Way back in 2009 when Mountain Pointe made the semifinals for the second time in school history it was a huge accomplishment.
It has since become an annual event for the Pride football program.
That doesn’t mean this year’s appearance, the seventh time in eight years, is any less appreciated. It just means Mountain Pointe has a chance to further the program and that this game is never the end goal.
“We have a good thing going,” associate head coach/co-offensive coordinator Eric Lauer said. “We have a coaching staff that gets it done. We have kids that know what it means to play for Mountain Pointe and rise to that level. The foundation is pretty strong because every team leaves something behind and expectations are high.
“The kids know we expect to be right here where we are right now.”
The top-seeded Pride (12-0) takes on No. 13 Red Mountain (8-4) at McClintock on Friday in the 6A Conference semifinals.
This year’s senior class remembers all to well the vision of the last year’s group shuffling toward the team bus parked on the south side of the Desert Vista campus after falling 31-21 to eventual champion Centennial.
Heads were down, helmets were left on to hide the reddened eyes, and hugs with consoling family members seemingly lingered longer than halftime of the Pride’s final game of the 2015 campaign.
The end of a season, especially for seniors wearing the maroon and gold for the last time, is never easy to accept.
“We were crying before it was even over,” Pride senior offensive lineman Justice Hudson said. “We thought we were going back, but it didn’t happen and now we get our chance to make sure it doesn’t happen like that again.”
For most programs a state semifinal berth is seen as widely successful season.
Not at Mountain Pointe.
A loss in the semifinals as the Pride have been dealt after making the title game in 2012 and the championship year of 2013 means they didn’t further the program in their minds. They held serve, met the standard but did not get back to the championship game.
“I was a just a sophomore and I remember thinking I’m never losing that game again,” junior defensive end Khalif Ravenell said. “Here we are back in this game, and I think we’ve positioned ourselves to win it all, honestly, but we have to go out and do it.”
It won’t come easy against the Mountains Lions after putting together a pretty good hot streak.
Red Mountain has won four of five including wins over No. 4 Skyline and No. 5 Brophy in the postseason.
The offense is led by all-purpose junior Lance Lawson, who has played quarterback, running back and slot receiver, as he has totaled 2,260 yards and 28 total (25 scored, 3 thrown) touchdowns.
“He’s special and runs with a purpose,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan. “He is going to be a challenge to stop. He plays a little of everything and they have good quarterback (Austin Duffy). They’re a good team that’s playing well. Anybody in the final four is good.”
The defense, which is lead by senior defensive end Andrew Brown, has 32 sacks, 66 tackles for a loss and 13 interceptions, has the task of slowing the Pride offense, which averages 471.6 yards a game through 11 games, including 317.3 on the ground.
The Pride offense may get senior quarterback Noah Grover back from a broken leg, but sophomore Nick Wallerstedt has done everything that’s been asked of him if Grover has to stay on the sidelines.
No matter who is behind center Mountain Pointe has a chance to make its third state title game in five seasons. Everyone in the program is hoping to adjust Thanksgiving plans around a week of football practice.
“It’s quite an accomplishment,” said Vaughan, who has made the semifinals in 11 of his 12 years of coaching in Arizona. “It is more about the process than it is the result. The process takes the pressure off and the result should be good.
“It’s a game of moments and hopefully you have more moments than the other team.”
Handing an undefeated team its first loss is tough enough, but beating them when their defense scores four touchdowns? That’s pretty much impossible.
That’s what Desert Ridge (Mesa, Ariz.) found out Thursday against No. 9 Mountain Pointe (Phoenix) in their 6A Conference playoff quarterfinal matchup. Mountain Pointe rang up three interception returns for touchdowns to go with a fumble return for a score in the midst of playing generally lock-down defense, all of which led to a 47-21 win in Phoenix.
“Since I’ve been coaching, I’ve never seen four turnovers for touchdowns,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said. “I had yet to see that happen.”
Mountain Pointe’s defensive effort was most pronounced in the first half, when Mountain Pointe built a 27-6 lead going into the locker room. Isaiah Pola-Mao led the way when he scored two second-quarter touchdowns on pick-six plays on consecutive Desert Ridge drives.
“I saw the opportunity to (get those interceptions) and I just took a hold of it,” Pola-Mao said.
