Click here to see the widescreen photo of our brand new locker room!
Game of the Week: Top prospects in the Mountain Pointe-Desert Vista game - Richard Obert, Arizona RepublicPublished 2:41 p.m. MT Oct. 2, 2018 Game of... [ read more ]
Mountain Pointe hands Highland first loss of season - Mountain Pointe High handed Highland High its first loss of the season on... [ read more ]
Mountain Pointe deals Highland first loss - Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney prepares to squeeze through a hole... [ read more ]
Mountain Pointe safety Kenny Churchwell feints toward ASU football, picks UCLA - Kenny Churchwell holds up four fingers as he sports a UCLA hat on Friday,... [ read more ]
Arizona Safety Kenny Churchwell is a Bruin - Arizona Safety Kenny Churchwell is a Bruin UCLA gets a commitment from... [ read more ]
Kenny Churchwell Commits To UCLA - Kenny Churchwell announced his commitment to UCLA on Friday morning. Kenny... [ read more ]
Click here to see the widescreen photo of our brand new locker room!
Mountain Pointe quarterback Nick Wallerstedt attempts a rare pass Friday during the Pride’s 42-24 win at Chaparral. Wallerstedt did most of his damage with his feet, rushing for 105 yards, but his biggest play might have been his leaping one-handed grab of an errant punt snap that could have given the Firebirds great field position for a fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
With its season hanging in the balance, Mountain Pointe turned to its running game and its defense to rally from a 10-0 deficit and wallop Chaparral, 42-24, in high school football Friday night in Scottsdale.
The Pride (4-4) couldn’t afford another setback and hope to sneak into the top eight and a first-round home game in the playoffs, yet they appeared listless and disinterested as they fell behind early.
Then, coach Rich Wellbrock, who had alternated running backs Jakim McKinney and Eli Sanders all season, sent them into the game together. Combined with the running of quarterback Nick Wallerstedt, the trio kept the Firebirds’ defense guessing as they unleashed counter plays, sweeps and keepers.
McKinney rushed for 134 yards on 16 carries, Wallerstedt for 105 on 21 and Sanders was a carry away from the 100-yard club with 92 on 16 carries.
MP’s offensive line got a large push, and its receivers made key blocks to allow rushers to get outside the tackles and find space.
“Their defense blitzed a lot and we just had to take advantage of the gaps that they gave up. After the first couple of drives we got together and kind of figured it out,” senior lineman Alex Vogel said.
Among those relieved that they did was Sanders, a sophomore.
“We really needed this win,” Sanders said. “And a lot of our coaches came from Chaparral, so, it was kind of personal to us. We wanted to do it for them.”
Wallerstedt’s six-yard touchdown pass to senior Jathan Washington was his only completion of the second quarter and his last of the game. Wallerstedt would attempt only two more passes in the second half as the Pride kept the ball on the ground and kept the clock moving.
“It really helps us so we don’t get injured, and we all share the load,” Sanders said of the three-headed monster in the backfield. “I give a lot of the credit to the offensive line. They’re the best O-line in the state.”
While Wallerstedt was making plays with his feet rather than his arm, it was a play with his hand that might have saved both the game and the Pride’s season. In the fourth quarter with the Pride clinging to the lead, Wallerstedt, who doubles as the Pride’s punter, made a highlight-reel, leaping, one-handed catch of an errant snap deep in Chaparral territory and then got the punt away before the Chaparral punt rush could get to him. Had the ball gotten away from him, the game likely would have changed.
Once the Pride weathered Chaparral’s early barrage their defense dug in. The front seven kept pressure on Chaparral quarterback Jack Miller, often forcing him to hurry throws or throw on the run, and the secondary stuck to Firebirds’ receivers, knocking down balls downfield.
Miller, who has committed to play at Ohio State in 2020, had 235 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He had no choice but to throw because the Mountain Pointe defense all but shut down Chaparral’s rushing game.
Like Mountain Pointe, Chaparral was fighting for playoff seeding, and several times play became heated.
