Running game leads Mountain Pointe to third win. - Mountain Pointe’s Jakim McKinney, #33, evades a Mountain View tackle on... [ read more ]

Pride, Thunder both take to the road Friday after big wins - Marshawn Gibson marches down the field to start the fourth quarter against... [ read more ]

Mountain Pointe avenges state title loss, upsets Chandler on the road - Tyre Johnson carries the ball against Chandler Friday night at Austin... [ read more ]

Mountain Pointe football upsets Chandler on the road - Richard Morin, azcentral sportsPublished 10:14 p.m. MT Sept. 8,... [ read more ]

Pride seeks revenge in game against Chandler tonight - After intercepting his pass, MP’s Isaiah Palo-Mao tries to jump over... [ read more ]

Football Game Preview: Chandler vs. Mountain Pointe - Wednesday, September 6, 2017  |  By: Staff... [ read more ]

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.  

     

     

    Mountain Pointe running back Gary Bragg, returning from an ACL injury that kept him out for most of the 2016 season, ran for three touchdowns Friday night against Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.   [Photo by Carmen Jollineau]

    Mountain Pointe makes early statement in rout of O’Connor

    By Eddie Poe, Tribune Contributor | Updated 

    Mountain Pointe wasted no time showing why it is the No. 2-ranked high school football team in Arizona.

    Gary Bragg and Delano Salgado ran through and around the defense of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor with ease on Friday night, cruising to a 46-6 rout at Jack Dillard Stadium in their season opener.

    “I’m really proud of the way we came out and played,” coach Norris Vaughan said. “We had a few dropped balls, a few miscues here and there but I thought we played really well.”It looked at first like No.2 Mountain Pointe was going to be faced with a challenge as they were forced to punt the ball away on their first two drives.

    The challenge was short-lived as Bragg took a handoff from quarterback Nick Wallerstedt on the following drive, made two O’Connor defensive players miss, and sped down the left side of the field for a 47-yard run.

    It later set up Wallerstedt for an 11-yard quarterback draw to score the first points of the game.From that point on, Mountain Pointe grasped hold of the flow of the game and never looked back.“It was good to be able to come out and control the game like we did and go at our own pace,” Braggs said, who finished the game with three rushing touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Pride defense mauled opposing quarterback Christian King to the tune of no first downs allowed in the first half.

    One of the questions for Mountain Pointe coming into their season opener was whether their defense would present the same type of aggressiveness and force without their star defensive lineman, Matthew Palo-Mao, who was lost for the season to injury. “I wish we had him but we had a number of other guys behind him step up and really perform,” Vaughan said. “A guy goes down, other players step in and do their job. That’s all you can ask for.”

    With a week off before their next game, Mountain Pointe will begin preparing for the national stage as they’ll travel to California on Aug. 31 to take on Chaminade High School. The following week, they’ll return home for a matchup with Chandler — a game that’s been marked on their calendar since last season’s state final loss. 

    The reality of two early season games on a national stage is crucial for Mountain Pointe’s success in the long run.“[Those] games are definitely going to help us later on in the season,” Wallerstedt said. “We’ll see two of the better teams in the country and after that it’ll just be about treating every game like we’re playing [Chandler] or [Chaminade] because you never know what’s going to happen.” 

    Although the preparation for those two matchups will be fairly similar to any other game, there’s no arguing the heightened importance of them. “We always want to play the best teams to start off the season,” Vaughan said. “We think [they] will help us tremendously for the rest of the season.”

    “But, they’ll both be just like any other game.”

     

    The 2017 high school football season is here.

    Here are the top teams in each conference, as well as our preseason picks and our initial rankings.

    Arizona high school football conference previews, rankings

    , The Republic | azcentral.comPublished 2:01 p.m. MT Aug. 17, 2017

    No. 1 Chandler

    Among the top 10 in the country by USA TODAY.

    No. 2 Phoenix Mountain Pointe

    Big, physical, fast and determined to finish strong this time.

    No. 3 Gilbert Perry

    QB Brock Purdy bigger, stronger and back for more after leading historic season.

    No. 4 Mesa Red Mountain 

    Lance Lawson on strong defense will be a difference maker.

    No. 5 Phoenix Desert Vista

    Coach Dan Hinds’ best team since the 2011 champs.

    No. 6 Chandler Hamilton

    QB Tyler Shough leads a strong senior class.

    No. 7 Phoenix Pinnacle

    Junior QB Spencer Rattler’s time to stack wins.

    No. 8 Mesa Desert Ridge

    Eight sophomore starters, but they’re really good.

    No. 9 Phoenix Horizon

    Under the radar no more.

    No. 10 Chandler Basha

    Coach Rich Wellbrock is ready to wake the monster.

    More: Arizona high school football 2017 schedule – Zero Week

    Mountain Pointe wide receiver Kenny Churchwell makes a one-handed catch.  (Photo: Arizona Republic)

    Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6-2, 185, Sr.