Pola-Mao’s scores blew open what was a close game through the first quarter and a half. With Mountain Pointe holding a 14-3 lead, Pola-Mao gathered in a Desert Ridge pass that ricocheted off the intended receiver’s shoulder pad and returned the ball 20 yards for a touchdown.
Five plays later, as Desert Ridge tried to convert a fourth down near midfield, Pola-Mao stepped in front of a slant pass and went 56 yards the other way for another score and a 27-3 Mountain Pointe edge.
Desert Ridge would get no closer than 19 points the rest of the way.
“We had something to prove coming out. Everybody’s been saying they could play with us, and we took that to heart,” Pola-Mao said. “We came out and proved a point.”
Pola-Mao’s two scores were bookended by two other Mountain Pointe defensive touchdowns. Khalif Ravenell set the tone for Mountain Pointe’s defensive effort in the first quarter when he stripped the ball from a Desert Ridge running back and returned the fumble 19 yards the other way for the game’s opening points. Antwaun Woodberry capped the scoring in the fourth quarter when he snared an interception near the Desert Ridge sideline and raced back the other way for a touchdown.
Desert Ridge (8-4) battled throughout, and managed to cut the Mountain Pointe lead to 40-21 late in the game after freshman quarterback Matthew Purnell hit Michael Winner in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Desert Ridge then recovered an onside kick, but Mountain Pointe’s defense again clamped down and forced a Purnell incompletion on fourth down to end the threat.
Mountain Pointe, which improved to 12-0, advances to the 6A semifinals against No. 13-seeded Mesa Red Mountain at Tempe McClintock.
“We did our job here. Now, it’s on to the next week,” Pola-Mao said.
The collision was so loud and violent that someone who wasn’t watching the play develop might have thought there was a car accident at 44th St. and Knox Rd.
Instead it was just the Mountain Pointe defensive line feeding off each other in practice.
It’s been a common occurrence thus far in camp.
The Pride No. 1 defense is expected to be one of the best units in the state in 2016 and a lot of that comes from D-Line.
No one has a better view of the havoc than all-state safety Isaiah Pola-Mao as the play develops and he makes his read.
“They are going to make my job so much easier,” Pola-Mao said. “The quarterback is going to have to make quick decisions and those are not always good ones.”
The Pride has always deployed three- and four-man fronts defending on the opponent and/or situation.
No matter what the defense steps on the field the group of Shomari Hayes, Khalif Ravenell, Matthew Pola-Mao and Daniel Pena are going to be hard to handle.
All are big
The group up front this year could be one of the best under Vaughan, and there is a different look to it.
In the past the Pride has been on the smaller side up front with the likes of Charlie Trevino, Mitchell Fraboni and Dillon Goulet, but now Hayes, Pola-Mao and Pena average 6-2 ¼ and 282.7 pounds.
Hayes and Pola-Mao set the tempo of the group. They evoke a ton of energy and in the today’s vernacular are always “looking to eat.” There were times in practice – whether it was the Pride’s ones on the line or the backups that the duo were just unstoppable.
It’s just training camp, and Friday’s nights are a different level, but in the handful times we’ve witnessed spring and training camp this group has been devastating.
Don’t be surprised if there are quite a few collisions once the season kicks off.
College scouts walking around Lovett Field at Mountain Pointe High School over the last three weeks for spring football practice probably had similar feelings as someone hitting up an all-you-can-eat buffet.
You just don’t know where to start.
It should be a salad, but the eyes are drawn to the carving station and dessert table.
And the Pride has a lot of beef up front and sweet delights at the skill positions.
“We’ve had all of the top programs come through,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “It’s been that way the last few years.”
Mountain Pointe will be back in the mix next season in the newly named 6A Conference as the Pride continues its drive toward being the top program in the state.
Over the last four seasons, the Pride has made two state title games, lost in the semifinals twice, won its first state title and have the best record — 48-6 — among top big-school programs, including Saguaro and Centennial, over that time span.
Last year was a true indicator of where the program stands as very few starters returned, and there were plenty of new faces that took over important starting roles and the team rolled off 12 straight wins before falling in the state semifinals.
“No one knew who we were last year,” said senior-to-be Eddie Rivas, who is moving from guard to tackle. “We never doubted it though.”
