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As the saying goes, Jimmies and Joes trump X’s and O’s.
The City of Mesa held a grand opening event on Dec. 4 for a new mixed-use development that will provide housing for low- to moderate-income families.
Mountain Pointe had a purpose when it got off the bus in Las Vegas three months ago.
Bishop Gorman’s Randall Cunningham Jr. scored on a 1-yard run with 2 minutes and 56 seconds left in the third quarter against Mountain Pointe on Aug. 23.
Although gas prices have bumped up for Thanksgiving week, the cost to fill the tank is still the lowest it’s been around Turkey Day in three years.
No. 4 Desert Ridge vs. No. 1 Mountain Pointe (at McClintock H.S.): The easy pick is Mountain Pointe. After all, the Pride have been in a league of their from day 1 when they beat Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) on Gorman’s home field in late August. Nobody has stopped the Pride since, a rare combination of offensive balance, a defense, clearly defined leaders, excellent coaching, and something of a chip on their shoulder after losing handily in last year’s state championship game. Desert Ridge possess much the same, yet because of a little-used passing game and wonderment about the competition it’s faced to date, question marks still linger. The Jaguars are going to use Player of the Year candidate Taren Morrison and run right at the Pride, testing Mountain Pointe’s willingness to be physical and disciplined on every snap the entire game. Miss one, and Morrison is gone; the big plays are how Desert Ridge has broken the big-school, single-season rushing record. The difference here being Mountain Pointe’s defense is about as good as Desert Ridge has seen this year, and the Pride’s balance on offense tips the scales ever so slightly. As with all games, coaching at this level is pretty much a wash because how good they are with game plans and adjustments. If rain is a factor, Desert Ridge might gain an advantage on a slow, wet field. If not, it’s hard to go against the grain, even if it’ll be a tremendous game.
Prediction: Mountain Pointe 24, Desert Ridge 21
Well, that was interesting.
The Hamilton football team was beat up physically heading into Friday night’s showdown against Mountain Pointe, as several key players sat out with injuries.
The Pride were far and away the most impressive team in the first half of the season. They began it with a win over nationally ranked Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, added a thumping of Chandler and, on Friday, outclassed Hamilton from start to finish to improve to 6-0. Mountain Pointe has a fantastic defense and a pair of offensive stars in running back Paul Lucas and wide receiver Jalen Brown. The Pride should run the table and head into the Division I state tournament as the top seed and title favorite.
Honorable mention: Desert Ridge, Queen Creek.
3. Salpointe Catholic...
2. Desert Ridge...
1. Mountain Pointe...
Westview is undefeated and currently sits as one of the five best teams in the state. Chandler moves up to No. 4 with last week's big win against Hamilton. Tucson Salpointe has been one of the most impressive teams in the state, and even though it is a Division II team, there was consideration of putting the Lancers second. Instead, Desert Ridge gets the nod behind its impressive defense and running game. Not surprisingly, Mountain Pointe is ranked as the best team in the state. The Pride has already knocked off Chandler, Hamilton and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman this season and is likely one of the top teams in the nation.
Ever since Paul Lucas dazzled the state with his electric 100-meter dash state title run last spring, he figured to be an asset for the Mountain Pointe football team.
Yes, it’s only late September. No, Hamilton and Mountain Pointe had no interest in playing one another during the regular season.
Curt Schilling famously downplayed the New York Yankees’ mystique and aura heading into the 2001 World Series.
Here it is: The showdown everyone’s been waiting for. Hamilton is 4-0 but has struggled in its past two games and has various injuries to key players. Mountain Pointe, meanwhile, has been a buzzsaw, beating up nationally ranked Las Vegas Bishop Gorman and cruising past Chandler on its way to a 5-0 start. The Pride won’t have star linebacker/running back Wesley Payne because of a dislocated elbow, but still enters this game as the favorite. Hamilton has the best defensive line in the state, led by standout end Qualen Cunningham, and its championship pedigree should not be discounted. The Huskies’ biggest question mark is their offense. If they can’t move the ball effectively on the ground, it’s going to be very tough to win this game. Mountain Pointe has more explosiveness and rose to the challenge in its first two big matchups. The Pride lost to Hamilton in last year’s title game, but a win here would make them the favorites to capture that title in 2013...