Near the end of the third quarter, McKinney burst through a gap on fourth-and-five for a first down and his helmet came off during the tackle. While at the bottom of the pile, Chaparral junior Ben Eddleblute kicked him in the head. McKinney did not suffer an injury, and even scored a touchdown to finish the drive, but Eddleblute was ejected.
Just minutes later, on the Pride’s next possession, Mountain Pointe had to do a punt over due to two sets of offsetting penalties. Both teams committed personal fouls during the kick and then both received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties afterward.
“It was a really chippy game,” Mountain Pointe junior Cameron Rasmussen said. “Even when we came out for warm-up kicks, there was already some talking going on.”
There were 22 accepted penalties – 11 by each team – and several more that were declined or offset.
In the fourth quarter, Chaparral continued trash-talking. Though Pride players certainly chirped on the sideline, Wellbrock got his team to focus on the game and not draw a foolish penalty that would give up field position.
“We were able to have conversations with all of our kids and tell them that obviously there’s a bigger picture than that personal battle they want to get into,” Wellbrock said.
Wellbrock said he was proud of the way his team finished. Mountain Pointe had lost three games in the closing two minutes by a single score. That is counterbalanced by quality wins over Highland and now Chaparral, both on the road, against a schedule that statistically is the toughest in 6A.
“We know we can’t end the season less than .500 now,” Vogel said. “We didn’t need to say it out loud, but everybody kind of got the vibe for tonight.”
Mountain Pointe visits Desert Ridge (3-5) in the far East Valley on Friday. Chaparral (5-3) visits Pinnacle (7-1).
Mountain Pointe 42, Chaparral 24
Mountain Pointe 0 14 7 21 – 42
Chaparral 10 0 7 7 – 24
CHAP – Cervantes 32 pass from Miller (Christakos kick), 8:37.
CHAP – FG, Christakos 49, 4:32.
MP – Wallerstedt 1 run (Abercrombie kick), 9:03.
MP – Washington 6 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 0:41.
CHAP – Norvell 10 pass from Miller (Christakos kick), 6:57.
MP – McKinney 3 run (Abercrombie kick), 3:17.
MP – Wallerstedt 10 run (Abercrombie kick), 6:13.
MP – McKinney 4 run (Abercrombie kick), 5:14.
CHAP – Norvell 24 pass from Miller (Christakos kick), 3:52.
MP – Wallerstedt 3 run (Abercrombie kick), 0:59.
Mountain Pointe – McKinney 16-134, Wallerstedt 21-105, Sanders 16-92, Washington 1-4. Chaparral – Hubbard 18-37, Miller 1-9, Williams 1-0.
Mountain Pointe – Wallerstedt 4-12-1, 17 yards. Chaparral – Miller 16-39-1, 235.
Mountain Pointe – Davis 2-9, Washington 1-6, Delco 1-1. Chaparral – Christakos 5-119, Norvell 4-57, Hubbard 4-18, Cervantes 1-32, Crawford 1-9.
First downs 21 15
Rush-yards 53-335 20-46
Comp-app-int 4-12-1 16-39-1
Pass yards 17 235
Total yards 352 281
Fumbles/lost 0/0 3/1
Penalties-yards 11-87 11-93
Will it be baseball or football at the next level? Nick Wallerstedt has committed to a baseball offer from Arizona State. That could change, however, if the Mountain Pointe quarterback gets the right football offer. |
Arizona State University has always held a special place in the heart of Mountain Pointe High quarterback Nick Wallerstedt.
Growing up he would attend games with his family. His father, Brett, often shared stories about his time suiting up for the Sun Devils as a linebacker from 1989-92.
So when the younger Wallerstedt received an offer to play Division I baseball for the school he grew up watching, making the commitment was easy.
“I knew I had my heart there,” Wallerstedt said. “It was exciting when I got the offer. I knew it would be my top choice.”
Wallerstedt became a force on the diamond for the Pride last season. As a junior, he batted .408 with 32 RBI and three home runs.
On the mound, he posted a 4.60 ERA, striking out 32 batters and limiting his opponent’s batting average to .287.
Wallerstedt plans to play outfield and pitch for the Sun Devils next season.
Despite his verbal commitment in baseball, his recruitment for football remains open. If the right opportunity comes, it could alter his plans regarding which sport he plays in college, and where.
