Mountain Pointe High handed Highland High its first loss of the season on Friday, Sept. 28 in Gilbert, Ariz.
The Highland Hawks came into Friday’s contest against Mountain Pointe favored with an undefeated record, while the Pride knew their playoff hopes were likely on the line.
Mountain Pointe’s offense came alive in the first half and held off a valiant comeback effort by Highland to defeat the Hawks, 48-27.
“Coming out of this game, the biggest thing I’m proud of offensively is that all season long when we got a penalty on a drive we didn’t continue to drive and score,” Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock said. “It was real pleasing to see them fight through that adversity.”
The Pride got off to a fast start against Highland in the first half, as quarterback Nick Wallerstedt and running back Jakim Mckinney quickly found success against the Hawks’ defense.
Wallerstedt connected with senior tight end Jerrick Dickson early in the first quarter to give the Pride an early lead. Later in the first, senior running back Jakim Mckinney found his way to the end zone.
Wallerstedt and Mckinney would account for two more scores in the first half to push Mountain Pointe’s lead to 27-7 at halftime.
The senior quarterback shined for Mountain Pointe against a strong Highland defense, completing 15 of his 19 attempts for 163 yards and four touchdowns.
“He was special tonight,” Wellbrock said of Wallerstedt. “He did a little bit of everything. But he still has got a ways to get better.”
Facing a large deficit, Highland flipped a switch coming out of halftime, scoring two quick touchdowns – one of which a fumble — to narrow Mountain Pointe’s lead.
But the Pride answered.
Wallerstedt led Mountain Pointe on a long drive, eventually calling his own number from 10 yards out to once again make it a two-score game.
While Highland again scored to narrow the margin, Mountain Pointe answered, ending the Hawks’ hopes of an undefeated season.
Mountain Pointe’s defensive line played a vital role in the Pride’s upset victory, limiting Highland’s potent run-game.
“Their defensive line caused problems early,” Highland coach Brock Farrel said. “But really we only ran 17 offensive plays in the first half. Three of which were in the last two minutes when we did nothing. We just need to hang on to the ball.”
Highland (6-1) will look to bounce back next week as they travel to take on Corona del Sol (1-6).
As for Mountain Pointe (3-3), the win over talented Highland team is the type of confidence boost the Pride needed heading into the annual Ahwatukee Bowl next week against Desert Vista (5-1).
In his first year as head coach at Mountain Pointe, it will be the first time Wellbrock experiences one of best prep football rivalries in the Arizona. But he is prepared for what it has to offer.
“We know what this rivalry is about and the kids will make sure we are on point next week,” Wellbrock said. “I guarantee you.”
Mountain Pointe 48, Highland 27
Mountain Pointe 20 7 7 14 – 48
Highland 7 0 20 0 – 27
Mtn Pt – Dickson 5 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 7:43
Mtn Pt – McKinney 7 run (Abercrombie kick), 7:01
Highland – Huffman 13 run (Mcnamara kick), 5:15
Mtn Pt – Dickson 10 pass from Wallerstedt (kick failed), 1:24
Mtn Pt – McKinney 1 run (Abercrombie kick), 1:08
Highland – Hester 15 pass from Herbert (Mcnamara kick), 7:58
Highland – Fumble recovery (Mcnamara kick), 7:51
Mtn Pt – Wallerstedt 10 run (Abercrombie kick), 3:54
Highland – Cullimore 64 run (kick failed), 1:43
Mtn Pt – Davis 17 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 3:48
Mtn Pt – Washington 30 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 1:29
Mountain Pointe–McKinney 29-114, Sanders 16-85, Wallerstedt 12-119, Dickson 2-4. Highland – Cullimore 10-167, Huffman 3-38, Herbert 2-4.
Mountin Pointe – Wallerstedt 15-19-163. Highland – Herbert 9-13-89.
Mountain Pointe – Dickson 2-13, Washington 6-93, Williams 1-4, Davis 4-53, Sanders 1-5, McKinney 1-12. Highland – Burdick 2-18, Crandell 4-25, Hester 1-13, Cullimore 1-8, Huffman 1-23.
Mtn Pt Highland
First Downs 29 8
Rush Yards 59-322 15-209
Comp-Att-Int 15-19-0 9-13-0
Pass Yards 163 89
Total Yards 485 298
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 2/2
Penalties 6-58 5-42