Pride continue to win with a strong defense and running game - Mountain Pointe’s Gary Bragg, #8, threads his way through Pinnacle... [ read more ]

Pride, Thunder tuning up this weekend for the Tukee Bowl - Mountain Pointe dominates Mountain View on the Road [Photo Special to... [ read more ]

Running game leads Mountain Pointe to third win. - Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney, #33, evades a Mountain View tackle on... [ read more ]

Pride, Thunder both take to the road Friday after big wins - Marshawn Gibson marches down the field to start the fourth quarter against... [ read more ]

Mountain Pointe avenges state title loss, upsets Chandler on the road - Tyre Johnson carries the ball against Chandler Friday night at Austin... [ read more ]

Mountain Pointe football upsets Chandler on the road - Richard Morin, azcentral sportsPublished 10:14 p.m. MT Sept. 8,... [ read more ]

Marshawn Gibson marches down the field to start the fourth quarter against the Chandler Wolves.  [Photo courtesy of MP Football Facebook]

Pride, Thunder both take to the road Friday after big wins

By Greg Macafee, AFN Sports Editor  |  

The tough competition doesn’t stop with last weekend’s defeat of Chandler High as Mountain Pointe High will see where it stands against the Arizona’s top football talent in the coming weeks.

This week, the Pride will hit the road for the third straight week, taking on Mesa Mountain View (2-1).

The Toros are 1-0 at home this year, defeating Corona del Sol (1-3) 35-18. They are led by Mike Fell, who won his 200th career game in the season opening victory over Valley Vista.

Friday night will bring a matchup between two experienced head coaches and several talented players.

Mountain Pointe will have the task of locking up the quarterback-receiver tandem of Brandon Nunez and Jacobby Dinwiddie. The pair has hooked up for 283 passing yards and one touchdown so far in 2017. As a sophomore, Dinwiddie was a huge part of the Toros offense, catching 70 passes for 1,012 yards and six touchdowns.

Look for a talented secondary, led by Pride seniors Kenny Churchwell, Delano Salgado, Tyre Johnson and Marshawn Gibson to lock down the pair through the air.

On the ground, the Toros have been led by senior tailback Dean Yamada who has tallied 198 yards on 40 carries.

Mountain Pointe also will have to be on the lookout for the running ability of Nunez. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound quarterback has scampered for 63 yards this season, but he showed off his legs in the red zone against Valley Vista, finding the end zone twice.   

If Pride secondary can contain the duo of Nunez and Dinwiddie, the talented trio of running backs from Mountain Pointe should have the opportunity to control the pace of the game like they have all season long.

It’s been a staple of their offense since their first game, when senior Gary Bragg returned from an ACL injury last season with a 131-yard, three-touchdown performance against Sandra Day O’Connor.

Against Chaminade, a top-10 school in California, Bragg was locked up for just 45 yards on 10 carries. But, junior running back Jakim McKinney made his presence known, rushing for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

Another important aspect of Mountain Pointe’s matchup with Mountain View will be the play of quarterback Nick Wallerstedt.

With a stout running game behind him and a big offensive line in front of him, the Pride signal-caller has been able to manage games. He has made throws when he has needed to, but also has used his feet when given the opportunity.

His three-yard quarterback keeper against Chandler put the Pride ahead and they never looked back.  

With a big redemption win over the state champions, the Pride look to be back to form after a tough loss against Chaminade. It still has a tough schedule ahead as Pinnacle and the Ahwatukee bowl both await in the weeks ahead.

Desert Vista vs. Brophy Prep

Desert Vista High School (2-1) made it two wins in a row on Friday with a 44-13 win over Mesa Skyline and this week it will look to make it three as they travel to Brophy Prep (1-3) to take on the Broncos.  

Brophy Prep fell to undefeated Highland this past Friday 14-6 in another close contest, a recurring theme for the Broncos. They squeaked out a 28-27 win against Westview and fell to Desert Ridge by nine points.

While their record may not show it, the Broncos boast a talented roster full of playmakers that head coach Daniel Hinds and his team will have to be on the lookout for. The talent of the Broncos starts in the backfield with quarterback Noah Gonzales.

The 6-foot-2 gunslinger has completed 50 percent of his passes in 2017 for 735 yards and five touchdowns. His only game without 200-plus passing yards came in their season opening loss to Pinnacle.

In his first season under center, Gonzales has found two favorite targets in seniors Xavier Juniel and senior Donovan Arthur. The two receivers have combined for 374 yards and three touchdowns in four games.

But he has also struggled at times, throwing three interceptions in the game against Highland.

This is an area of the game that a strong Desert Vista secondary could take advantage of as the combination of James Stagg, Caleb Humphrey and Larry Davis should stymie the Brophy running game. In both of Desert Vista’s victories season, they have held opponents below 200 rushing yards.

Offensively, the Thunder will look to continue to keep up their high scoring efforts as they are clicking in both the passing and running game.

Since throwing two interceptions against Perry, quarterback Derek Kline has been big for the Thunder. He’s completed over 60 percent of his passes in the past two games and he’s also thrown for seven touchdowns.

That streak should continue against Brophy if the Thunder can avoid turning the ball over, which they have done in the past two games other than a lone fumble against Basha.

Along with Kline, look for senior Keishaud White to have a big impact in their fourth game of the season. He has scored in all three games, both through the air and on the ground. But on Friday he added another facet to his scoring repertoire against Skyline, returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

– Contact Sports Editor Greg Macafee at gmacafee@timespublications.com or by phone at 585-610-2344. Follow Greg on Twitter @greg_macafee

 

Mountain Pointe wide receiver Kenny Churchwell makes a one-handed catch.  (Photo: Arizona Republic)

Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6-2, 185, Sr.