“I would definitely have to take any offer I get into consideration,” Wallerstedt said. “If an ASU football offer comes around I would do both.”
Walking away from football would be difficult. He has passion for both sports.
While some would think about ending a football career after committing to another sport, Wallerstedt continues to embrace the physicality of the gridiron.
“There are a lot of times I will yell at him to slide,” Mountain Pointe offensive coordinator Ross Crow said. “I will say, ‘Nick! You’re a baseball player. You know how to slide!’ But he likes to get the extra yards for his team.
“It says a lot about his character and how much love he has for this program.”
Wallerstedt has become accustomed to his role as a physical quarterback, lowering his shoulder on scrambles and often delivering the blow or a stiff-arm to an opposing defender.
Through six games, Wallerstedt has carried the ball 61 times for 244 yards and two touchdowns, adding to an already lethal rushing attack led by senior Jakim McKinney.
Through the air, Wallerstedt has completed 74 of 119 pass attempts for 1,093 yards and 12 touchdowns.
His leadership is the most impressive aspect about him, according to his coaches.
“He is as-advertised, the role-model type,” Crow said. “I have him in my class and he is a quiet kid who always gets his work done. At times he jokes with the guys and knows what buttons to push with everyone.
“Nick knows how to play the chess game on offense and put the pieces into place. That’s huge for us this year.”
The transition for Wallerstedt under Crow and new head coach Rich Wellbrock has been easy. Wallerstedt believes that the new offense allows him to expand his role.
Each play call gives him options. From handing off to McKinney to throwing a screen pass to junior wideout Dominique Davis, Wallerstedt said that his job this season has been easier thanks to the scheme and talent around him.
“It feels great knowing that we have a lot of starters that know what is going on,” Wallerstedt said. “I feel good under Coach Crow’s offense. It feels like a D-I offense and it’s widened my quarterback skills.”
Whether or not Wallerstedt will continue his run as a quarterback at the next level remains to be seen.
When asked about the upcoming baseball season for the Pride, Wallerstedt shakes off the question, saying that it’s “too early.”
His focus remains on football. He hopes to lead the Pride to the playoffs and a chance to play for a state title in December.
“I’m proud of him,” Crow said. “I want him to keep building on his leadership qualities. That will transfer to any sport he plays or whatever he does in the future.”
Desert Vista’s defensive line, including Thomas Jackson (55), who dropped 50 pounds during the off season, was a menace to Mountain Pointe all night long in the Ahwatukee Bowl on Friday. The Thunder ended a six-game skid in the series with a heart-stopping 28-27 win at Karl Kiefer Stadium.
Up just a point in the waning seconds of the rivalry game at Mountain Pointe on Friday night, the Desert Vista “Dawg Pound” defensive line that had stood tall all night made the deciding play.
With the ball on Desert Vista’s side of the field and 11 seconds to play, Mountain Pointe senior quarterback Nick Wallerstedt felt pressure – as he had all game – from the Thunder defensive line, and threw a hurried ball up-for-grabs that was intercepted in the end zone as time expired.
Thunder fans rushed the field as their team escaped with a 28-27 victory in the Ahwatukee Bowl.
The Thunder (6-1) forced three Pride turnovers, including two interceptions and a fumble, largely because of the push up front by the defensive line.
The Thunder defense took away Mountain Pointe’s two leading offensive weapons. Jakim McKinney, the Pride’s senior running back, who was averaging 110 rushing yards a game, carried twice for six yards. Dominic Davis, the Pride’s junior big-play receiver, who was averaging 111 yards a game and a whopping 21 yards a catch, caught five balls for 49 yards (9.8-yard average).
Desert Vista senior lineman Brett Johnson said he believed that the defensive front would have to play extremely well to win the game that Mountain Pointe had dominated with six straight wins and eight in nine years.
Johnson said that the defensive strategy the Thunder implemented worked to perfection.
“I usually play tackle, and I switched with our nose guard, and we played an odd front. That gave me the ability to push the center back as far as I could,” Johnson said. “We saw in film that they pull a lot, so we clogged up a lot of their pulls, and they had two guys on me most of the time, so that allowed space for the other guys to make plays.”
