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Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney, #33, evades a Mountain View tackle on his way into the end zone for the Pride’s first touchdown.  [Photo by Cheryl Haselhorst]

Running game leads Mountain Pointe to third win.

By Eddie Poe AFN Contributor | 9/16/17

For a team that finished third in the 6A Conference in 2016 and fell short in the state title game, Phoenix Mountain Pointe looks to be doing everything they can to avenge last season’s result. 

A week after upsetting then No.1 Chandler on the road, top-ranked Mountain Pointe kept its foot on the gas pedal Friday night, cruising to a 35-3 victory over No. 22 Mesa Mountain View. 

“We were dominant on both offense and defense tonight,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “Our quarterback made plays and our backs ran really hard behind our line for most of the game.”

Mountain Pointe (3-1) wasn’t perfect on either side of the ball by any means. It racked up over a dozen penalties throughout the game, which allowed Mountain View (2-2) a time of possession which nearly seemed like an eternity. Fortunately for the Pride, secondary play from Kenny Churchwell and Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson kept the Toros out of the end-zone numerous times despite the long list of penalties. 

“[They] certainly made their fair share of plays,” Vaughan said. “We were so dominant on defense but it was the penalties that allowed them to stay on the field and keep their drives going.”

For the second straight week, Mountain Pointe got the offensive push up front that they’re accustomed to seeing, which created a plethora of holes for the backfield. 

After a drive early on led to a touchdown run by Jakim McKinney, a hole opened up once again to start the second quarter and Gary Bragg found paydirt for the second rushing touchdown in the game, scampering for a 23-yard touchdown to give the Pride a 14-3 lead.

A critical mistake to go for it on fourth down deep in their own territory, came back to bite the Toros right before the half. Mountain Pointe took over possession at the Toros’ 23-yard-line and a few plays later, McKinney ran it in from nine yards out for his second touchdown of the game. 

“We’ve all been working really hard at practice,” McKinney said. “Sometimes the guys up front make mistakes but they get right back up and they got a lot better tonight.”

A few minutes before the half, Mountain View had their best opportunity to get back in the game but another crucial mistake proved costly. On a screen pass out left, quarterback Brandon Nuñez hit Jacobby Dinwiddie in the flat and the offensive line carved out an open path to the end zone and Dinwiddie took it to the house for what seemed like a must-have touchdown. Unfortunately, a holding penalty negated the touchdown pass and Mountain Pointe went into the half with a 21-3 lead.

From there the rout continued as on the opening play of the second half, a hole practically the size of Arizona opened and quarterback Nick Wallerstedt it himself for a 77-yard touchdown run. 

“We knew what to expect tonight and I felt like our guys came out and played really hard on both sides,” Vaughan said. “We just need to cut down on penalties.”

To go along with four touchdowns on the ground, Wallerstedt connected with Pleasant-Johnson late in the fourth on a touchdown pass. He finished with a TD reception and an interception — a pick for a touchback late in the second quarter that stalled a Mountain View drive.

The Pride will return home next week for the first time this season, when they welcome quarterback phenom Spencer Rattler and Pinnacle High School (3-2). 

By:  | September 7, 2017

Five things to watch this week in Super 25 football

Chandler vs. Mountain Pointe is the top game in Arizona: No. 10 Chandler, Ariz. (1-1) struggled to an 35-28 overtime defeat of Pinnacle (Phoenix) last week. With quarterback Jacob Conover out with an injury suffered in Chander’s season-opening loss to IMG, running back Drake Anderson picked up the slack with 106 yards rushing and four touchdown catches. Last year, Mountain Pointe handed Chandler its only in-state loss, 52-7, only to lose 36-17 to the Wolves in the 6A state championship. Mountain Pointe is averaging nearly 43 points a game, so this could be interesting, especially with Chandler a little banged up.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017  |  By:  | MaxPreps.com

Football Game Preview: Chandler vs. Mountain Pointe

This week, Mountain Pointe (1-1) faces off against Chandler (2-1) on Friday at 7:00 PM. These are two of the top teams in the nation (Chandler is ranked 30th, Mountain Pointe 138th), so it should shape up to be an exciting match.