5 interceptions, 11 deflections in 2016.

American Family Insurance ALL-USA Arizona preseason football team 2017

, azcentral sportsPublished 5:09 p.m. MT Aug. 15, 2017 | Updated 4:53 p.m. MT Aug. 17, 2017

 

This is the 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Arizona preseason football team.

Offense

Quarterback

Brock Purdy, Gilbert Perry, 6-1, 197, Sr.

All-Arizona last season, despite missing the first three games, and putting up 3,333 yards and 42 TDs passing and running for 842 yards and six scores.

Running back

Zidane Thomas, Peoria Centennial, 5-10, 205, Sr.

A 2,000-yard rusher last year, turned loose this week after having hardship approved by AIA.

Running back

Draycen Hall, Gilbert Higley, 5-8, 165, Sr.

Scored 40 TDs and had 3,908 all-purpose yards in 2016.

Center

Max Wilhite, Goodyear Desert Edge, 6-3, 300, Sr.

Fourth-year varsity starter.

Lineman

Matteo Mele, Tucson Salpointe Catholic, 6-6, 275, Sr.

Washington commit added 20 pounds since last season.

Lineman

David Watson, Tucson Amphitheater, 6-6, 300, Sr.

Committed to Arizona, where both of his parents played sport.

Lineman

Ralph Frias, Safford, 6-7, 320, Sr.

Started at left tackle since freshman year.

Lineman

Joey Ramos, Glendale Deer Valley, 6-4, 290, Sr.

Rated No. 1 offensive lineman in Arizona for 2017 season by azcentral sports.

Tight end

James Stagg, Phoenix Desert Vista, 6-4, 241, Sr.

Will remind people of former Desert Vista standout Zach Miller.

Wide receiver

Solomon Enis, Phoenix North Canyon, 6-4, 190, Sr.

Has ASU, UA in his final seven. 

Wide receiver

Gunner Romney, Chandler, 6-3, 200, Sr.

BYU commit had 70 catches for 1,309 yards, nine TDs last season.

All purpose

Lance Lawson, Mesa Red Mountain, 5-9, 185, Sr.

All-Arizona last year, he is a game changer on both sides of the ball, will be go-to guy on offense.

Defense

Tackle

Chris Manoa, Chandler, 6-0, 300, Sr.

41 tackles, 4 sacks, 8 QB hurries on 6A title team

Tackle

Kai Golden, Marana Mountain View, 6-2, 295, Sr.

40 tackles, 9 for losses in 2016

End

Aaron Romero, Mesa Skyline, 6-3, 245, Sr.

Ready to emerge on the scene as a pass rusher

End

Ty Robinson, Gilbert Higley, 6-5, 255, Jr.

With Jason Harris out, watch for this guy to blow it up in the backfield.

Linebacker

Calib McRae, Marana Mountain View, 6-1, 227, Jr.

39 tackles, 2 sacks in 4 games before injury last season.

Linebacker

Brayden Flynn, Chandler, 6-3, 220, Sr.

Transfer from Hamilton, had 14.5 sacks last year.

Linebacker

Giovanni Miranda, Scottsdale Saguaro, 6-4, 205, Sr.

Game changer on both sides of ball.

Back

Dom Hampton, Peoria Centennial, 6-2, 185, Sr.

30 solo tackles, 2 forced fumbles last year.

Back

Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6-2, 185, Sr.

5 interceptions, 11 deflections in 2016.

Back

Josiah Bradley, Saguaro, 6-1, 194

Fast, athletic safety had 3 interceptions, 8 deflections during 4A title season.

Back

Donjae Logan, Mesa Desert Ridge, 5-11, 170, Sr.

Stanford commit had 33 solo tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 deflections in 2016.

Special teams

Kicker

Brayden Narveson, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, 6-0, 190, Sr.

Watch to emerge as team’s full-time kicker after he made a 51-yard field goal last season.

Punter

Carlos Ritchie, Laveen Cesar Chavez, 6-1, 175, Sr.

Good all-around athlete who averaged 43 yards a punt last season with seven inside the 20-yard line.

Long snapper

Slater Zellers, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep, 6-1, 220, Sr.

The No.1-ranked long snapper in the nation by Kohl’s, he has committed to California.

Kick returner

Aiden Diggs, Goodyear Millennium, 6-0, 170, Sr.

He was second in the nation in average kickoff return yardage last season with 44.7 in 15 attempts.

Punt returner

Keishaud White, Phoenix Desert Vista, 5-6, 160, Sr.

Two years ago, the only two punts he returned went for touchdowns.

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.

Kimberly Carrillo/AFN Photographer
“If we can stay healthy, we have a chance to get back to the state championship game, there’s no question,” Vaughn said.

Hut, hut! Pride, Thunder ready for the 2017 season

  • By Greg Macafee, AFN Sports Editor  

Ahwatukee always has at least one successful high school football team. But in 2017, the community will have two teams with the talent to make a run for a state championship.

Last year ended the same way for both Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools – with losses to Chandler High in the Class 6A State Tournament. Desert Vista was knocked out in the quarterfinals, while Mountain Pointe made a run to the state championship game.

The Pride finished the season ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and had beaten Chandler High earlier in the fall by 45 points.

On its run to the championship and throughout the season, however, the Pride suffered numerous injuries. In its semifinal victory over Red Mountain High the team lost at least four starters.

This season, the Pride will return with another strong defense featuring defensive backs Kenny Churchwell and Delano Salgado, who combined for 93 tackles and six interceptions.

But injuries already have impacted the 2017 Pride.