The Thunder defensive front, known as the “Dawg Pound,” caused pressure on nearly every snap, getting into the backfield quickly to hurry Wallerstedt’s passes and hit rushing attempts in the backfield.
Wallerstedt kept the Pride in the game with 205 passing yards (17-29-2) and 131 rushing yards on 12 carries, many of them designed runs.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to ever stop him, but we had to contain him, and our defensive line did that,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said.
The Thunder knew the Pride would try to pound the ball but Mountain Pointe’s backs had a rough go. Because the DV defensive front had the rush under control, the back seven made plays on the ball when it was thrown.
“Our game plan was that us as a defensive line had the running backs, and the secondary was responsible for the other stuff. So, we shut down those runners, and it made it hard for them to move the ball,” senior Tyler Roberts said.
Defensive line coach Derek Kennard, Jr., who nicknamed the line the “Dawg Pound,” said he was disappointed by the gashing Wallerstedt put on the Thunder’s defense with his legs, but was proud of the way his team stuck to the game plan.
“They’re getting better, but it’s nothing that I didn’t already foresee. I knew early on that this was going to be a great group,” Kennard said. “It’s my ninth year coaching, and I’ve had a lot of D-lines. This is a special one, with a lot of talent and depth throughout the whole line.”
With the game on the line in the Ahwatukee Bowl, Kennard said his “Dawg Pound” wanted to be responsible for deciding it. The takeaway for the unit is confidence that it can compete against any offensive line it faces the rest of the season.
“I told them that we’re built for this, we want the game on our back. We always do because I trust they’ll get it done,” Kennard said.
Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds faces off against new Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock in the 22nd annual Ahwatukee Bowl.
For 22 years, Ahwatukee has come together for one night a year, albeit on opposite sides of a stadium, for what has become one of the best high school football rivalries in Arizona.
The annual battle between Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista, separated by just four miles, creates a friendly rivalry in the community, as well, in the game that has become known as the Ahwatukee Bowl.
“Anytime you have two schools right down the street from each other it adds to the intrigue of the game,” said David Hines, executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the governing body of Arizona high school sports. “Especially in this day in age, this is one of the rivalries that is a very great game to be able to go see.”
The 22nd installment of the Ahwatukee Bowl between the Pride and Thunder is Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. at Mountain Pointe’s Karl Kiefer Stadium. The game will be telecast live by YurView Arizona on Cox channels 4 and 1004, and then replayed immediately following the live telecast.
The Ahwatukee Bowl dates to 1997, the first year Desert Vista fielded a varsity football team.
Having already established a tradition under legendary coach Karl Kiefer, Mountain Pointe was victorious in the first-ever meeting.
But Desert Vista, led by yet another legendary prep football coach, Jim Rattay, quickly found success of its own.
As of late, it’s been Mountain Pointe that has dominated the series. The Pride have defeated the Thunder in six straight games and eight of the past nine to regain the series lead, 11-10.
“People in the community will talk across the nail salon or when they enter restaurants and see the schools’ colors,” said Dr. Anna Battle, the chief leadership development officer at ASU Prep. “But ultimately, it reminds them why there was a purpose to live in the community in which they live. It has created a new energy within Ahwatukee. People get really excited about it.”
Before joining the staff at ASU Prep, Battle was an integral part of the rivalry. She was assistant principal and athletic director at Desert Vista for five years and then, after a four-year stint at Tempe High, she returned to DV as principal until 2014.
Battle has seen the rivalry grow to heights she couldn’t imagine back in 1997, especially given the success both programs have had since.
Desert Vista won its first state championship in 1998, just two years after the school opened. In 2011, under current coach Dan Hinds, the Thunder again won the state title.
Two years later, it was Mountain Pointe at the top of prep football in Arizona, as then-coach Norris Vaughan led the Pride to a perfect 14-0 record, the state title and No. 5 national ranking.
The successes of the programs fueled the quest for Ahwatukee bragging rights.
“It’s like two brothers going at it,” said Bruce Kipper, athletic director of the Tempe Union High School District. “It’s about school pride and not letting your brother get the best of you, so to speak.”
