Mountain  Pointe’s varsity football team likely will lose defensive star Matthew Pola-Mao to Chandler.
Special to AFN

Star defensive lineman Matthew Pola-Mao is leaving Mountain Pointe High School and transferring to two-time defending state champion Chandler High.

The move comes on the heels of a season that saw Pola-Mao sidelined most of it after tallying 102 tackles contributing to three-and-a-half sacks in his freshman and sophomore years.

His move also follows the departure of longtime Mountain Pointe head coach Norris Vaughan, who moved back to Georgia.

Mountain Pointe recently hired Rich Wellbrock to replace him after a one year stint at Basha. Wellbrock also coached at Desert Edge for several years, capturing a state championship in 2015.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s rules on transferring athletes requires Pola-Mao to prove a hardship in order to play for Chandler.

If he cannot do that, the No. 9-ranked defensive tackle in the 2019 class, according to, will have to miss the first five games of the 2018 season.

“I moved houses. It’s as simple as that. That’s the reason why,” Pola-Mao said.

According to Chandler’s schedule, if Pola-Mao misses the first five games of this coming season, he would be eligible to return for Premier Region games. But he would miss matchups against Centennial, California, as well as Queen Creek, Mesa and a matc-up in Vegas.

If a player transfers a second time, that athlete must miss an entire season.

Transferring has become a recent phenomenon in high school athletics, with players moving schools in order to gain more exposure in their college recruiting.

Chaparral sophomore quarterback Jack Miller is one player who recently went through this. After losing a family friend to a car accident outside the stadium at Scottsdale Christian Academy, the star quarterback transferred to Chaparral.

After receiving a five-game suspension, Miller appealed the decision and won his case, allowing him to play after missing the first two games of the season

But every case is different and depends on each individual situation. The AIA will have to go through the official process of the hardship appeal, but Pola-Mao said that he simply just moved houses.

As one of the top recruits in the country, Pola-Mao announced his top college choices earlier in January.

Posting a picture on his Twitter profile with the schools – Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Tennessee, Utah and USC. His older brother, Isaiah, plays safety at USC and picked off 10 passes and deflected 18 more while 100 tackles in his senior year at Mountain Pointe.

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