    5 interceptions, 11 deflections in 2016.

    American Family Insurance ALL-USA Arizona preseason football team 2017

    , azcentral sportsPublished 5:09 p.m. MT Aug. 15, 2017 | Updated 4:53 p.m. MT Aug. 17, 2017

     

    This is the 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Arizona preseason football team.

    Offense

    Quarterback

    Brock Purdy, Gilbert Perry, 6-1, 197, Sr.

    All-Arizona last season, despite missing the first three games, and putting up 3,333 yards and 42 TDs passing and running for 842 yards and six scores.

    Running back

    Zidane Thomas, Peoria Centennial, 5-10, 205, Sr.

    A 2,000-yard rusher last year, turned loose this week after having hardship approved by AIA.

    Running back

    Draycen Hall, Gilbert Higley, 5-8, 165, Sr.

    Scored 40 TDs and had 3,908 all-purpose yards in 2016.

    Center

    Max Wilhite, Goodyear Desert Edge, 6-3, 300, Sr.

    Fourth-year varsity starter.

    Lineman

    Matteo Mele, Tucson Salpointe Catholic, 6-6, 275, Sr.

    Washington commit added 20 pounds since last season.

    Lineman

    David Watson, Tucson Amphitheater, 6-6, 300, Sr.

    Committed to Arizona, where both of his parents played sport.

    Lineman

    Ralph Frias, Safford, 6-7, 320, Sr.

    Started at left tackle since freshman year.

    Lineman

    Joey Ramos, Glendale Deer Valley, 6-4, 290, Sr.

    Rated No. 1 offensive lineman in Arizona for 2017 season by azcentral sports.

    Tight end

    James Stagg, Phoenix Desert Vista, 6-4, 241, Sr.

    Will remind people of former Desert Vista standout Zach Miller.

    Wide receiver

    Solomon Enis, Phoenix North Canyon, 6-4, 190, Sr.

    Has ASU, UA in his final seven. 

    Wide receiver

    Gunner Romney, Chandler, 6-3, 200, Sr.

    BYU commit had 70 catches for 1,309 yards, nine TDs last season.

    All purpose

    Lance Lawson, Mesa Red Mountain, 5-9, 185, Sr.

    All-Arizona last year, he is a game changer on both sides of the ball, will be go-to guy on offense.

    Defense

    Tackle

    Chris Manoa, Chandler, 6-0, 300, Sr.

    41 tackles, 4 sacks, 8 QB hurries on 6A title team

    Tackle

    Kai Golden, Marana Mountain View, 6-2, 295, Sr.

    40 tackles, 9 for losses in 2016

    End

    Aaron Romero, Mesa Skyline, 6-3, 245, Sr.

    Ready to emerge on the scene as a pass rusher

    End

    Ty Robinson, Gilbert Higley, 6-5, 255, Jr.

    With Jason Harris out, watch for this guy to blow it up in the backfield.

    Linebacker

    Calib McRae, Marana Mountain View, 6-1, 227, Jr.

    39 tackles, 2 sacks in 4 games before injury last season.

    Linebacker

    Brayden Flynn, Chandler, 6-3, 220, Sr.

    Transfer from Hamilton, had 14.5 sacks last year.

    Linebacker

    Giovanni Miranda, Scottsdale Saguaro, 6-4, 205, Sr.

    Game changer on both sides of ball.

    Back

    Dom Hampton, Peoria Centennial, 6-2, 185, Sr.

    30 solo tackles, 2 forced fumbles last year.

    Back

    Kenny Churchwell, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6-2, 185, Sr.

    5 interceptions, 11 deflections in 2016.

    Back

    Josiah Bradley, Saguaro, 6-1, 194

    Fast, athletic safety had 3 interceptions, 8 deflections during 4A title season.

    Back

    Donjae Logan, Mesa Desert Ridge, 5-11, 170, Sr.

    Stanford commit had 33 solo tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 deflections in 2016.

    Special teams

    Kicker

    Brayden Narveson, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, 6-0, 190, Sr.

    Watch to emerge as team’s full-time kicker after he made a 51-yard field goal last season.

    Punter

    Carlos Ritchie, Laveen Cesar Chavez, 6-1, 175, Sr.

    Good all-around athlete who averaged 43 yards a punt last season with seven inside the 20-yard line.

    Long snapper

    Slater Zellers, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep, 6-1, 220, Sr.

    The No.1-ranked long snapper in the nation by Kohl’s, he has committed to California.

    Kick returner

    Aiden Diggs, Goodyear Millennium, 6-0, 170, Sr.

    He was second in the nation in average kickoff return yardage last season with 44.7 in 15 attempts.

    Punt returner

    Keishaud White, Phoenix Desert Vista, 5-6, 160, Sr.

    Two years ago, the only two punts he returned went for touchdowns.