Having spent 20 years at Mountain Pointe in various positions, including the last 10 as principal before joining the district staff this year, Kipper often compares the Ahwatukee Bowl to one in his home town in northern Idaho. Kipper spent his high school career playing against a rival just across a river, drawing large crowds similar to the Ahwatukee Bowl.
“You have two large schools in a small community,” Kipper said. “This game draws out people in the community that don’t normally come to the games. They aren’t loyal to either school, but it’s the community aspect that interests them.”
Despite the dominance of Desert Vista in the early years and Mountain Pointe’s dominance in recent years, the intensity and interest in the game remains high across the state, perhaps even more so this season given what has transpired since the two schools last met.
For the first time since 2009, Mountain Pointe has a new coach. Rich Wellbrock was hired to take over for Vaughan in January. The transition for Pride players to the new staff and system has had its challenges, especially given a tough schedule to start the season.
The Pride enter Friday’s contest with Desert Vista at 3-3, but are coming off a dominating performance over previously unbeaten Highland.
Desert Vista is 5-1, its only loss coming against Highland two weeks ago. The Thunder have benefited from a lighter schedule to start the season, but have key victories over Carlsbad (Calif.) and Desert Ridge.
“Desert Vista has some dudes and Mountain Pointe has some dudes,” Kipper said. “I think this has potential to be one of the best games we have ever had in this rivalry.”
If there is one thing that has remained consistent throughout the rivalry, it’s that all expectations go out the window.
“Both programs during the rivalry at times have been very strong,” Battle said. “But with this game, it doesn’t matter what the record of each team is. They are coming to play.”
Can’t make it to to the game Friday night? Stream it FREE here: Tukee Bowl 2018
Week 7 | TUKEE BOWL | Desert Vista @ Mountain Pointe | Friday, October 5th | 7:00 pm | “Blackout” |
No food, open containers or backpacks will be allowed into stadium. A “backpack check” will be available at the small gym for only $1.00.
$3.00 – High school students WITH a current school ID (Must show an actual current high school ID card)
$5.00 – High school students WITHOUT a current school ID
$3.00 – 1st – 8th grade students
$5.00 – Adults
$3.00 – Senior Citizens
Free – children Kindergarten and under
This is a look at the top prospects football fans can see in the azcentral sports Week 8 Game of the Week.
Phoenix Desert Vista and Phoenix Mountain Pointe clash on Friday night at Mountain Pointe in the ‘Ahwatukee Bowl’.
Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson, CB, 6-2, 180, Sr.
He has reduced his college list to Colorado, Florida and Utah. He has said that he will likely announce his college during the first day of the early signing period on Dec. 19. Pleasant-Johnson will have to watch the edges against Desert Vista, which likes to employ a power run game.
Anthony Dedrick, TE/DL, 6-4, 230, Sr.
He is on the edge of getting that break-through Power 5 offer. His current offers are from New Mexico State, San Diego State and South Dakota State. Versatile athlete who could play on either side of the ball.
STILL DECIDING: A look at the top uncommitted prospects
Jakim McKinney, RB, 5-8, 170, Sr.
Somebody needs to jump on this guy. His recruiting stock should be going up after what he has been doing lately, with 768 yards and 10 TDs rushing in 10 games.
SCHEDULE: The list of this week’s football games
Dominique Davis, WR, 6-2, 168, Jr.
He has gotten himself on the major-college coaches’ radar after six strong games. He is averaging 23 yards on 31 catches with eight TDs.
Watch out for: Senior QB Nick Wallterstedt is committed to college baseball but he has recently made big strides. Nobody doubts his speed and his arm strength and accuracy have improved.
Brett Johnson, DT/DL, 6-4, 280, Sr.
Has committed to California but Arizona State still is pursuing him. Johnson’s strength, leverage, athleticism make him one of the more versatile and dynamic defensive linemen in Arizona.
Devon Grubbs, RB, 5-10, 170, Fr.
Only a freshman, but he looks like he could be the next great running back to come through Arizona. He was impressive in the loss to Gilbert Highland, breaking off big runs in the second half. He will only get bigger, stronger, faster. He is headed to Power 5 offers. He is averaging 15 yards on his first 13 varsity carries.
