Phoenix Mountain Pointe hires Rich Wellbrock as next football coach - Rich Wellbrock, hired at Mountain Pointe, coached at Basha for one season... [ read more ]

Rich Wellbrock poised to become new Pride football coach - Rich Wellbrock selected as new Mountain Point High head football coach... [ read more ]

Nine years ago tonight…. - Mountain Pointe Mafia support crew: from left Alan Tripp, Mark Blom, Ellen... [ read more ]

Norris Vaughan resigns after leading Mountain Pointe through greatest football era - Mountain Pointe’s Head Coach Norris Vaughan  (Photo: David... [ read more ]

Despite semi-final loss, the Pride should be proud - Photo: Cheryl Haselhorst/AFN Contributor Despite semi-final loss, the... [ read more ]

Mountain Pointe punishes Hawks, gears up for semifinal - Photo by Cheryl Haselhorst/AFN Contributor Mountain Pointe punishes Hawks,... [ read more ]

Pride players in 247 Sports top Arizona recruits.

2018 Top Arizona Football Recruits

The list below ranks players by 247Sports Composite Rating

Last updated on 10/27/17 at 11:29 AM CST

Three Pride players in 247 top 50 in Arizona.

Kenny Churchwell – Ranked #8

Shomari Hayes – Ranked #36

Gary Bragg – Ranked #40

Mason Honne – #53

 

 

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

Versatility on the offensive line fuels Pride offense

Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2016 10:04 pm

The Mountain Pointe football roster lists the offensive linemen without specific positions.

No one is listed as a tackle, guard or center. Everyone is listed OL.

It reflects the match-up strategy employed this year by the Pride coaching staff.

The same five players have started the last four games, but their positions change on the basis of on the strength of the opposition’s defensive front.

Four different players have started at center over the last four games. The lineup against Corona del Sol (4-4) this week for the Pride (8-0) will be different from what its lineup last week against Desert Ridge.

“In years past we couldn’t have done that,” Mountain Pointe offensive line coach Aaron Frana said. “Have a center go play tackle? That’s a tough assignment. These are guys are like, ‘You want me to move? OK.’ They never question it.

“I love it. They want to win and they do whatever it takes to do it.”

The key–other than the players’ versatility–is the level of play of senior Eddie Rivas, who is the strategy’s lynchpin as he is moved around to take on the opposition’s top player.

“I take it as a direct challenge,” said Rivas, who has played four of the five line positions. “The coaches put their faith in me to take on the top guy and I want that responsibility, plus I know whoever plays in the position I left is going to get the job done.”

His climb to one of the best linemen in the state didn’t start out all that well when he had a chance to play in the Chandler playoff game as a sophomore.

“I was like, ‘Whoa, tell me what to do,’” Rivas said. “I think (the defense) they were going to be that fast and strong. I knew I had a lot of work do when I pulled and I hit a linebacker and he didn’t move. I was like ‘get somebody else in there.’”

Two years later, he is the key to most versatile line in the state.

“He was a big raw kid,” Frana said. “He’s matured, got stronger in the weight room and now he can match up with anyone on the edge. When you have a kid who can play all five positions, you take advantage of it.”

The idea began to take shape when senior Joe Sales-Lopez sustained a concussion and had trouble getting cleared until this week.

With Sales-Lopez, who was going to be the starting left guard, out, the lineup starting changing. Star defensive linemen Matthew Pola-Moa and Shomari Hayes rotated at tackle.

When they needed a break because of their defensive responsibilities, sophomore Alex Vogel was inserted. And when he handled himself well, it became clear the unit had another capable body.

“I was not expecting it this year,” said the 220-pound Vogel, who has started at both tackle spots and center. “I made way on to the scout team and things progressed from there. I was kind of nervous at first but at the first snap you just play.”

The other three are junior Mason Honne, who has played left tackle and center; and seniors Justice Hudson, who has played center and left guard, and Rudy Rauls, who has played right guard all year.

With all the changes, many people might expect some struggles with continuity and/or rhythm. But the Pride is churning out 345 yards rushing a game with 33 touchdowns.

“Our offensive line has played really well,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “We moved guys around in the past, like Natrell Curtis would play tackle or guard, but we’ve never done it at center before. That’s really unusual. They’ve played no matter where we’ve put them.”