The defensive line will be missing Matthew Pola-Mao, who will miss the season due to injury, head coach Norris Vaughn said.

Nevertheless, Vaughn said he likes his team’s chances if his players can avoid more major injuries.

“If we can stay healthy, we have a chance to get back to the state championship game, there’s no question,” Vaughn said.

Desert Vista is also feeling confident about its chances on the gridiron.

“I feel like teams are going to have to try and win by their defense,” leading tackler Larry Davis said. “They gotta win by not letting our offense score because I don’t think a lot of people are going to score. Our defense is pretty stacked.”

For Mountain Pointe, look for Jacob Olsen and Shomari Hayes to fill the void left by the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Pola-mao.

Olsen led the team in sacks in 2016 with six and made 87 tackles as well. Hayes was another big piece of the Prides hard-hitting defense last season, racking up 74 tackles, 11.5 of them being for a loss.

The Pride will have a stout defense in 2017, but they will also have another solid offense.

Tailback Gary Bragg returns from an ACL injury that ended his junior season after rushing for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games. They will also return quarterback Nick Wallerstedt, who filled in for injured Noah Grover last season, throwing for 558 yards and four touchdowns.

Salgado will also have a significant role in the offense for the Pride. The senior tailback rushed for 730 yards and six touchdowns last season.

After a 7-5 season, the Desert Vista Thunder are looking to return strong in 2017 with a potent offense and an even stronger defense.

They finished their run in 2016 with a devastating 62-7 loss against eventual state champion Chandler High in the quarterfinals, after finishing the regular season ranked 10th in Class 6A.

Although Desert Vista graduated starting QB Nick Thomas and leading rusher Lelon Dillard, the Thunder still have several returning players who will have a larger role in 2017.

With Nevada transplant quarterback Derek Kline under center, the Thunder will boast an offense with plenty of weapons, both in the backfield and on the outside.

James Stagg and Keishaud White both return to the offense after combining for nine touchdowns and 750-plus receiving yards last season.

Defensively, head coach Daniel Hinds said, the Thunder is returning its entire secondary as well as Davis, who made 93 tackles last season and racked up 6.5 sacks as well.

Caleb Humphrey and Stagg also return to a defense that could be dangerous throughout the season.

Of course, a highlight of the season will come Sept. 28, when Desert Vista hosts its crosstown rival in the Tukee Bowl.

Last year’s Tukee Bowl saw seniors on both sides scoring all 43 points of a 27-16 Mountain Pointe win.

Rashie Hodge Jr. and Antwaun Woodberry combined for three touchdowns on the ground while Noah Grover found Isaiah Pola-mao through the air for the only passing touchdown of the game.

For Desert Vista, Lelon Dillard found the end zone on the ground and senior kicker Riley Erickson put two field goals and an extra point through the uprights.

Both Ahwatukee teams always provide exciting matchups for the bowl game.


“Everything about it, you have this community two schools in it, the kids know each other,” Hinds said. “It’s just fun to be a part of.”

 

 

Churchwell Ready To Be A Leader On “Angry” Pride

The Mountain Pointe Pride are known for their punishing defense, and they were among the best in 2016 with Isaiah Pola-Mao leading the way. Pola-Mao is now at USC, but the other Pride safety from that defense, Kenny Churchwell, is hoping to pick up where the MP defense left off.

“(Pola-Mao) helped me as a player and a coach,” Churchwell said. “He helped me change my attitude because I was hot-headed.  I can’t lie – I was hot-headed. I turned into a calm, patient, ready to hit somebody…take all my energy off that. He taught me a lot, and I’m ready to show it to the next person at Mountain Pointe.” 

Churchwell said his chemistry with Pola-Mao made it so they always knew where the other one was on the field without having to say a word. It was a special bond, and he sees something similar being formed with senior defensive back/slot receiver Delano Salgado.

Churchwell is also channelling former Mountain Pointe running back/linebacker Rashie Hodge Jr. as a leader and sees a strong senior group ready to lead the Pride.

“I’m trying to be the best, one of the best, to ever come out of Mountain Pointe,” Churchwell said. “It’s not just me as a leader, we have Delano Salgado, we’ve got (quarterback) Nick Wallerstedt,..We have a lot of people and a lot of weapons. We are ready for the season.”

Recruiting-wise, the Mountain Pointe safety holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Utah, Washington State,  Wyoming, Boise State, Colorado State and Hawaii.

The Pride are hungrier than ever after making an appearance in the 6A state championship game last year but falling to the Chandler Wolves. The group is laser-focused and return plenty of aforementioned talent as well as running back Gary Bragg, who’s season ended after an ACL injury five games into the season. 

“We changed mentally and physically. We’re tired of getting second place, we’re tired of getting close to the championship and not winning it,” Churchwell said.  “We’re angry. We’re ready to play. We’re all tired, and we’re going to step up as leaders – me, Nick, Delano, (defensive back Marshawn Gibson). We’re going to step up as a team, and we’re going to win. I promise.”

Mountain Pointe begins their 2017 season on Friday at Sandra Day O’Connor. 

Pride Without Another Star?

azcentral’s Richard Obert reported that the Pride will be without Isaiah’s younger brother, junior defensive tackle Matthew Pola-Mao after an “undisclosed injury.” Pola-Mao had 52 tackles and six tackles for loss last year as a sophomore and led a dominant defensive line with Shomari Hayes.

 

Ralph Amsden | Publisher  |  3 Feb 2017

ArizonaVarsity.com 2018 Early Prospect and Player Rankings

With 2017’s signing day in the books, here’s the earliest version of ArizonaVarsity’s 2018 prospect and player rankings. Our rankings will differ from Rivals official list, and will be updated and expanded on every month for the next year, until Signing Day 2018. This is the only version of the list that won’t be premium content, so make sure and subscribe to ArizonaVarsity so you don’t miss out on future content.