It also means that expectations fall on this team as the Pride heads into the 7-on-7 passing league portion of the offseason.
When national rankings come out Arizona could very well be represented by the Pride as they bring back several of last year’s starters.
“We won’t be sneaking up on anyone this time,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “We bring back a lot of players from a team that went undefeated (in the regular season).”
Vaughan, who begins his eighth year at Mountain Pointe, said he is anxious to see how this group of players handle expectations that pile up between now and Week 1 when they host Sandra Day O’Connor.
“I think they’ll be OK, but it is one of those things that you don’t know for sure until it happens,” he said. “By the end, we were the only undefeated team so the expectations have been there before. It’s a new team and we think we can be really good.”
It starts up front on both sides of the ball as the athletic size on the defensive front behind Shomari Hayes, Matty Pola-Mao, Daniel Pena and Khalif Ravenell.
The offensive line returns Mason Honne and Rivas on the outside at tackles and three newcomers.
They’ll be protecting a new quarterback in Noah Grover, but the senior-to-be showed the ability and had the confidence of the coaching staff to be the expected starter last season before All-Tribune quarterback Jack Smith moved in from Indiana.
“I was ready last year, but I had a chance to watch Jack do some great things,” Grover said. “I saw what he did wrong, too, and what coach Vaughan wants from his quarterback. I’m more prepared to take over now.”
The skills players — led by Jaydon Brooks, Isaiah Pola-Mao, Anthony Stephens — will be plentiful to give the Pride offense the same potential Mountain Pointe has had in the past.
“(Grover) was our guy,” Vaughan said. “We were confident he was going to be really good and now we think he will be the best quarterback in our region.”
The same can be said with the Pride as players like Antwaun Woodberry, Rashie Hodge, Xavier Cota and Kenny Churchwell take over more prominent roles with hopes of continuing or even advancing the level of success Mountain Pointe has become know for in nearly a decade of prominence.
“We didn’t do everything we wanted to last year,” Rivas said. “We’ve been working hard since the end of the season. We know what it takes and we are going to do everything we can between now and the start of the season.”
At Mountain Pointe, an undefeated regular season isn’t enough. Neither is a trip to the Division I semifinals.
For coach Norris Vaughan and the Pride, the only thing left to accomplish is winning it all. Again.
“Last few years you look at the top teams, Mountain Pointe’s the winningest team in the state over the last four years,” Vaughan told Sports360az.com. “And the last seven years we’ve been in the semifinals at least 6 times. The last four years we’ve been in the semis all four years and the finals twice, winning one in 2013, and going second in 2012. So we’re 48-6. We’ve won more games and lost less games than anyone in the state in Division I.”
It’s not going to be an easy road to the Promised Land for the Pride, but it wasn’t easy making it as far as they did last year either.
“Last year we had a young team,” Vaughan said. “Only four returning starters from the previous year. This year, we’ve got about 13, so we’re going to have to be pretty good. But we lost our quarterback, we lost our top tailback, who led the state in rushing, and we lost a couple of linebackers.”
As spring football begins, Mountain Pointe will key in on some of its strengths to replace what it lost.
Defense: Mountain Pointe’s defense is stacked, and nowhere more thoroughly than at defensive back, where two-way star Isaiah Pola-Mao returns to wreak havoc on opposing wideouts.
“He’s got eight Division I offers and he’ll probably add seven or eight more I’d assume,” Vaughan said. “Good student, been offered by UA, ASU, Washington, Oregon State, Nebraska, a whole bunch. I’m pretty sure UCLA, USC, Oregon. Very good player, 6-4, 190-plus. He ran a 4.5 40 at the LA combine. He’s very fast, he’s tall. He’s running track now, and long-jumping almost 21 feet, ran like an 11.4 400 meters the other day, and this is his first year running track.”
Isaiah had four picks and nearly 100 tackles as a junior. He also played wide receiver, catching 435 yards of receptions with five touchdowns.
But then, in the center of the defense, there’s the other Pola-Mao on the roster: Isaiah’s brother Matthew.
“His brother started for us this year as a freshman as a nose tackle,” Vaughan said. “He’s currently 6-2, 300, benches 300 pounds, also has an offer from Oregon State as a freshman. Two totally different body types, but another great kid, and he’s going to be a great player.”