Mountain Pointe lost to Chaminade 39 – 25 last week. The offensive line was plagued by an aggressive Chaminade defense that sacked the quarterback seven times.

Meanwhile, Chandler battled it out with Pinnacle last week for a well-earned 35 – 28 overtime win. With four TDs, senior running back Drake Anderson was a significant factor in the success. Anderson has been the ringleader for Chandler this season two times now.

The last time they met, Chandler hopped past Mountain Pointe 36 – 17. Will Mountain Pointe avenge its loss? We’ll find out soon enough.

By Renard Roberts AFN Contributor  |  Updated 

Pride fall to Eagles in California

Offensive struggles proved to be costly for Mountain Pointe High School in their 39-25 loss to Chaminade College Preparatory (West Hills, CA), Thursday night at Mission Viejo High School in California.

This year at the Under Armor Brothers in Arms Classic the Pride came out flat on both sides of the ball. It only took three plays for Chaminade’s Michael Wilson, a Stanford commit, to take a short slant route the 77-yards to put the Eagles up 7-0.  

In the first quarter, all Mountain Pointe had working for them was their defense. They got a huge boost from cornerback Marshawn Gibson, as he jumped an outside route, picked off the pass and returned it 40-yards for the Prides first points of the ball game.

Points after turnovers were very detrimental to the Pride’s mission however. Later in the first half the Eagles returned the favor with an interception of their own, nearly returning it for a touchdown. It did not take much for Chaminade to punch the ball in again as star running back Andrew Vanburen, showing what a great talent Boise State will receive in the next year, scored one of his four rushing touchdowns. 

During the duration of the game the Pride would gain some momentum, but it would be snatched away by their opponents with a blink of an eye.

The running game finally started to develop in the second quarter as Jakim Mckinney did his best to carry the team, scoring the only two offensive touchdowns. But right before the team from Awhatukee headed towards the locker room, Vanburen scattered down the Chaminade sideline scoring his third touchdowns.

The Pride were one dimensional on offense as the pressure forced by the defensive line of the Eagles did not allow quarterback Nick Wallerstedt to find his targets down the field.

Instead of coming out with an impressive drive to gain some momentum, the first play of the second half ended in the worst possible way. Chaminade defensive back Christopher Rankings picked off his second pass of the night. 

Even though Mountain Pointe had mad many mental mistakes going into the fourth quarter, they were still fighting to stay within striking distance. Another interception, this time by Delano Salgado, led to a touchdown which kept the game within two possessions. The last straw of confidence was lost however when Chaminade blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter.

“We had penalties we had turnovers we played poorly on offense and defense, we didn’t tackle or block well, we got out played and out coached”, Mountain Pointe Head Coach, Norris Vaughan.

The Pride were also spread thin throughout the matchup as a few of their key players went out with minor injuries. In the postgame speech by Vaughan he told his team that they lacked heart and let the other team play more physical.

They will need to bring their “A” game next week as they battle Chandler High in a rematch of the 6A state championship last season.  

     

     

     

    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.

    Under the tutelage of Head Coach Norris Vaughan, 30 Mountain Pointe football players have signed with Division One schools over the past eight years.

     

    2010

    Alex Lewis  –  Nebraska
    Ben Demarr   –  Air Force
    Davon Jones   –  Mississippi Valley State

    2011

    Izzy Marshall  –   Arizona State
    Jose Romero   –  Arizona
    JR Plote   –  South Dakota State

    2012

    RJ Hollis  –  Hawaii

    2013

    Kenny Lacy  –  UCLA
    Tre Campbell  –  Georgia State
    Landry Payne  –  Oregon State
    Thair Blakes  –  UAB