Important to remember- prospect rankings and player rankings are different. Prospects rankings involve athletes projected to be in-demand college recruits. Player rankings project and react to on-field performance at the high school level. Send any feedback to azhsfootball@gmail.com

Arizona Varsity 2018 Prospect Rankings
Rank Player/Position/School
1 Solomon Enis (WR) North Canyon
2 Kenny Churchwell (DB) Mountain Pointe
3 Joey Ramos (OL) Deer Valley
4 Jamarye Joiner (ATH) Cienega
5 Gunner Romney (WR) Chandler
6 Josiah Bradley (ATH) Saguaro
7 Max Wilhite (OL) Desert Edge
8 James Stagg (TE) Desert Vista
9 Jawhar Jordan (ATH) Hamilton
10 Jarick Caldwell (WR) Chandler
11 Sean Andersen (OL) Verrado
12 Jack Plummer (QB) Gilbert
13 Mike Rogers (ATH) Cesar Chavez
14 Ralph Frias (OL) Safford
15 Alijah Gammage (DB) Desert Vista
16 Brock Purdy (QB) Perry
17 Max Massingale (QB) Saguaro
18 Slater Zellers (LS) Notre Dame Prep
19 Shomari Hayes (DL) Mountain Pointe
20 Donjae Logan (DB) Desert Ridge
21 Jayden Lee (OL) Campo Verde
22 Giovanni Miranda (WR) Saguaro
23 Lance Lawson (ATH) Red Mountain
24 Brayden Flynn (DL) Hamilton
25 Tyson Jones (OL) Desert Edge
26 Tyler Shough (QB) Hamilton
27 Ja’Tai Jenkins (ATH) Verrado
28 Malik Clark (DL) Moon Valley
29 Keishaud White (ATH) Desert Vista
30 Chris Manoa (DL) Chandler
31 Josiah Bailey (ATH) Kellis
32 Hunter Mayginnes (OL) Hamilton
33 Robert Jordan (DL) Mesquite
34 Draycen Hall (RB) Higley
35 Gary Bragg (RB) Mountain Pointe
36 Damaria Norris (RB) Cactus
37 Tristen D’Angelo (WR) Boulder Creek
38 Ezekiel Robbins (DB) Hamilton
39 Bryce Jackson (DB) Chandler
40 Kaleb Seumanutafa (ATH) Apollo
41 James Reed (TE) Boulder Creek
42 Austin Young (OL) Desert Edge
43 Aidan Diggs (ATH) Millennium
44 Cade Matthews (LB) Higley
45 Treyvon Williams (DB) Desert Edge
46 Dakota Haynes (LB) Pusch Ridge
47 Cash Peterman (K) Chandler
48 Jared Wood (QB) Florence
49 Cole Fisher (RB) Notre Dame Prep
50 Austin Duffy (QB) Red Mountain
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- QB
Rank Player/School
1 Brock Purdy- Perry
2 Max Massingale- Saguaro
3 Jamarye Joiner- Cienega
4 Jared Wood- Florence
5 Tyler Shough- Hamilton
6 Mahal Lee- Cactus
7 Nate Dobson- Peoria
8 Jack Plummer- Gilbert
9 Austin Duffy- Red Mountain
10 Andrew Young- Cactus Shadows
11 Ruben Beltran III- Centennial
12 Ernie Peña- Millennium
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- RB
Rank Player/School
1 Draycen Hall- Higley
2 Lance Lawson- Red Mountain
3 Damaria Norris- Cactus
4 Mike Rogers- Cesar Chavez
5 Jawhar Jordan- Hamilton
6 Sekou Tyler- Paradise Honors
7 Gary Bragg- Mountain Pointe
8 Cole Fisher- Notre Dame Prep
9 Tyrese Allen- Desert Ridge
10 Troy Ferestad- Bisbee
11 Nolan Susel- Florence
12 Kris Jackson- Mesa
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- WR
Rank Player/School
1 Gunner Romney- Chandler
2 Solomon Enis- North Canyon
3 Cameron Gardner- Casa Grande
4 Josiah Bailey- Kellis
5 Tristen D’Angelo- Boulder Creek
6 Jacob Kaites- Scottsdale Christian
7 Jarick Caldwell- Chandler
8 Bujon Boyd- American Leadership (QC)
9 Joshua Walker- Desert Mountain
10 Keishaud White- Desert Vista
11 Xavier Watkins- Paradise Valley
12 Jake White- Desert Vista
 