Tyson Grubbs, RB, 5-10, 182, Jr.
He injured his ankle while rushing for 135 yards and a TD against Highland two weeks ago and did not play last week. He has major-college potential, as well. If he can finish strong, he could have big-time Division I offers.
Watch out for: Junior wide receiver Elijah Ervin has the size (6-2, 180) and speed that college coaches like. On a run-oriented team, he leads the Thunder in receiving with 18 catches for 263 yards and four TDs.
To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at email@example.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.
Mountain Pointe High handed Highland High its first loss of the season on Friday, Sept. 28 in Gilbert, Ariz.
The Highland Hawks came into Friday’s contest against Mountain Pointe favored with an undefeated record, while the Pride knew their playoff hopes were likely on the line.
Mountain Pointe’s offense came alive in the first half and held off a valiant comeback effort by Highland to defeat the Hawks, 48-27.
“Coming out of this game, the biggest thing I’m proud of offensively is that all season long when we got a penalty on a drive we didn’t continue to drive and score,” Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock said. “It was real pleasing to see them fight through that adversity.”
The Pride got off to a fast start against Highland in the first half, as quarterback Nick Wallerstedt and running back Jakim Mckinney quickly found success against the Hawks’ defense.
Wallerstedt connected with senior tight end Jerrick Dickson early in the first quarter to give the Pride an early lead. Later in the first, senior running back Jakim Mckinney found his way to the end zone.
Wallerstedt and Mckinney would account for two more scores in the first half to push Mountain Pointe’s lead to 27-7 at halftime.
The senior quarterback shined for Mountain Pointe against a strong Highland defense, completing 15 of his 19 attempts for 163 yards and four touchdowns.
“He was special tonight,” Wellbrock said of Wallerstedt. “He did a little bit of everything. But he still has got a ways to get better.”
Facing a large deficit, Highland flipped a switch coming out of halftime, scoring two quick touchdowns – one of which a fumble — to narrow Mountain Pointe’s lead.
But the Pride answered.
Wallerstedt led Mountain Pointe on a long drive, eventually calling his own number from 10 yards out to once again make it a two-score game.
While Highland again scored to narrow the margin, Mountain Pointe answered, ending the Hawks’ hopes of an undefeated season.
Mountain Pointe’s defensive line played a vital role in the Pride’s upset victory, limiting Highland’s potent run-game.
“Their defensive line caused problems early,” Highland coach Brock Farrel said. “But really we only ran 17 offensive plays in the first half. Three of which were in the last two minutes when we did nothing. We just need to hang on to the ball.”
Highland (6-1) will look to bounce back next week as they travel to take on Corona del Sol (1-6).
As for Mountain Pointe (3-3), the win over talented Highland team is the type of confidence boost the Pride needed heading into the annual Ahwatukee Bowl next week against Desert Vista (5-1).
In his first year as head coach at Mountain Pointe, it will be the first time Wellbrock experiences one of best prep football rivalries in the Arizona. But he is prepared for what it has to offer.
“We know what this rivalry is about and the kids will make sure we are on point next week,” Wellbrock said. “I guarantee you.”
Mountain Pointe 48, Highland 27
Mountain Pointe 20 7 7 14 – 48
Highland 7 0 20 0 – 27
Mtn Pt – Dickson 5 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 7:43
Mtn Pt – McKinney 7 run (Abercrombie kick), 7:01
Highland – Huffman 13 run (Mcnamara kick), 5:15
Mtn Pt – Dickson 10 pass from Wallerstedt (kick failed), 1:24
Mtn Pt – McKinney 1 run (Abercrombie kick), 1:08
Highland – Hester 15 pass from Herbert (Mcnamara kick), 7:58
Highland – Fumble recovery (Mcnamara kick), 7:51
Mtn Pt – Wallerstedt 10 run (Abercrombie kick), 3:54
Highland – Cullimore 64 run (kick failed), 1:43
Mtn Pt – Davis 17 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 3:48
Mtn Pt – Washington 30 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 1:29
Mountain Pointe–McKinney 29-114, Sanders 16-85, Wallerstedt 12-119, Dickson 2-4. Highland – Cullimore 10-167, Huffman 3-38, Herbert 2-4.