    2014

    Jalen Brown  –  Oregon/Northwestern
    Wesley Payne  –  Oregon State
    Timmy Hernandez  –  Oregon State
    Markell Simmons  –  TCU
    Natrell Curtis  –  UAB
    Dominique Fenstermacher  –  UNLV
    Mitchell Fraboni  –  ASU
    Emmanuel Butler  –  NAU
    Deontay Townsend  –  Sam Houston State
    Xavier Cochrane  –  Colorado

    2015

    Nick Carman  –  Utah
    Davis Perrott  –  Washington State
    Paul Lucas  –  Oregon State
    Brandyn Leonard  –  New Mexico State

    2016

    Jack Smith  –  Arizona State

    2017

    Isaiah Pola-Mao  –  USC
    Eddie Rivas  –  NAU
    Jaydon Brooks  –  Navy
    Rashie Hodge  –  South Dakota State

    4/27

    Mandatory practice begins July 24th for Varsity & JV, and July 31st for incoming freshmen.

    Mountain Pointe’s annual Physical Day for next year’s athletes is being held on Thursday, May 11th.   Find all details at:  TUHSD Sports Physicals

     

    Hedley Physical Day

    Congrats to Jaydon Brooks on being honored as one of the top scholar athletes in Arizona by theNational Football Foundation.  Pictured with Coach Norris Vaughan at the 36th Annual Scholar Athlete Awards Banquet on April 8, 2017.  

     

    http://www.aznff.com/

    https://twitter.com/nffaz_billr

    Arizona Sports Awards Big Schools Football Athlete of Year finalists: T.J. Green, Isaiah Pola-Mao, Brock Purdy

    , azcentral sportsPublished 5:42 p.m. MT Dec. 10, 2016 | Updated 12:48 p.m. MT Dec. 11, 2016

    The Arizona Sports Awards, presented by Arby’s, will honor an Athlete of the Year in every sport at the spring 2017 event.

    At the end of each season, azcentral sports will announce three finalists for each Athlete of the Year award. The finalists are listed alphabetically.

    All three will be invited to the awards show where the winner will be announced live. More information on the spring 2017 event will be announced soon.

    April 30, 2017

    ASU Gammage   |   Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm   |   Speaker: Larry Fitzgerald

     

    Isaish-Sports-Awards-3

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Phoenix Mountain Pointe safety and wide receiver Isaiah Pola-Mao is a finalist for the Arizona Sports Awards, presented by Arby’s, Big Schools Football Athlete of the Year. (Photo: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports)

    Isaiah Pola-Mao

    School: Phoenix Mountain Pointe

    Year: Senior

    Positions: Safety, wide receiver

    Pola-Mao was a big-play receiver, but he left a legacy on defense, a three-time All-Arizona selection at safety. He had seven interceptions as a sophomore, four his junior year and 10 this season, including six in the last three playoff games.

    He returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns in the 47-21 6A Conference quarterfinal win over Mesa Desert Ridge. He had an interception in the 21-14 semifinal win over Mesa Red Mountain and two more in the state final against Chandler, a 37-17 loss, in which he injured his shoulder.

    “I thought he was the best player in the state,” said Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan, who believes Pola-Mao will be playing in the NFL some day.

    Pola-Mao, an imposing figure at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, was arguably the biggest hitter in the state. It was hard to get around him. He had 100 tackles, 31 solo, this year. He broke up 18 passes and caused two fumbles, including one in the championship game.

    On offense, Pola-Mao had his biggest season, catching 27 passes for 640 yards (23.7 yards per catch) and nine TDs. His performance in the first meeting with Chandler was off the charts. He caught two TD passes, set up another with a diving grab near the goal line and intercepted a pass in the 52-7 win.

    Mountain Pointe was ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation most of the season with Pola-Mao the heart and soul of the team.

    “It was awesome,” Pola-Mao said of the season. “If I could redo it, I’d do it. I was glad I could play the past few years with this team.

    “The interceptions, honestly, it started up front with the D-line, with Khalif (Ravenell), Shomari (Hayes) and my brother (Matthew). They get to the quarterback and cause pressure. I’m just doing my job.”