerstedt 16 run (Abercrombie kick), 1:50.

 

Team statistics

                       MP          DR

Rush-yards       27-98     52-320

Comp-Att-Int    7-14-0   2-5-1

Pass yard           81          39

Total yards        179        359

Fumbles/lost      0/0         5/3

Penalties            5-50       4-25

Individual statistics

Rushing

Mountain Pointe – Sanders 17-98, Wallerstedt 6-41, McKinney 4-2. Desert Ridge – Wright 31-240, Segura 14-58, Hathcock 6-24, Salazar 1- (-2).

Passing

Mountain Pointe – Wallerstedt 7-14-0, 81 yards. Desert Ridge –Kolb 1-3-1, 4; Wright 1-2-0, 35.

Receiving

Mountain Pointe – Davis 4-45, Barker 3-36. Desert Ridge – Butler 1-35, Lee 1-4.

 

Mountain Pointe’s Diamante Landrum goes high to make an interception in front of teammate Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson in the first quarter of Friday’s football game against Mountain View at Karl Kiefer Stadium. The Pride downed the Toros,45-18.   

Mountain Pointe’s defense gains redemption in rout of Mountain View

Mountain Pointe High’s defense, roughed up by Pinnacle in the season opener a week earlier, came ready Friday, shutting down Mountain View, 45-18, at Karl Kiefer Stadium.

Just seven days removed from giving up 56 points at Pinnacle, some against Pioneer backups, the Pride got to Mountain View quarterback Brandon Nunez often, not allowing him time or space to throw.

Motivated by that opening loss and hungry for the first home win, and the first win under new coach Rich Wellbrock, Mountain Pointe’s defense set the tone starting with a tackle for a safety by junior Rashion Hodge.

“Last week we lost and we knew we had to come back stronger,” Hodge said. “The defense was a little less complicated than last week.”

Noting that his defense was moving better and making quicker reads, Wellbrock said he was happy with the effort. His defense shut down the Toros in the first half as the Pride built a 25-0 lead and coasted home.

“We hit and flew around a little bit more early. That was something that I’m really pleased with. The linebackers played much better, and it was good to have them running around and having some fun out there,” Welbrock said.

Offensively, once again the connection between Pride senior quarterback Nick Wallerstedt and junior receiver Dominique Davis could not be stopped. The pair connected on three touchdown passes. In the opener, Davis caught five passes for 211 yards and a score.

After the safety in the first quarter, MP returned the ensuing punt to the Toros 37-yard line. It took one play for Wallerstedt to find Davis streaking down the field uncovered for an easy touchdown. Wellbrock told an assistant coach early that “our play is open.”

“We always try to make sure we connect on the deep ball,” Davis said.

Wallerstedt consistently threw Davis’ way, lobbing the ball and allowing 6-foot-2 Davis to elevate and grab it.

“I love it, and the post is my favorite route,” Davis said. “We just worked in practice over and over.”

Mountain View did not go down easily. An early defensive stop in the third quarter and good punt return gave some momentum to the Toros. Nunez suddenly made plays deep down the field, leading touchdown drives on successive possessions. Suddenly the lead was 13 midway through the third quarter.

“They hit us with something harder than we thought they would,” Hodge said.

Then Mountain View muffed a punt deep in its territory and Mountain Pointe recovered. That turnover seemingly gave away not only the ball but also the momentum.

“I think everybody in the building knew that was probably the end of their run. If they could have gotten the ball there and scored, we’d have a whole different ball game,” Wellbrock said.

As excited as he was to secure his first win with the Pride, Wellbrock said he still saw a lot of room for improvement.

Despite two interceptions and a recovered fumble, the Pride defense dropped a few interception chances and blew others with penalties. On offense, even though Davis caught three touchdown passes from Wallerstedt, he dropped a couple of long balls and Wallerstedt overthrew a couple of open receivers downfield.

Wellbrock views those mistakes as a chance to improve.

“I think they got better (since the opener). I’ve been telling everybody for quite a while that we’re going to be a different team come October and November. And, I still believe that,” Wellbrock said. “We left a lot of points out there tonight on both sides of the ball. This isn’t a finished product by any means, and that’s exciting as a coach.”

The Pride (1-1) head to Henderson, Nevada, next Saturday to face the No. 17 team in the nation, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham High, as part of the Touchdowns Against Cancer Games.

The loss drops Mountain View to 1-2. The Toros visit Queen Creek on Friday.

Mountain Pointe 45, Mountain View 18

 

Mountain View    0    0   12    6 – 18

Mountain Pointe  9  16    7   13 – 45