The response is the true telling point.
Rare is the undefeated season. Teams lose. Kids walk back to the locker room a little bit slower. Coaches question decisions and will probably stay up way too late re-thinking things.
Mountain Pointe (6-1) and Desert Vista (5-2) have come across this ritual in recent weeks as the Pride lost to Brophy two weeks ago and the Thunder went down to Hamilton on Friday.
With three weeks left in the regular season, the reactions to such setbacks reveal the true identity of a team.
Thunder senior quarterback Matt Young was one of those Desert Vista players taking his time to get off the field against Hamilton. It was clear he was bit frustrated, but Young was already thinking about what’s next.
“Live and learn,” he said. “We are learning every day and sometimes you need to get punched in the face to learn a new lesson.”
“You can’t fall behind a team like that,” Young said of the 16-0 halftime deficit in a 23-13 loss.
So maybe, that’s not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, but sometimes the small things become big things.
The Thunder have two games to get healthy – mentally and physically (Zack Tamburo’s high ankle sprain) – against teams with a combined two wins before facing Chandler (5-2) in the regular season finale.
Putting together some sustained drives and making stops the next two weeks will build Desert Vista back to where it needs to be to close out the year.
With a seemingly soft schedule before taking on the Wolves, the Thunder’s biggest challenge could very well be in practice this week. If they come out Monday and have a good practice from start to finish, the process of rebuilding begins.
If that first practice hits a bump or two, it could make for a long week with the coaches not letting up, but maybe one that is needed for a team that doesn’t seem to have found its rhythm to this point, at least against top competition.
“We have to get it together,” Young said.
Thunder coach Dan Hinds intimated last week that he prefers the tough finish (Hamilton and Chandler) heading into the postseason.
Mountain Pointe has an easier run, although Mountain View is becoming more formidable by the week, and the Pride got a chance to respond to last week’s defeat with a 55-35 romp of Corona del Sol on Friday, as Jalen Brown was featured.
The junior had seven catches for 251 yards and four touchdowns, including a halfback pass from Garette Craig to Brown for the 74-yard score to open scoring for the night.
“We call it the quick pitch halfback pass, it got us excited and gave us some momentum early and that was big for us,” Brown said.
It was the type of game where the team could have some fun on the sidelines down the stretch. The Mountain Pointe coaching staff went to work this past week and corrected some things that were exposed in the Brophy loss.
In other words, it was a true telling point of where Mountain Pointe is with the first-round of the playoffs just a month out. Desert Vista is about to go through the same growth period.
How the defending champions respond might tell the story before it fully unfolds.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.