Expect more of the same as the regular season wraps up and the Pride tries to clinch the 6A Central Region title this week—and possibly the fourth undefeated regular season since 2009 the following week against Gilbert.

There could be as many as six games remaining and there could just as many starting lineups along the offensive line.

“We will have a raffle to see who starts where,” Frana, who is also the co-offensive coordinator, joked. “It says a lot about them not only as athletes, but they have to be smart, too, to play different positions. We’ve put a lot on their plates and they keep going out an executing at a high level.”

– 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

ARTICLE: GameNight: Mountain Pointe starts slow, finishes strong against Corona

COLLECTION: Mountain Pointe at Desert Ridge

ARTICLE: GameNight: Hodge’s big night pushes Pride past Desert Ridge

ARTICLE: Pola-Mao nears Brown’s school record

More about

ARTICLE: Stephens, Pride running game continue to roll without Bragg

ARTICLE: Moving the chains: MP running game continues to flourish

ARTICLE: On the move: Offensive talent will be showcased on Friday nights

More about

ARTICLE: Stephens, Pride running game continue to roll without Bragg

ARTICLE: Moving the chains: MP running game continues to flourish

ARTICLE: Legacy left: Pride keep up with standard set by previous squads

Running back Anthony Stephens #1 of Mountain Pointe is hit out of bounds during the first 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.  [Photo by Billy Hardiman/Special to Tribune]

Stephens, Pride running game continue to roll without Bragg

Posted: Thursday, October 6, 2016 10:51 am

A characteristic of a seasoned running back is patience, waiting for a play to develop before turning up field.

Anthony Stephens has shown signs of being that type of runner, but he admittedly didn’t have it in him in Mountain Pointe’s third game of the year.

It was his first after being suspended for disciplinary reasons the first two games, meaning every carry was like three carries in his mind as he tried to make up for his mistake.

“I was anxious and I just wanted to go,” he said this week. “I wanted to make up for that lost time. I was the starting running back and then just like that I wasn’t. I had to calm down and see things differently.”

He sees things differently not only with the ball in his hands, but also what it truly meant to be a good teammate.

Missing that time because of something he did in the offseason cost him a more prominent role to start the year and vital time on the field.

More telling was the fact that he put himself before the team.

“I learned a lot,” Stephens said. “When you are in it for the team, it comes with a lot of sacrifices and commitments. I should have known it all along but that mistake really showed me what it means to be a teammate.”

The guy who took over his starting spot, junior Gary Bragg, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament two weeks ago in the win over Pinnacle.

Bragg was on his way to an all-state type of season with 891 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games, but now he is in rehab mode.

“All I can do is work hard and come back stronger,” Bragg said from the sidelines of the Ahwautkee Bowl.

It means Stephens and others have a chance to become the main back in the Pride’s dominant running game, which averages 327.5 yards a game entering Friday’s game at Highland (2-4).

The one thing that separates the 5-foot-10, 168-pound Stephens is that fact he only plays offense while Antwaun Woodberry (cornerback), Rashie Hodge (linebacker) and Delano Salgado (cornerback) have started on defense.

“We are going to mix it up, but we have to limit some of these guys on offense because they are so important on defense,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “Woodberry can be special, but he is kind still learning back there. Hodge could be the guy, but we don’t want to wear him down too much.”

With the way the offensive line is playing, and the versatility it has shown in recent weeks, whoever lines up in the backfield is going to find holes to their liking.

“We are going to hold this position down,” Woodberry said on Friday. “We will pick (Bragg) up. He was going off, and now we have to step up.”

Senior Eddie Rivas has played every position depending on the opponent, Mason Honne moved from tackle to center,

Justice Hudson went from center to left guard and only right guard Rudy Rauls has played the same position, Sophomore Alex Vogel has found his way into the lineup at left tackle as Matthew Pola-Mao and Shomari Hayes started to concentrate on defense only.

“If we do our job it doesn’t matter who is back there,” Honne said. “They’re all good, and we have been creating some holes. We’ve made some changes and we’ve all adjusted to it.”

It’s been a winning combination, but Vaughan said the passing game may be counted on more without Bragg, whom he called the best running back in the state.