Occupying the other side of the field from the elder Pola-Mao will be Antwaun Woodberry.
“He’s a cornerback that’s going to be a Division I player,” Vaughan said. “Also at least a 4.4 40. Very good player, who might play some offense but is primarily defense.”
Another two-way player, Rashie Hodge, looks to improve on a great 2015.
“Outside linebacker who we’ll also play at running back,” Vaughan said. “6-foot, 190 pounds, runs a 4.6. All-State-type player. Great player, all-region last year, first team on defense.
“I’ve got a kid named Khalif Ravenell, he’s a sophomore, about 6-1, 225, and he’s got a chance to be a Division-I player.”
All in all, Vaughan is thrilled about his defensive returners.
“Also two defensive linemen, one defensive end and an outside linebacker returning,” Vaughan said. “We have eight returners on defense. Last year we had a young defense but we also had a lot of injuries on defense.”
Quarterback: It’s tough replacing a guy like Jack Smith, the 63-percent, 15/4 touchdown/interception, 2005-yard passer from last season who flipped his commitment from NAU to ASU in February to play safety with the Devils.
But that’s what Vaughan is tasked with doing, and he’s confident in the young man he’s got coming up next, Noah Grover.
“He’ll be a first-year starter as a senior,” Vaughan said. “He’s got some division II offers already. Got a 4.0-plus GPA. Very good passer. So I think our quarterback situation will be in good hands.”
Offensive line: There’s nothing better than consistency on the O-line, and Vaughan’s got it this year.
“I’ve got a lineman who was just named the most valuable player at the Dallas Cowboys camp,” Vaughan said. “Mason Honne, another sophomore. All these guys started this year, now. We had five sophomores, and a freshman start this year. Mason is about 6-1-and-a-half, 260. He played center and tackle. Very good.
“We also return another lineman, Rudy Rauls. Offensive guard, 6-foot, about 260 pounds, runs about a 4.9.”
Running back: Here’s another key position where Vaughan has to replace a star. Division I rushing leader Macarius Blount is off to Phoenix College, and his 1783 rushing yards won’t be easy to come by.
“We’ve got two tailbacks, both with great speed,” Vaughan said. “Anthony Stephens and a kid named Gary Bragg. Bragg got about 1500 yards on the JV team. Either one of those guys could be the starter, and they’ll get some relief work from Rashie Hodge.”
Football: Mountain Pointe vs Desert Vista Tukee Bowl
Mountain Pointe freshman Matthew Pola-Mao (75) and his brother, junior Isaiah Pola-Mao (9), are part of young core of players getting plenty of playing time that will make the Pride stronger in the years to follow.
Top football programs keep a certain level of success annually by sprinkling in younger players here and there.
It allows the players to get acclimated to the varsity level at a young age and get invaluable experience.
It’s a nice luxury and adds depth for years to come.
Another way of going about it, and one Mountain Pointe has had to adopt this year after being a senior-laden squad in 2014, is to throw some of those young players in there with prominent roles.
The Pride (8-0) are one of only two undefeated Division I teams heading into Friday’s home game against Highland (4-4) and are doing so with four sophomores and a freshman not only starting but playing at high levels.
“We’ve had a lot of young players in there all year,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “I don’t know if you can call them young anymore this far in the season, but their playing good, doing their job.”
There are plenty of seniors – including stars like offensive tackle Devon Howard, linebacker Daulton Rittenhouse, and Dillon Goulet – making an impact as Mountain Pointe looks to finish with its third undefeated regular season since 2009, but a good portion of the talent lies in the junior and sophomore classes.
“We have work to do this year, but we are building for next year at the same time,” junior wide receiver/safety Isaiah Pola-Mao said. “We are a pretty young team, and we are winning. These young guys are good.”
The sophomores are center Mason Honne, defensive end Khalif Ravenell, safety Kenny Churchwell, defensive lineman Shomari Hayes and the freshman is nose guard Matthew Pola-Mao.
Combine the impact they are making with juniors Eddie Rivas (offensive line), Rashie Hodge (cornerback), Jaydon Brooks (wide receiver) and the older Pola-Mao and it is clear the Pride are going to be a factor again in 2016.
Not that anyone is worried about that just yet, but the sophomore class is taking notes in order to be prepared when it is their time.