Mountin Pointe – Wallerstedt 15-19-163. Highland – Herbert 9-13-89.
Mountain Pointe – Dickson 2-13, Washington 6-93, Williams 1-4, Davis 4-53, Sanders 1-5, McKinney 1-12. Highland – Burdick 2-18, Crandell 4-25, Hester 1-13, Cullimore 1-8, Huffman 1-23.
Mtn Pt Highland
First Downs 29 8
Rush Yards 59-322 15-209
Comp-Att-Int 15-19-0 9-13-0
Pass Yards 163 89
Total Yards 485 298
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 2/2
Penalties 6-58 5-42
Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney prepares to squeeze through a hole and score to close the first half in Pride’s 48-27 win over Highland. (AzPreps365 photo).
September 28, 2018 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock has been patient with his team as they grow together in year one of his tenure. Wellbrock has said severall times he believes Mountain Pointe will be a different team come October.
October arrives in two days and Wellbrock may be on to something. Mountain Pointe was impressive all night on offense with quarterback Nick Wallerstedt piloting five 80-yard scoring drives and accounting for five touchdowns as the Pride knocked Highland from the unbeaten ranks with a 48-27 victory at Highland.
Mountain Pointe, No. 12 this week in the 6A power rankings, evened its record at 3-3 and bounced back impressively from a tough 29-28 loss to Queen Creek a week ago. Highland (6-1), under second-year coach Brock Farrel, was No. 1 in the power-rankings this week. Highland is 14-5 with Farrel at the helm and three of the five losses are to Mountain Pointe.
Wallerstedt, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior, completed TD passes of 5, 10, 17 and 30 yards to four different receivers. He added a fifth TD on a 10-yard run with 3:54 left in the third quarter . That TD served to a potential huge rally by Highland in the thrid period that saw the Hawks shave a 27-7 halftime lead to 27-21.
“We were emotionally invested this week,” Wellbrock said. “We played with more of a sense of urgency. Nick was special tonight. He did a little bit of everything.”
Wallerstedt rushed for 120 yards on 14 carries and completed 15 of 19 passes for 190 yards. In the first period he connected on 7 of 8 passes in a 20-point quarter. In the fourth period he was 5 for 5 as the Pride tacked on two scores to cut Highland’s comeback bid short.
Mountain Pointe got its offense rolling early mixing the run and pass in the first quarter that saw the Pride bolt to a 14-0 lead. Wallerstedt tossed the first of his four TD passes for the first score to Eli Sanders. The pride stunned Highland for a the second TD 42 seconds after the first. A fumble set Mountain Pointe up at Highland’s 36 and three plays later senior running back Jakim McKinney tallied from 8 yards out.
Mountain Pointe’s rushing attack was more than just Wallerstedt. The Pride netted a tad more than 300 yards for the game. McKinney checked in with 126 yards on 34 carries and Sanders added 67 yards on 17 rushes.
Highland pulled within 14-7 as its offense cranked out a scoring drive on its second possession. Dayton Huffman did the honors with a 13-yard run. That was all for Highland’s offense in the first half as they went to intermission down by 20.
As dominant as Mountain Pointe was in the first half, running 45 plays to 16 for Highland and having the ball for 18 of 24 minutes. its 27-7 lead nearly vanished. The Hawks drove 69 yards to begin the second half with quarterback Kaleb Herbert completing five passes for 58 yards, including the score to tight end Kyle Hester.
Seven seconds later an untouched McKinney fumbled and the ball was snatched out of the air and returned 20 yards for a TD by Highland defensive eend Cooper Holman. The large Pride lead was a single TD now midway through the third period.
Wallerstedt followed up and marched Mountain Pointe 80 yards in four minutes for its only score of the third period. Wallerstedt rushed for 48 yards on the drive.
Kohner Culliimore had several long runs, including a 64-yard jaunt to paydirt that briefly closed the gap to a TD again as the third period ended. Cullimore carried eight times for 149 yards.