Prediction: Mountain Pointe 20, Hamilton 10
-- Kyle Odegard...
The biggie, and it’ll be jam-packed on both sides’ bleachers. Let’s ignore the past results between these two teams because it has little bearing on this potential outcome, except to say there’s no chance Mountain Pointe is intimidated by Hamilton (which is key because lots of schools are even before they play the game). The Pride lost RB/LB Wesley Payne to injury last week and that’s a big deal for the Pride, but Hamilton (despite the roster numbers) has it worse for the moment with injuries. That’s a big factor here, because Hamilton’s offense wasn’t blowing people away when healthy. Mountain Pointe’s defense can come close to Hamilton’s physicality and size up front, and though the loss of Payne hurts MP on several levels, the Pride were still quite successful both running the ball and defensively against Chandler last week. Hamilton must force Mountain Pointe to drive the length of the field and get a couple turnovers to create extra chances and short fields for its offense. Of course it may happen, but however good you think Hamilton is or isn’t, it’s ludicrous to think a team with this defense and this well-coached is likely to lose by a substantial margin, and the Huskies are big fans of this “underdog” mentality this week (when was the last time Hamilton was considered an underdog against an Arizona school)? This one goes to Mountain Pointe in pretty close fashion, but if the Huskies are healthier by regular season’s end, all bets are off come possible playoff redux...
Prediction: Mountain Pointe 20, Hamilton 14
-- Mark Heller
Mountain Pointe's impressive season continued on Friday night with an emphatic 38-14 victory over No. 4 Chandler. Team leader Wesley Payne went out early with a dislocated elbow, but that didn't stop the Pride. The team now has big-time wins over Bishop Gorman and Chandler. Even though Hamilton beat the Pride in last year's state championship game, Mountain Pointe has been the most dominant team in Division I in 2013 and has overtaken the Huskies for the top spot in the rankings.
Chandler has the look of a football team destined to make a deep run in the Division I postseason.
Mesquite's Alex Trevino and Tyler Williams shot a 1-over 37 to tie for first place individually, as the Wildcats shot a team best 154 to beat McClintock (203) and Casa Grande (240) at Kokopelli Golf Course.
200 Relay: MDN 1:52.14
Ka’wuan Ellis might have overshot it just a tad, but he still has some bragging rights.
It’s a lot of fun to watch the East Valley’s best go toe-to-toe throughout the season, and there will be no shortage of those heavyweight showdowns in upcoming weeks.
Most followers are drooling over the Hamilton vs. Mountain Pointe matchup next week, but this is easily the marquee game of the week, so nobody is putting any carts before the horses here. Speaking of horses, both sides have them aplenty. Chandler showed its vast potential against a good Centennial team in Week 1, then hammered slightly-lesser competition until last week. The Wolves led a top-5 team in the country in St. John Bosco (Calif.) 28-17 at halftime, but Bosco put up 35 points in the second half to pull away. Still, Chandler made little bones about its ability to play with anyone, and that includes Mountain Pointe. The Pride perked up everyone’s ears in beating (Las Vegas) Bishop Gorman in the Barry Sollenberger Classic, but the Pride haven’t been tested to any significant degree since then. Both sides know that will obviously change here, and there’s no reason to think this year’s meeting couldn't be even better-played and just as wild an ending as the 2012 meeting. Which team either scores last, or can stop the other one more time?
Prediction: Mountain Pointe 34, Chandler 31
Timmy Hernandez wasn’t always making over-the-shoulder catches in the corner of the end zone.
Sure, 16 of 29 Division I football teams are going to make the playoffs, but you can argue that could be as much a curse for several schools as it might be a blessing to have a playoff game experience.
In 2006, the Hamilton football program began a trend of venturing out from Arizona to play some of the nation’s premier teams. The Huskies have acquitted themselves well in these high-profile matchups, winning several and staying competitive in the losses, proving they deserve mention among the country’s top programs.
No one has ever questioned Paul Lucas' speed.