“It’s not going to change much,” he said. “It hurts you, but these guys are going to get better. Going forward though we are probably going to throw the ball more.”

However it shakes out the rest of the season, Stephens, who is the second leading rusher with 43 carries for 316 yards and three touchdowns, is ready to make the most of his opportunity.

Patiently.

“If I see it I’ll take it, but sometimes you have to wait it out,” he said. “You have let things develop and then turn it up. A good back can do both and I think we all have it covered.”

– 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

Off and running

Mountain Pointe’s Jaydon Brooks returns a punt for a touchdown.

 


GameNight: Mountain Pointe cruises to win over SDO

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2016 11:14 pm | Updated: 12:14 am, Sat Aug 20, 2016.

High school football made its return to the East Valley Friday night, as the Pride of Mountain Pointe opened up their season with a 51-6 rout of the Sandra Day O’Connor Eagles.

The Pride came into the matchup as one of, if not the top team in the state and ranked in the top 25 nationally.

However, regardless of rankings, SDO came out ready to go as quarterback Chris Aguilar fooled the Pride defense and rushed around the edge for a 54-yard score, putting the Eagles up 6-0 after a failed 2-point conversion attempt.

Senior signal caller for the Pride, Noah Grover, took the field for the first time as a varsity starter, shaking off the pre-game jitters as he led the Pride offense down the field, settling for a field goal to make it 6-3.

“Everybody has the jitters, especially in their first game coming out cause when I came out I was like ‘Oh my gosh that’s a big crowd,’” Grover said. “Once I hit the field it all goes away, it all drains out and it is all about the play.”

With an arsenal of athletes in the backfield that can make a big play at any given time, it was easy for Grover to settle down. After the defense forced an Eagles punt, junior wide receiver Delano Salgado took the handoff from Grover on an end-around and found a hole, leading to a 40-yard touchdown to put the Pride up 10-6 after the end of the first.

The special teams for the Pride got in on the action early when senior returner Jayden Brooks took the punt from the Eagles and found a lane up the sideline, extending the lead to 17-6 before the half.

In the second half the Pride showed why they were deserving of the national ranking. On the first play of the second half junior running back Gary Bragg ran for an 80-yard touchdown to extend the lead.

He wasn’t done.

Bragg would find the end zone two more times on the night, scoring from 20-yards out in the third quarter, and a monstrous 73 in the fourth.

“I couldn’t do any of that without the blocking ahead of me,” Bragg said. “I give it all to my team.”

The defense for the Pride flexed its muscle after allowing an early touchdown. Not only did they not allow any more points for O’Connor, the defense had two pick-sixes before the night was over. The first by junior Kenny Churchwell and the second by senior Rashie Hodge Jr.

A scary moment for the Pride defense as sophomore stand-out defensive tackle Matthew Pola-Mao was assisted off the field with a right leg injury. He was taken to the locker room and was later seen on crutches back on the Pride sideline for the remainder of the game.

The extent of the injury is not known.

With the Pride now aware of what they are capable of as a team, they look to carry the momentum to next week as they travel to California to take on Upland (Ca.) in the Brothers in Arms Classic.

“It spikes up what we need to work on of course but it really gives our confidence a boost,” Grover said. “We come out here and play like this in the second half it really shows us that we can come out next week feeling confident.”

* Alvira is an intern with Times Publications and senior at Arizona State’s journalism school.

Box Score

Mountain Pointe 51, Sandra Day O’Connor 6

SDO 6  0   0 0 –   6

MP   10 7 27 7 – 51

Scoring

First

SDO – Aguilar 54 run

MP – Abercrombie 20 field goal

MP – Salgado 40 run (Abercrombie)

Second

MP – Brooks 58 punt return (Abercrombie)

Third

MP – Bragg 80 run (Abercrombie

MP – Bragg 20 run (Abercrombie)

MP – Churchwell INT (Abercrombie)

MP – Hodge Jr. INT

Fourth

MP – Bragg 73 run (Abercrombie)