“By the time we are seniors we are probably going to be the leaders,” Honne said. “We talk about how we have to pay attention to what the seniors say, and how they go about doing things so when it is our time we know what is expected of us and what to do.”
Honne and Ravenell have started from the start, while Hayes, Pola-Mao and Churchwell have been added to the mix as the season went on out of need and development.
Pola-Mao, who will move to offensive guard next year with major college offers to come, got a shot when senior Rashad Green hurt his knee. Pola-Mao has flourished.
The coaching staff slow played Churchwell’s development knowing he was good enough athletically from the start, but wanted to make sure he was ready mentally before going with him as a starter.
He was moved to strong safety, saw time at wide receiver and has made an immediate impact, including two interceptions in the Ahwatukee Bowl.
“He brings a lot of athleticism back there, and it frees me up to do more things,” Isaiah Pola-Mao said. “(His insertion to the lineup) really made our defense stronger.”
The same can be said for all five of the youngsters as Mountain Pointe pushes for the postseason and beyond.
“We can be even better next year,” Pola-Mao continued. “We are going to bring more experience and have a lot of leaders stepping up. Everything we do the rest of the season is only going to make us better so we’re going to push it as far as we can.”
• Contact writer at 480-898-7915 or follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.
• Check us out and like Ahwatukee Foothills News on Facebook and AhwatukeeFN on Twitter
This Hosting Agreement governs your purchase and use, in any manner, of all Web site hosting, ordered by you and accepted by American Youth Services, Inc. and describes the terms and conditions that apply to such purchase and use of the Services. You AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CONTAINED HEREIN. American Youth Services, Inc. reserves the right to change or modify any of the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement at any time and from time to time in its sole discretion, and to determine whether and when any such changes apply to both existing and future customers. American Youth Services, Inc. may make changes or modifications to referenced policies and guidelines without notice to you. Your continued use of the Services following American Youth Services, Inc.' posting of any changes or modifications will constitute your acceptance of such changes or modifications.
Payment. As consideration for American Youth Services, Inc. providing the Hosting Services hereunder, Customer agrees to pay American Youth Services, Inc. the aggregate yearly fee based on the yearly hosting services and the terms selected.
Provision of Services. American Youth Services, Inc. will provide Customer with the Services ordered that are described in the Hosting Package Features elsewhere in this document. Customer understands and agrees that American Youth Services, Inc. will host and create the Web site solely in accordance with the information provided by Customer.
Rights to the Web Site and Content. With the exception of any Third-Party Materials and Background Technology as set forth in Section 4, Customer and American Youth Services, Inc. mutually own the Customer Content. "Customer Content" means all content or information (including, without limitation, any text, music, sound, photographs, video, graphics, data, or software), in any medium, provided by Customer to American Youth Services, Inc. "Third-Party Materials" means any content, software, or other computer programming material that is owned by an entity other than American Youth Services, Inc., and licensed by American Youth Services, Inc. or generally available to the public, including Customer, under published licensing terms, and that American Youth Services, Inc. will use to display or run a Web site. American Youth Services, Inc. owns the rights to the design of the web site. If a customer stops paying the yearly fee for the web site upon cancellation the customer is not entitled to use the web site or content for any purposes what so ever.
Limited License to the Background Technology. "Background Technology" means computer programming/formatting code or operating instructions developed by or for American Youth Services, Inc. and used to host or operate the Web site or a Web server in connection with a Web site. Background Technology includes, but is not limited to, any files necessary to make forms, buttons, checkboxes, and similar functions and underlying technology or components, such as style sheets, animation templates, interface programs that link multimedia and other programs, customized graphics manipulation engines, and menu utilities, whether in database form or dynamically driven. Background Technology does not include any Customer Content. Customer may not duplicate or distribute any Background Technology to any third party without the prior written consent of American Youth Services, Inc. All rights to the Background Technology not expressly granted to Customer hereunder are retained by American Youth Services, Inc. Without limiting the foregoing, Customer agrees not to reverse-engineer, reverse-assemble, decompile, or otherwise attempt to derive any source code of the Background Technology, except as allowed by law.
