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Posted: Friday, November 14, 2014 5:00 am | Updated: 7:34 am, Fri Nov 14, 2014.

Pioneers trying to reach Pride’s level of success

Pride’s win in 2012 changed MP-Hamilton series

Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 3:45 am

Read story here

Photo by David Jolkovski/AFN

Football: DI State Championship

Mountain Pointe running back Paul Lucas (30) is coming off the best performance of his career and also had a big game against Hamilton in the state title game last year.


Mountain Pointe is returning to the scene of the crime and that’s no cliché.


The top-seeded Pride made quick work of No. 9 Red Mountain, 48-7 on the strength of a 21-point first quarter on Friday in the Division I quarterfinals at Karl Kiefer Stadium.


The win advances Mountain Pointe (12-0) to the state semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons where the Pride will take on No. 4 Desert Ridge (12-0) at McClintock High.


The Pride players had personal items stolen from the locker room at McClintock during last year’s first half in beating Brophy 30-0 in the semifinals.


“I’m not bringing anything valuable, I can tell you that,” Pride senior linemen Natrell Curtis said with a laugh. “I’m just playing. It’s good we are going back to a place we’ve played before. We’ll be ready.”


Unlike the security at McClintock last year, the Pride’s defense has been on lockdown all season and it continued against Red Mountain (6-6).


With the Pride up 14-0 after Antonio Hinojosa (8 of 11 for 161 yards) threw the first two of four touchdown passes, the defense added to the first-quarter scoring splurge when defensive end Mitchell Fraboni hit the quarterback from behind and the ball popped into the hands of Pride linebacker Trey Lauer, who took 28-yards for the score.


“That’s was a big-time play, something you see in the NFL.” Pride coach Norris Vaughan, who improved to 99-16 in his Arizona coaching career. “Our defense has been outstanding all year.”


Red Mountain had its chance to get some momentum in the second quarter after a shanked punt gave the Mountain Lions the ball on the Pride’s 29, but when the offense tried some razzle dazzle with a reverse wide receiver throw it was intercepted by senior Dominique Fenstermacher, who nearly turned it into a pick six.


“There is no margin for error,” Red Mountain coach Ron Wisneiwski said. “Even on their first touchdown our kid gets his hand of the ball, but instead of batting it down, he batted it in the air and their kid (Butler) caught it for a touchdown. It was like that all night.


“At the time (on the interception) it’s only 21-0 and if we score who knows where this game goes, but we didn’t. Give them credit. I am proud of our guys considering where we started out (1-4) and how they fought back.”


The Pride, fighting a strong wind, was unable to expand its lead in the second quarter but put up another 21 points in the third quarter as Timmy Hernandez caught a 16-yarder, Brandyn Leonard scored from 5-yards out and Brown hauled in a 64-yard bomb.


The seniors played their final game at home, where the Pride haven’t lost since Sept. 27, 2011, and plenty of them made their presence felt as Wesley Payne rushed for 133 yards on 21 carries, Brown had two scores and finished with three catches for 99 yards, Mitchell Fraboni had two sacks, Lauer had the defensive touchdown and Charlie Trevino had a sack.


“It’s bittersweet because it means a new chapter in my life is coming,” Trevino said. “We’ve had some great memories here. It’s really hard to put into words, but we still have a few more weeks together.”


Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.


Box score


MP 48, Red Mountain 7


The Pride dominated Cesar Chavez from the get-go on Friday night, scoring 44 first-half points in an easy win. Mountain Pointe has another easy opponent this week against Maryvale, but then comes the gauntlet: Chandler, Hamilton, Desert Vista and Brophy. The Pride remain ranked No. 2.


Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2013 1:49 am | Updated: 3:41 pm, Sat Sep 7, 2013.

By Jason P. Skoda, Ahwatukee Foothills News | 0 comments

Ka’wuan Ellis might have overshot it just a tad, but he still has some bragging rights.

The Mountain Pointe senior running back made a bet with his dad, JD, who is the equipment manager for Cesar Chavez, for Friday night’s game against the Champions.

“If I got over 200 yards rushing I got 30 bucks,” said Ellis, who had eight carries for 35 yards and a score in the Pride’s 58-14 win. “I might still get something.”

What he got was the ability to talk, or text as it is today, trash considering how many players he knows on the Chavez roster through his Dad and the time, just over a semester, he was enrolled there before transferring back to Mountain Pointe.

“It felt good to have a good game on this field,” he said. “I felt like I had something to prove.”

The Pride (3-0) do not at this point with their start to the season, but the win over the Champions (0-2) was anything but clean despite scoring through the air, on the ground, on defense and on special teams.

There were three missed extra points, two failed two-point conversions, several personal fouls and eight total penalties.

“We were happy with the effort but not with the character we showed,” said senior quarterback Antonio Hinojosa, who rushed for a touchdown and finished 10-for-16 for 216 yards and two scores passing. “We had a lot of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the first half. That’s just not who we are. We have a list of top keys to a championship and we really didn’t show the character needed tonight.”

What nationally-ranked Mountain Pointe did show was its big play ability as Jalen Brown hauled in a 32-yard touchdown from Hinojosa, Paul Lucas scored twice, including a 43-yard punt return on a reverse, Mitchell Fraboni had a 3-yard interception for a score and Brandyn Leonard had a 70-yard touchdown to start the second half to push the lead to 51-0.

The defense contained some big-time Chavez athletes to 84 yards and four first downs in the first half before the second team defense gave up some big plays.

Pride coach Norris Vaughan was displeased while adding it is tough to keep a team focused in the midst of three games where the Pride are heavy favorites to win.

“It’s very difficult to keep them from looking ahead to Chandler (in two weeks),” he said.

The lack of a scrimmage, the heat during the week and lopsided scores, other than the opener against Bishop Gorman, has kept the Pride starters from seeing many meaningful quarters of football.

“We have to get in playing shape,” he said. “We had our starters in there to start the second half because they haven’t played that much.”


Congratulations to Jalen Brown #2 and Natrelle Curtis #75 who have been named to the Army All American Game. The game will be played in San Antonio, Texas on January 4, 2014.  Congratulations again to our All Americans, this is  such a great honor.

Saturday marked a day of firsts for the Mountain Pointe Football Program. The Pride football team made its first appearance in the AIA championship game in school history. The Pride had reached the semi-finals two other times but fell short. Unfortunately, Hamilton defeated Mountain Pointe by a score of 31-16. It was a tough game and the Pride players never quit. We would like to thank our parents, students, faculty, staff and community for their overwhelming support this season.


Skoda Reflecting on this season

Photos From Saturday