Team Stats

                        MP           SDO

Rush-yards        24-315    32-114

Comp-Att-Int     5-8-0      10-19-2

Pass Yards          63             85

Total Yards         378           199

Fumbles/lost       1-0            1-0

Individual Stats

Rushing

MP – Bragg 9-202, Brooks 3-29, Hodge 5-33, Salgado 2-41, Olsen 1-16, Grover 3-(-8), Woodberry 1-2. SDO – Galbreath 1-(-1), Barnes 3-(-1), #28 (not listed) 10-16, Aguilar 7-71, King 6-7, Willis 3-18, Craddock 2-4

Passing

MP – Grover 5-8-0-63. SDO – Aguilar 6-8-0-54, King 4-10-2-31

Receiving

MP – Hinojosa 1-10, Hodge 2-19, Pola-Mao 1-14, Brooks 1-20. SDO – Johnson 4-38, Smith 1-12, Unverferth 2-14, Evans 1-0, Langford 1-10, Galbreath 1-11.

 
 

More about

MtPt 2016

Mountain Pointe senior running back/linebacker is one of Pride players being heavily counted on to keep the Mountain Pointe standard high.


2016 football: Pride tackle annual expectations head on

Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2016 11:05 am

The mounting expectations at Mountain Pointe High School haven’t fazed anyone in its football program.

Instead of letting that pressure stifle their growth, each Pride squad just keeps adding to it by maintaining a high standard.

This year the stadium has a ring of honor of sorts: past players are pictured in banners circling the entrance of Karl Kiefer Stadium.

Those banners both symbolize the team’s past success and inspires the current group of players who are strapping on the maroon and gold.

“I want to be up there some day,” senior cornerback Antwaun Woodberry said. “Those guys did things that gave us the things we have. If they didn’t do what they did, we wouldn’t be expected to keep it going.”

Mountain Pointe, which has the best record (48-6) among big-school programs over the last four years, is entering the year ranked No. 23 nationally by MaxPreps and is considered one of the favorites in the 6A Conference title chase.

One of the top and stable coaching staffs, led by Norris Vaughan, has some of the best talent around annually to work with and it has led to one state title (2013), one state runner-up finish (2012) and four other state semifinal appearances since 2009.

The 2016 squad expects to add to the program’s legacy.

“When you put on the Mountain Pointe jersey, you are expected to perform,” senior wide receiver Jaydon Brooks said. “Maybe it’s a lot for young guys at first, but you begin to understand what it means pretty quick. There’s a lot of stuff around here with all the banners and records.”

The players believe they have a chance to reach similar pinnacles as those before them, but there are still 10 games, including a tough California trip (Aug. 27 versus Upland at Norco High), and a new Central region schedule to navigate over the next two and half months.

“We know how good we can be,” senior wide receiver/safety Isaiah Pola-Mao said. “We know what it is going to take. We’ve made it to the semis but that’s not the goal. This team wants to be and can be great.”

The offense has a combination of established players (Brooks, Palo-Mao, linemen Mason Honne and Eddie Rivas) and ready-to-prove-they-belong players (quarterback Noah Grover, running backs Gary Bragg and Anthony Stephens, lineman Justice Hudson.

Grover is one of the team’s top students and makes good decisions. Words is he is one of the most accurate passers the Pride has had in recent years.

“I’m ready to take over,” said Grover, who was 9 of 15 for 105 yards with two touchdowns in three games last year. “I’ve been in the system for a couple of years and there is a lot of talent around me so I just have to get the ball out and in their hands.”

The running back situation will be one of the storylines to watch as Bragg, who is coming off a huge junior varsity year, figures to get the first look; Stephens is suspended the first two games for an unspecified disciplinary reason.

Others, like Rashie Hodge and Woodberry, will get an opportunity to carry the ball for a program that has average 3,300 yards per year since 2009.

The defense has more established players returning than the offense does, although there might be less depth after the first unit.

“We can be really good on defense,” Vaughan said. “Some of those guys might be the best in the state at their position. We are bigger up front compared to other years but we don’t have as speed on the line. If they stay on assignment it could be one of best defenses we’ve had.”

The front line and defensive back field are both units that rank among the best in the state.

Khalif Ravenell, Shomari Hayes, Matthew Pola-Mao and Daniel Pena are big, strong and hungry on the defensive front and they give the defense the flexibility of playing three- or four-man front.

The defensive backfield has Woodberry and Cesar Chavez High School transfer Donte Lindsey at the corner spots with Kenny Churchwell and Isaiah Pola-Mao at safety.