Limited License to Content. Customer hereby grants to American Youth Services, Inc. the limited, nonexclusive right and license to copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform, create derivative works from, modify, and otherwise use and exploit Web site, any Customer Content, or any Customer Marks provided to American Youth Services, Inc. hereunder, solely for the purpose of rendering American Youth Services, Inc’s Services under this Agreement. Such limited right and license shall extend to no other materials or for any other purpose and will terminate automatically upon termination of this Agreement for any reason.
Content Standards. Customer agrees not to provide Customer Content, and American Youth Services, Inc. will not intentionally provide to Customers any content, that (a) infringes on any third party's intellectual property or publicity/privacy rights; (b) violates any applicable law or regulation; (c) is defamatory, violent, clearly harmful, or obscene or pornographic or infringes on citizens' rights; or (d) contains any viruses, Trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancel bots, or other computer programming routines that are intended to damage or interfere with any system, data, or personal information. If Customer is international, then Customer agrees to comply with all applicable local and national laws. American Youth Services, Inc. reserves the right to refuse any other subject matter it deems inappropriate.
Support. American Youth Services, Inc. agrees to provide reasonable technical support by email to Customer during American Youth Services, Inc.'s normal technical support hours. American Youth Services, Inc. will provide customer support by telephone if the customer purchased telephonic support time.
Term and Termination. (a) This Agreement is effective as of the Effective Date and shall continue unless terminated; (b) American Youth Services, Inc. may terminate this Agreement after five (5) days' written notice to Customer if Customer materially breaches this Agreement, including, without limitation, failure to pay, and fails to cure such breach during such five (5) day period; and (c) upon the termination of this Agreement, Customer will pay American Youth Services, Inc. for all Services provided to Customer by American Youth Services, Inc. prior to termination. Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, and 12 will survive termination of this Agreement.
Warranty Disclaimer. Except as expressly provided in this Agreement, the Services are provided "as is," and American Youth Services, Inc. expressly disclaims all warranties and conditions of any kind, express, implied, or statutory, including, without limitation, the implied warranties of title, non-infringement, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. Interruption of Service: You hereby acknowledge and agree that American Youth Services, Inc. will not be liable for any temporary delay, outages or interruptions of the Services. Each party acknowledges that it has not entered into this Agreement in reliance upon any warranty or representation except those specifically set forth herein. Unless an approval process is specified herein or in a Statement, all Hosting provided by American Youth Services, Inc. to a Customer will be deemed accepted when delivered.
Indemnity. (a) Customer Indemnity. Customer will defend American Youth Services, Inc. against any third-party claim, action, suit, or proceeding alleging any breach of the covenants contained in this Agreement. Subject to Section 11, Customer shall indemnify American Youth Services, Inc. for all losses, damages, liabilities, and all reasonable expenses and costs incurred by American Youth Services, Inc. as a result of any such third-party claim, action, suit, or proceeding. (b) American Youth Services, Inc.'s Indemnity. American Youth Services, Inc. will defend Customer against any third-party claim, action, suit, or proceeding alleging any breach of the covenants contained in Section 6. Subject to Section 11, American Youth Services, Inc. shall indemnify Customer for all losses, damages, liabilities, and all reasonable expenses and costs incurred by Customer as a result of any such third-party claim, action, suit, or proceeding. (c) Mechanics of Indemnity. The indemnifying party's obligations are conditioned upon the indemnified party: (i) giving the indemnifying party prompt, written notice of any claim, action, suit, or proceeding for which the indemnified party is seeking indemnity; (ii) granting control of the defense and settlement to the indemnifying party; and (iii) reasonably cooperating with the indemnifying party at the indemnifying party's expense.
Limitation of Liability. AMERICAN YOUTH SERVICES, INC.'S LIABILITY HEREUNDER SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY CUSTOMER TO AMERICAN YOUTH SERVICES, INC. DURING THE THREE (3) MONTH PERIOD BEFORE THE ACTION AROSE. AMERICAN YOUTH SERVICES, INC. SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR (A) ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, OR INTERRUPTION OF BUSINESS OR (B) ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES OF ANY KIND (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOST PROFITS), REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OR ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF AMERICAN YOUTH SERVICES, INC. HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. CUSTOMER ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THESE LIMITATIONS ARE AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF THIS AGREEMENT, AND ABSENT SUCH LIMITATIONS, AMERICAN YOUTH SERVICES, INC. WOULD NOT ENTER INTO THIS AGREEMENT.