    To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.

    Kimberly Carrillo/AFN Photographer
    “If we can stay healthy, we have a chance to get back to the state championship game, there’s no question,” Vaughn said.

    Hut, hut! Pride, Thunder ready for the 2017 season

    • By Greg Macafee, AFN Sports Editor  

    Ahwatukee always has at least one successful high school football team. But in 2017, the community will have two teams with the talent to make a run for a state championship.

    Last year ended the same way for both Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools – with losses to Chandler High in the Class 6A State Tournament. Desert Vista was knocked out in the quarterfinals, while Mountain Pointe made a run to the state championship game.

    The Pride finished the season ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and had beaten Chandler High earlier in the fall by 45 points.

    On its run to the championship and throughout the season, however, the Pride suffered numerous injuries. In its semifinal victory over Red Mountain High the team lost at least four starters.

    This season, the Pride will return with another strong defense featuring defensive backs Kenny Churchwell and Delano Salgado, who combined for 93 tackles and six interceptions.

    But injuries already have impacted the 2017 Pride.

    The defensive line will be missing Matthew Pola-Mao, who will miss the season due to injury, head coach Norris Vaughn said.

    Nevertheless, Vaughn said he likes his team’s chances if his players can avoid more major injuries.

    “If we can stay healthy, we have a chance to get back to the state championship game, there’s no question,” Vaughn said.

    Desert Vista is also feeling confident about its chances on the gridiron.

    “I feel like teams are going to have to try and win by their defense,” leading tackler Larry Davis said. “They gotta win by not letting our offense score because I don’t think a lot of people are going to score. Our defense is pretty stacked.”

    For Mountain Pointe, look for Jacob Olsen and Shomari Hayes to fill the void left by the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Pola-mao.

    Olsen led the team in sacks in 2016 with six and made 87 tackles as well. Hayes was another big piece of the Prides hard-hitting defense last season, racking up 74 tackles, 11.5 of them being for a loss.

    The Pride will have a stout defense in 2017, but they will also have another solid offense.

    Tailback Gary Bragg returns from an ACL injury that ended his junior season after rushing for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games. They will also return quarterback Nick Wallerstedt, who filled in for injured Noah Grover last season, throwing for 558 yards and four touchdowns.

    Salgado will also have a significant role in the offense for the Pride. The senior tailback rushed for 730 yards and six touchdowns last season.

    After a 7-5 season, the Desert Vista Thunder are looking to return strong in 2017 with a potent offense and an even stronger defense.

    They finished their run in 2016 with a devastating 62-7 loss against eventual state champion Chandler High in the quarterfinals, after finishing the regular season ranked 10th in Class 6A.

    Although Desert Vista graduated starting QB Nick Thomas and leading rusher Lelon Dillard, the Thunder still have several returning players who will have a larger role in 2017.

    With Nevada transplant quarterback Derek Kline under center, the Thunder will boast an offense with plenty of weapons, both in the backfield and on the outside.

    James Stagg and Keishaud White both return to the offense after combining for nine touchdowns and 750-plus receiving yards last season.

    Defensively, head coach Daniel Hinds said, the Thunder is returning its entire secondary as well as Davis, who made 93 tackles last season and racked up 6.5 sacks as well.

    Caleb Humphrey and Stagg also return to a defense that could be dangerous throughout the season.

    Of course, a highlight of the season will come Sept. 28, when Desert Vista hosts its crosstown rival in the Tukee Bowl.

    Last year’s Tukee Bowl saw seniors on both sides scoring all 43 points of a 27-16 Mountain Pointe win.

    Rashie Hodge Jr. and Antwaun Woodberry combined for three touchdowns on the ground while Noah Grover found Isaiah Pola-mao through the air for the only passing touchdown of the game.

    For Desert Vista, Lelon Dillard found the end zone on the ground and senior kicker Riley Erickson put two field goals and an extra point through the uprights.

    Both Ahwatukee teams always provide exciting matchups for the bowl game.


    “Everything about it, you have this community two schools in it, the kids know each other,” Hinds said. “It’s just fun to be a part of.”

     

     

    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.

    JV & Varsity  |  Thursday, July 20  |  7:15 pm  |  Gymnasium

    Freshmen  |  Wednesday, August 2  |  7:15 pm  |  Gymnasium

    Sponsor MPHS Football

     

    Click here to submit a SPONSOR AD for the 2017 Football Program – Deadline July 1, 2017

     

    Player / Cheer / Student Ads

     

    Click here to submit a PLAYER AD for the 2017 Football Program – Deadline August 1, 2017

     

    All parents are invited to attend monthly booster meetings.

    2017-2018 meeting dates:  

    • June 13
    • July 18
    • August 8
    • September 12
    • October 17
    • November 14
    • December 12
    • January 9
    • February 13
    • March 13
    • April 10
    • May 8

    7:00 pm  |  Room E-204