Mountain Pointe is expected to have one of the best offenses in the state this football season so it wasn’t all that surprising the Pride won the Northern Arizona 7-on-7 passing tournament.
Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan was pleased, of course, but not simply because of the win. The Pride showed exactly how much depth they have considering they played without their top wide receiver and the entire secondary.
Jalen Brown (ankle), Markell Simmons (shin) and Josh Moses were all held out of the event while Dominique Fenstermacher played a little before a hip injury forced him out.
It forced lineup changes – linebacker Trey Lauer played safety – and reserves to step up and they did.
“Some people were called on and they answered,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “Our offense was unstoppable most of the time, but we were able to win it with our secondary out. That’s what impressed me the most about our performance.”
Players like Keondre Churchwell, Ernie de la Trinidad, Dalton Thorpe, Vidal Daniels, Austin Cronen and Paul Lucas got a chance to show what they could do and didn’t disappoint while linebacker Wesley Payne continued to play like a beast.
Offensively, Vaughan said he three of his players – quarterback Antonio Hinojosa, wide receivers Timmy Hernandez and Emmanuel Butler – could have been named MVP while Tyree Shivers and Kawuan Ellis were also big contributors as they scored on every possession of the weekend but one.
Butler came away with the MVP honor along with his first scholarship offer as the Lumberjacks stepped up with the good news at the end of event.
“I got a big smile and ran over to my teammates,” Butler said. “Everyone clapped and it was just a great feeling. I know I can go into the season having a scholarship and now I can keep working hard to get as many as I can.”
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