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- TE
Rank Player/School
1 James Stagg- Desert Vista
2 James Reed- Boulder Creek
3 Shamon Salway- Window Rock
4 Tate Speaker- Perry
5 Mario Meza- Douglas
6 Edmond Ashton- Lee Williams
7 Carter White- Poston Butte
8 Jesse Bravin- River Valley
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- OL
Rank Player/School
1 Joey Ramos- Deer Valley
2 Max Wilhite- Desert Edge
3 Tyson Jones- Desert Edge
4 Mason Honne- Mountain Pointe
5 Jayden Lee- Campo Verde
6 Hunter Mayginnes- Hamilton
7 Austin Young- Desert Edge
8 Xavier Robinson- Deer Valley
9 Ralph Frias- Safford
10 Jozia Myers- Campo Verde
11 Jaden Hoyt- Northwest Christian
12 Javier Meza- Cesar Chavez
13 Jose Lopez- Salpointe
14 Tristan Rael- Chandler
15 Zach Neff- Perry
16 David Watson- Amphitheatre
17 Justin Segura- Horizon
18 Kaleb Seumanutafa- Apollo
19 Trevor Renfro- Centennial
20 Sean Benke- Mountain View (Marana)
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- DL
Rank Player/School
1 Brayden Flynn- Hamilton
2 Shomari Hayes- Mountain Pointe
3 Chris Manoa- Chandler
4 Brayden Smith- Ironwood Ridge
5 Kaleb Seumanutafa- Apollo
6 Robert Jordan- Mesquite
7 Raymond Cruz- Dysart
8 Dylan Gabbard- Show Low
9 Scott Jones- Cactus
10 Kyle White- Notre Dame Prep
11 Brandon Myree- Basha
12 Khalif Ravenell- Mountain Pointe
13 Ryan Salmon- Scottsdale Christian
14 Jared Mix- Mountain View (Mesa)
15 Jobiin Sweat- Perry
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- LB
Rank Player/School
1 Cade Matthews- Higley
2 Dakota Haynes- Pusch Ridge
3 Tre O’Guinn- North Canyon
4 Vincent Elrod- Notre Dame Prep
5 Cutter Hatch- Perry
6 Jordan Ware- Centennial
7 Jakob Redford- American Leadership (QC)
8 Shelton Mathis- Florence
9 Richard Molina- Yuma Catholic
10 Dante Coleman- Queen Creek
11 Shaun’dell Hawkins- Williams Field
12 Larry Davis- Desert Vista
13 Isaiah Joya- Yuma
14 Fabian Suniga- Shadow Ridge
15 Sebastian Bautista- Veritas Prep
16 Kevin Altmaier- Greenway
17 Jacob Olsen- Mountain Pointe
18 Tate Stevens- Highland
19 Shane Kratzer- Paradise Honors
20 Anthony Madril- Salpointe
21 Fernando Becerra- Carl Hayden
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- DB
Rank Player/School
1 Kenny Churchwell- Mountain Pointe
2 Alijah Gammage- Desert Vista
3 Josiah Bradley- Saguaro
4 Bryce Jackson- Chandler
5 Donjae Logan- Desert Ridge
6 Dylan Stevenson- Pinnacle
7 Solomon Enis- North Canyon
8 Sekou Tyler- Paradise Honors
9 Rodney Rogers II- Cienega
10 Devon Waite- Mountain View (Mesa)
11 Aaron Turrey- Sunnyslope
12 Elijah Neal- Peoria
13 Andrew Smith- Marana
14 Ricky Manning- Notre Dame Prep
15 Bradyn Brown- Pima
16 Bobby Carlon- Moon Valley
17 Daniel Frampton- Phoenix Christian
18 Jake White- Desert Vista
19 Treyvon Williams- Desert Edge
20 Derick Bush- Salpointe
21 Donte Lindsey- Mountain Pointe
22 Trent Campbell- Estrella Foothills
23 Jose Escalera- Central
Arizona Varsity 2018 Player Rankings- Specialist
Rank Player/School
1 Slater Zellers- Notre Dame Prep
2 Cash Peterman- Chandler
3 Jacori Wooten- Queen Creek
4 Patrick McInerney- Saguaro
5 Matt Brock- Mesquite

 

Mountain Pointe’s Isaiah Pola-Mao attempts a diving catch agaisnt Pinnacle.  Photo by Kristin Grover, Special to Tribune

MP’s Pola-Mao named Central Region MVP

Posted: Monday, November 21, 2016 12:25 pm  |   By Jason P. Skoda, Prep Sports Director

The 6A Central Region selected its all region team.

Mountain Pointe’s Isaiah Pola-Mao was named MVP for this play at wide receiver and safety.

Desert Vista quarterback Nick Thomas was named Offensive MVP and Desert Vista linebacker Lelon Dillard was named Defensive MVP.

Here is a look at the full team:

6A Conference All-Central Region

MVP: Isaiah Pola-Mao, Mountain Pointe

Offensive MVP: Nick Thomas, Desert Vista

Defensive MVP: Lelon Dillard, Desert Vista

Offense

RB

First team

Rashie Hodge Mt. Pointe

Cameron Brice Corona Del Sol

Tyrese Allen Desert Ridge

Second team

Delano Salgado Mountain Pointe

Kohner Cullimore Highland

Gary Bragg Mountain Pointe

QB

First team

Jack Plummer Gilbert

Offensive Line

First team

Eddie Rivas Mountain Pointe

Myles Wilson Desert Vista

Rudy Rauls Mountain Pointe

Uriah Medder Corona Del Sol

Mason Honne Mountain Pointe

Second team

Mckenzie Potterf Desert Vista

Dallin Clement Highland

Matt Fick Corona Del Sol

Nick Omitt Desert Ridge

Ian Baxter Desert Ridge

WR

First team

Keishaud White Desert Vista

David Morales Gilbert

Jake White Desert Vista

Second team

Jared Zimmerman Highland

Dawson Tanner Gilbert

Ricky Pearsall Corona Del Sol

TE

First team

James Stagg Desert Vista

Second team

Garrison Turcotte Gilbert

Defense

Secondary

First team

Antwaun Woodberry Mountain Pointe

Kenny Churchwell Mountain Pointe

Steven Gomez Desert Ridge

Donjae Logan Desert Ridge

Second team

Alijah Gammage Desert Vista

Corvan Otanez Gilbert

Caleb Humphrey Desert Vista

Brad Beaver Desert Ridge

Interior Line

First team

Ashton Dana Highland

Dylan Conner Corona Del Sol

Matthew Pola-Mao Mountain Pointe

Shomari Hayes Mountain Pointe

Second team

Christian Medeiros Desert Ridge

Noah Evan Highland

Garrett Fulton Gilbert

Brett Johnson Desert Vista

End

First team

Jalen Harris Desert Ridge

Khalif Ravenell Mountain Pointe

Second team

Trey Bussler Corona Del Sol

Dylan Bryan Gilbert

Linebacker

First team

Christian Allen Desert Ridge

Chad Porter Desert Vista

Jacob Clemens Corona Del Sol

Second team

Xaiver Cota Mountain Pointe

Michael Washington Mountain Pointe

Tate Stevens Highland

Kicker

First team

Riley Erickson Desert Vista

Second team

Tony Decozio Desert Ridge

Punter

First team

Kaden Riforgiate Corona Del So

Second team

Austin Mcnamara Highland

Returner

First team

Jaydon Brooks Mountain Pointe

Second team

Connor McKernan Gilbert

Long Snapper

First team

Adam Bay Desert Ridge

Second team

Conor Egan Desert Vista

Honorable Mentions

Desert Vista

Tristin Flores, OL

Joe Money, TE

Larry Davis, LB

Nick Lopez, OL

Jared Ostendorp, OL

Highland

Sean McCord DB

Braiden Williams DL

Jake Ohara

Hunter Short DB

Jacob Wood LB

Jalen Johnson DB

Tyler Johnson DL

David Fabok DL

Noah Newburgh DB

Danial Castillo WR

Tyler Johnson WR

Jacob Wood RB

Brydon Horne RB

Connor Williams OL

Davis Brown OL

Cody Bartz OL

Jake Kersting QB

Riley Bond OL

Mountain Pointe

Noah Grover Qb

Sky Hinojosa WR

Justice Hudson OL

Alex Vogel OL

Marshawn Gibson DB

Donte Lindsey DB

Jacob Olsen LB

Daniel Pena DT

Dakota Fey P

Gilbert

Garrison Turcotte LB

Tyler Turcotte OL

Garrett Fulton OL

DJ Ruhl DB

Corona Del Sol

Griffin Baker TE

Alex Purcell C

Kaden Riforgiate LB

Jason Staples DE

Brian McCluskey DB

Kobee Marion DB

Desert Ridge

Kylar Day

Khris Broom

Tyler Mcleve

Jason Harris

Connor Goetz

Robert Mancha

Keishaud White #5 of Desert Vista is guarded by linebacker Rashie Hodge #7 of Mountain Pointe during the second half of the 20th annual Tukee Bowl high school football game between Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe at Mountain Pointe High School on Friday, September 30, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. [Billy Hardiman/Special to Tribune]

Playoff preview: Mountain Pointe, Desert Vista prepare for first round of 6A playoffs

Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 9:26 am | Updated: 9:53 am, Wed Nov 2, 2016.

The expiration clock has started on the 2016 football season.

There are no more games guaranteed at this point. The prospect of the end can sometimes play havoc with players, especially seniors, as they try too hard to extend their careers as long as possible.

Or the idea of turning in their helmet and shoulder pads after they clear out their lockers can inspire them to play at an even higher level to savor every moment because for many, it is the last time they will play the game.

Whatever effect the sudden-death aspect of the playoffs might have on area teams is about to play out, starting with Friday’s kickoffs.

Top-seeded Mountain Pointe (10-0) hosts No. 16 Cesar Chavez (6-4) while No. 10 Desert Vista (6-4) travels to No. 7 Mountain View (7-3).

Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe are on opposite sides of the bracket, so the 21st Ahwatukee Bowl can only happen if both teams make the state title game on Nov. 26 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Before any of that can happen, the first week of the postseason awaits.

The top game in all of 6A Conference just might be Desert Vista at Mountain View.

Both teams come in hot with four-game streaks intact and confidence as high has it has been all year long.

Thunder learn from mistakes

The Toros, who are coached by Ohio transplant Mike Fell, opened the year 3-0, then lost three when some injuries along the line took its toll.

They finished with four straight wins, including a 42-35 win over Red Mountain to get it all started right after what was the low point of the season—a 30-0 loss to Skyline to open East Valley Region play.

The Thunder also lost to Skyline in a much closer game, 27-21, when it had a chance to win at the last second, but a fumble inside the Skyline 10-yard line ended comeback hopes.

It’s the kind of mistakes Desert Vista made early in the year, but has cleaned up down the stretch.

“Early in the years we were beating ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot, against the good teams,” Desert Vista quarterback Nick Thomas said. “We started practicing better and pay more attention to details, and it all came together.”

Thunder coach Dan Hinds, who is in 12th playoff in 15 years of coaching the program, feels confident the team will be ready for the Toros.

“These guys believe in each other and that’s just important as the game plan,” said Hinds, who has led the programs to two state title appearances (2007 and 2011) and one title.

“We’ve preached brotherhood since we left for team camp, and it really paid off when this team could have been down and out,” Hinds added. “Instead, they stuck together and fought through some to get to this point.”

The teams have met seven times since 2004 with the Toros holding a 4-3 advantage, but the Thunder have won three in a row including last year’s 61-43 victory.

Pride has big advantage

The Mountain Pointe and Chavez series is a little more one-sided.

The Pride are 4-0 against Chavez since 2004 with the last meeting coming in 2014, a 48-6 win for the Pride at Chavez.

Chavez finished No. 19 in the power rankings but earned the 16th and final spot as the Metro Region champion.

“They have some really good players,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “They have a really big running. He’s the size of NFL back. If he gets a head of steam, he is tough to bring down.”

Mike Rogers is listed at 6-foot-4 and 243 pounds. The preeminent big back in the NFL is LaGarrett Blount and he is 6-foot and 250.