The linebacker corps is led by Hodge, but the others are getting their first real taste of varsity action in Xavier Cota, Michael Washington and Jacob Olsen.

“No one knows the linebackers other than Hodge, but they are good,” Woodberry said. “With the big guys (on the line) they’ll be open to make tackles all over the field.”

It adds up to a campaign that should fall right in line with what Mountain Pointe has been able to do in transforming the program since bottoming out at 2-8 in 2008.

“We want to win our region, but that’s not our goal,” Brooks said. “At Mountain Pointe we watch the older guys play for state titles and when we get to varsity we expect to do it, too.”

– 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 on Twitter @AhwatukeeFN.

Mountain Pointe schedule

Coach: Norris Vaughan (76-15 at MP in eight years, and 248-110-2 overall*)

* = time as interim coach (about four wins) not recorded because of incomplete information

Last year: 12-1, lost in state semifinals

Last 10 years: 88-33

Aug. 19 Sandra Day O’Connor

Aug. 27 vs. Upland (Calif.), (Brothers in Arms Tournament)

Sept. 2 Bye

Sept. 9 vs. Chandler

Sept. 16 vs. Mountain View

Sept. 23 at Pinnacle

Sept. 30 vs. Desert Vista

Oct. 7 at Highland

Oct. 14 at Desert Ridge

Oct. 21 vs. Corona

Oct. 28 at Gilbert

(Photo: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports)

Coach Norris Vaughan leads Mountain Pointe High School football practice Wednesday, July 27, 2016 in Phoenix, Ariz.


Mountain Pointe football faster, stronger, ready for title run

, azcentral sports12:57 p.m. MST July 28, 2016

Phoenix Mountain Pointe football coach Norris Vaughan, riding in his golf cart, gave a tour of the facilities that are enclosed with a Wall of Fame wind-resistant banner along the fence (thanks to Under Armour and the booster club). That banner shows action photos of top players since Vaughan began restoring pride in the Pride in 2009.

Jalen Brown, Wesley Payne, Kenny Lacy, Emmanuel Butler and Natrell Curtis are among the honored players.

It’s been an assembly line of great talent since Vaughan arrived with more ready to take center stage this season when the Pride line up against the likes of Chandler and company to try to make another run for the state championship in the 6A Conference.

Mountain Pointe’s only loss last season was to eventual champion Peoria Centennial in the state semifinals.

“It makes you more desperate to win,” said Rashie Hodge, one of the state’s best athletes who can play running back, receiver, tight end, safety and linebacker.

RELATED: Cesar Chavez football ready to ramp it up for 6A Division challenge

Offense

Vaughan said that Noah Grover would have been the starting quarterback last season if Jack Smith hadn’t moved in from Indiana. Smith, now at Arizona State, was a good runner who can pass. Grover might be a better passer, Vaughan believes.

Mountain Pointe lost only one 7-on-7 passing league tournament game in June, and most of the success was due to Grover.

“I think we have one of the best quarterbacks in the state,” Vaughan said.

Watch for a balanced attack with speedy junior Gary Bragg emerging as the go-to ball carrier on the ground. The line is stacked with Eddie Rivas and Mason Honne back to anchor it. Senior running back Anthony Stephens will miss the first two games, but watch out. He’s got 4.4 speed in the 40.

Grover will have plenty of targets, led by 6-foot-4, 195-pound Isaiah Pola-Mao and Jaydon Brooks (5-10, 165).

Pola-Mao is a two-time All-Arizona safety who will be on defense all the time. He has double-digit major college scholarship offers, but Vaughan believes he could be a Division I receiver, also.

“We’re going to pass it 20-plus times again and we’re going to run it I hope a lot,” Vaughan said. “We’re going to have a good line.

“We have some good players. We expect a lot.”

RELATED: Top 10 story lines as high school football practices begin

Defense

This could be as good a defense as Vaughan has had, which is saying a lot because that 2013 team that went 14-0 was absolutely loaded on defense.

But down the middle, led by the Pola-Mao brothers, this team is fast, physical and nasty.

Cornerback Antwaun Woodberry is ready to have a huge season.