Rogers has rushed for 1,855 yards with 22 touchdowns with 1,510 yards, and 20 of those scores came in the final six weeks against other Metro Region opponents.

But he’ll be up against one of the best defenses in the state.

Mountain Pointe has three shutouts this season, and two other games where the opposition has scored a touchdown or less. For the season, opponents have scored an average of 11.1 points a game with some of that coming against subs.

While the identity of the offense has changed since injuries took away top running back Gary Bragg and quarterback Noah Grover, the defense has accepted the challenge of having the outcome dictated by its level of play.

“The coaches told us it was up to us to get the job done,” junior safety Kenny Churchwell. “We have to stop them, and get the ball back to the offense and we to score when we get a turnover.”

The offense opened up in the season-finale win over Gilbert as sophomore quarterback Nick Wallerstedt had his best game of his three starts.

Mountain Pointe senior Rashie Hodge Jr., who has averaged 122.2 yards a game over the second half of the season, continues to break off big runs and grind out games.

Wallerstedt was 10 of 15 for 180 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had four rushes for 78 yards, including a 37-yard score in the fourth quarter against Gilbert.

“He’s getting more comfortable and we opened it up for him,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “There are going to be some drives and games where we are going to need him to make plays and he has shown he can do it.”

The Pride have been the consensus No. 1 ever since topping No. 2 Chandler in September. After finishing with its fourth undefeated season, making the semifinals for seventh time in eight years won’t be enough.

A championship has been the goal from the start and continues to be the big-picture goal while the team focuses on each week of the four-game playoff journey individually.

“It’s going to be tough, but they’ve showed up and played every week,” Vaughan said prior to the Gilbert game. “We feel like if we play our best game then it is going to be hard to beat us, but penalties and turnovers change a game.

“As long as we limit some of that stuff we will be in a position to win the game at the end.”

– Contact Jason Skoda at 480-898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.

– Check us out and like the Ahwatukee Foothills News on Facebook and follow @AhwatukeeFN on Twitter.

 
 

More about

More about

More about

Package deal: Pride junior cornerbacks make rotation work

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:02 pm

There were some known commodities before the season for Mountain Pointe High.

They had a stud offensive lineman in Eddie Rivas, a defensive line that the coaches could count on to win most battles and a four-star safety in Isaiah Pola-Mao.

There were plenty of others back in the fold that placed the Pride in the state title contender list before the season started.

Now, nine weeks, in there are several players heavily counted on who were not as well known in August.

The Pride (9-0) look to lock up their fourth undefeated regular season since 2009 against Gilbert (1-8) on Friday.

Three of the lesser known athletes who helped the team get there play in the defensive backfield. They comprise one of the best units in the state.

The safeties—junior playmaker Kenny Churchwell and the leader of the group in Pola-Mao—and senior shutdown cornerback Antwaun Woodberry were all part of the known categories and rank among the best at their position.

The opposite corner spot has become a rotation of juniors Marshawn Gibson, Donte Lindsey and Delano Salgado.

“We are rotating them because they’ve all shown they deserve to play,” Pride defensive back coach Gio Melendez said. “All of these guys could start at just about every team in the state.”

Gibson has been getting the starts in recent weeks, while Salgado started early on. Lindsey has seen increased playing time since becoming eligible in the sixth game of the year after transferring.

If Lindsey had been eligible from the start, the other guys might have had lesser roles this year. But in his absence, both Gibson and Salgado (who also plays some running back) have played at a high level.

Gibson’s emergence came after being moved to cornerback from safety a few weeks before the season started.

Pola-Mao and Churchwell both have major college offers, so Gibson’s best chance to play came at cornerback. When Salgado missed the Mountain View game, Gibson was inserted into the starting lineup.

“It just proves you always have to be ready,” Gibson said. “I wasn’t even a cornerback, or in the rotation to start the year. I kind of didn’t want to do it at first just because I’ve always played safety. I started to get a feel for it and I have taken off.”

Salgado and Lindsey still get plenty of time, and there is even the “Cheetah” defensive package, when all six defensive backs are on the field at the same time.

“We’ve only used it a few times, but there isn’t a drop off no matter who we put out there,” Melendez said. “We know they are going to be in position to make the play.”

The defense as a whole affect the opponent’s passing game, but the defensive backs have to lock up the receivers to make sure the work of the defensive line and linebackers pays off.

The Pride’s opposition has passed for less than 100 yards in six of the nine games and the quarterbacks are only completing 46 percent (97 of 211 for 898 yards) and have thrown 11 interceptions.

“There is a lot that goes into it,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “There is scheme, technique and the defensive pressure. We don’t blitz a lot, but when we do we know our back end is going to hold up. We can tell them what to do, but they still have to make the plays and they usually do.”

When Lindsey was sitting out the first five games, he played wide receiver on the scout team.

“The competition is crazy,” Lindsey said. “It’s tough to get separation. It makes all of us better.”

The unit has their own games within the game. They battle to see who gets the most tackles and interceptions. They are always competing, pushing themselves to be better and stymieing the team in front of them.

“We know how good we can be when are playing at high level,” said Churchwell, who won a scholarship from the University of Arizona this week. “The competitions keep us focused, and makes us stronger because we are always trying to outdo each other.”

 
 

More about

More about

More about

Package deal: Pride junior cornerbacks make rotation work

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:02 pm

There were some known commodities before the season for Mountain Pointe High.

They had a stud offensive lineman in Eddie Rivas, a defensive line that the coaches could count on to win most battles and a four-star safety in Isaiah Pola-Mao.