“Everybody is fast on defense, even our D-line,” Woodberry said. “We have to keep the bar high. If we go down low that can cost us some games. That could hurt us.”

Vaughan says he has seven very talented offensive linemen, and “our defensive line might be even better.”

Aside from the younger Palo-Mao (6-2, 300), a sophomore who made a varsity impact as a freshman, the Pride line up Shomari Hayes (6-2, 270) and Khalif Ravenell and Michael Washington, who can both play linebacker.

MORE: High school football summer series schedule

On the lookout

Rashie Hodge, LB/RB, 6-0, 195, Sr.

Vaughan says this guy is reminiscent to Wesley Payne, the heart and soul of Mountain Pointe’s only state championship team in 2013.

“I would rank him right up there with Isaiah Pola-Moa,” Vaughan said. “I know you’ll look at me funny, but as a football player, that’s where I’d rank him. He’s fast. He’s strong.”

On the calendar

Sept. 8, vs. Chandler at Mountain Pointe

This is a Cox7 Thursday night TV game in the third game of the season for the Pride. These teams could be ranked 1 and 2 in the state at the time. They didn’t play each other last season, but two years ago, they were involved in two of the more physical and entertaining games of the year.

On the record

“It should wake us up a lot more and come back a lot better.” – sophomore DT Matthew Pola-Mao.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.

, azcentral sports12:38 p.m. MST May 31, 2016

It’s time to roll out the Big 100 for the class of 2018.

It is heavy with linemen and skill players.

Editor’s note: Last year, Obert unveiled his Top 50 prospects in the 2018 class before their sophomore seasons. This is a new list, with new rankings. He will unveil a new batch of ten each week. 

Top Arizona high school football prospects: 2018 class

Read full article here

 

No. 53 Gary Bragg, Mountain Pointe, RB, 5-10, 165

Coach Norris Vaughan is counting on Bragg to pick up where last year’s top running back, Macaris Blount, left off (1,783 yards, 27 TDs rushing in 2015). He is fast, strong and shifty.

 

No. 49 Shomari Hayes, Mountain Pointe. OL/DL, 6-2, 250

He had 59 tackles on varsity as a sophomore. He also is a strong, tough offensive lineman. He is still growing and figures to pick up offers after a strong junior season.

 

No. 12 Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Athlete, 6-1, 160

College could be looking at Churchwell at both wide receiver and defensive back. He started in the secondary last season when he 44 tackles and two interceptions, helping the Pride go unbeaten in the regular season. He also can return punts. He returned one 36 yards last season.

 

No. 5 Mason Honne, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, OL, 6-1, 260

He recently took home the MVP award from the Dallas Cowboys’ Big Man Camp. He is expected to have a big spring that will have colleges likely to offer him. Big motor who never gives up on a play. Strong lower body who can play guard or center.

 

, azcentral sports2:32 p.m. MST May 23, 2016

Top Arizona high school football prospects: 2018 class

It’s time to roll out the Big 100 for the class of 2018.

It is heavy with linemen and skill players.

Editor’s note: Last year, Obert unveiled his Top 50 prospects in the 2018 class before their sophomore seasons. This is a new list, with new rankings. He will unveil a new batch of ten each week. 

Read full article here

 

No. 5 Mason Honne, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, OL, 6-1, 260

He recently took home the MVP award from the Dallas Cowboys’ Big Man Camp. He is expected to have a big spring that will have colleges likely to offer him. Big motor who never gives up on a play. Strong lower body who can play guard or center.

 

No. 12 Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Athlete, 6-1, 160

College could be looking at Churchwell at both wide receiver and defensive back. He started in the secondary last season when he 44 tackles and two interceptions, helping the Pride go unbeaten in the regular season. He also can return punts. He returned one 36 yards last season.

 

No. 49 Shomari Hayes, Mountain Pointe. OL/DL, 6-2, 250

He had 59 tackles on varsity as a sophomore. He also is a strong, tough offensive lineman. He is still growing and figures to pick up offers after a strong junior season.

 

No. 53 Gary Bragg, Mountain Pointe, RB, 5-10, 165

Coach Norris Vaughan is counting on Bragg to pick up where last year’s top running back, Macaris Blount, left off (1,783 yards, 27 TDs rushing in 2015). He is fast, strong and shifty.