There were plenty of others back in the fold that placed the Pride in the state title contender list before the season started.

Now, nine weeks, in there are several players heavily counted on who were not as well known in August.

The Pride (9-0) look to lock up their fourth undefeated regular season since 2009 against Gilbert (1-8) on Friday.

Three of the lesser known athletes who helped the team get there play in the defensive backfield. They comprise one of the best units in the state.

The safeties—junior playmaker Kenny Churchwell and the leader of the group in Pola-Mao—and senior shutdown cornerback Antwaun Woodberry were all part of the known categories and rank among the best at their position.

The opposite corner spot has become a rotation of juniors Marshawn Gibson, Donte Lindsey and Delano Salgado.

“We are rotating them because they’ve all shown they deserve to play,” Pride defensive back coach Gio Melendez said. “All of these guys could start at just about every team in the state.”

Gibson has been getting the starts in recent weeks, while Salgado started early on. Lindsey has seen increased playing time since becoming eligible in the sixth game of the year after transferring.

If Lindsey had been eligible from the start, the other guys might have had lesser roles this year. But in his absence, both Gibson and Salgado (who also plays some running back) have played at a high level.

Gibson’s emergence came after being moved to cornerback from safety a few weeks before the season started.

Pola-Mao and Churchwell both have major college offers, so Gibson’s best chance to play came at cornerback. When Salgado missed the Mountain View game, Gibson was inserted into the starting lineup.

“It just proves you always have to be ready,” Gibson said. “I wasn’t even a cornerback, or in the rotation to start the year. I kind of didn’t want to do it at first just because I’ve always played safety. I started to get a feel for it and I have taken off.”

Salgado and Lindsey still get plenty of time, and there is even the “Cheetah” defensive package, when all six defensive backs are on the field at the same time.

“We’ve only used it a few times, but there isn’t a drop off no matter who we put out there,” Melendez said. “We know they are going to be in position to make the play.”

The defense as a whole affect the opponent’s passing game, but the defensive backs have to lock up the receivers to make sure the work of the defensive line and linebackers pays off.

The Pride’s opposition has passed for less than 100 yards in six of the nine games and the quarterbacks are only completing 46 percent (97 of 211 for 898 yards) and have thrown 11 interceptions.

“There is a lot that goes into it,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “There is scheme, technique and the defensive pressure. We don’t blitz a lot, but when we do we know our back end is going to hold up. We can tell them what to do, but they still have to make the plays and they usually do.”

When Lindsey was sitting out the first five games, he played wide receiver on the scout team.

“The competition is crazy,” Lindsey said. “It’s tough to get separation. It makes all of us better.”

The unit has their own games within the game. They battle to see who gets the most tackles and interceptions. They are always competing, pushing themselves to be better and stymieing the team in front of them.

“We know how good we can be when are playing at high level,” said Churchwell, who won a scholarship from the University of Arizona this week. “The competitions keep us focused, and makes us stronger because we are always trying to outdo each other.”

 
 

More about

More about

More about

azpreps365
Les Willsey
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

MORE FROM LES WILLSEY

 

FOOTBALL: MTN. POINTE STAYS PERFECT WITH 27-13 WIN OVER DESERT RIDGE

 

It was Rashie Hodge’s night on Friday to carry a heavy load for top-ranked and unbeaten Mountain Pointe and the senior linebacker-running back was up to the challenge.

Hodge carried 23 times for 203 yards (unofficially) and scored all four of the Pride’s touchdowns in a 27-13 triumph over Desert Ridge in the 6A matchup of the week in the Valley.

Mountain Pointe (8-0 overall, 3-0 region) essentially wrapped up the Central Region title with the victory. It prevailled thanks to a dominating first period that saw the Pride outscore Desert Ridge 20-0 the first 12 minutes. Three of Hodge’s four TDs were tallied in the opening period. Mountain Pointe ran the ball exclusiively in the opening quarter and rushed for 152 yards on scoring drives of 56, 70 and 32 yards.

Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan decided to distribute more carries to Hodge in the wake of losing leading rusher Gary Bragg a couple weeks ago. Until Friday night it was backfield by committee among Anthony Stephens, Hodge, Antwaun Woodberry and Delano Salgado. Hodge doubled the carries of the any of the others and posted a consistent effort across all four quarters.

The outcome figured to hinge on the better rushing attack and Mountain Pointe demonstrated its superiority most of the night and particulalrly the first half. The Pride outrushed Desert Ridge 205-42 in the first half. They also converted the only turnover of the opening half — a Kenny Churchwell interception — into a touchdown. The pick halted Desert Ridge’s march into Mountain Pointe territory and instead turned a 7-0 lead to a 13-0 advantage midway through the quarter.

Hodge’s TD’s were in the first period were on runs of 24-, 3-and 11 yards — the latter with 2:07 left in the period. Meanwhile Desert Ridge’s 1,000-yard rusher Tyrese Allen was bottled up to the tune of 23 yards on eight rushes the first half. Allen churned for bigger chunks iof yards in the second half. He finished with 87 yards in 23 attempts.

Desert Ridge trailed 20-3 at the half and pulled within 20-6 after Antonio Decozio’s second field goal (39 yards and 26 yards). But Mountain Pointe spoiled any chance of a comeback marching 68 yards to open the final period, capped by Hodge’s 4-yeard TD run. with 8:46 to play.

Desert Ridge scored its lone TD on a 14-yard pass from CJ Fowler to Jalen Harris with 34 seconds left  Before that drive Desert Ridge was 3-of-21 passing for 3 yards. Fowler, who played most of the second half at quarterback in relief of freshman Matt Purnell, completed  6-of-6 passes for 80 yards on the scoring drive.