The Ahwatukee Bowl is here.

Take cover.

Ok, maybe that is a little much considering everyone I have talked to seems to think that is a rivalry built on respect and not disrespect.

However, it plays out I am excited to attend my first one. In an ideal world, the game wouldn't be this week. It would come in the final regular season game of the year like it was the last few years when the two schools were in the same region.

That's how I like my rivalries - with a full season of drama building up before the big game.

I come from Ohio where the Buckeyes played Michigan in the final game. My high school did the same thing, facing those hated Mustangs in Week 10 with the conference title on the line nearly every year.

Does that mean the Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista game has lost some luster because it comes in September instead of late October or November? I've never been part of one so I don't know, but of all of the people I talked to no one mentioned it.

Maybe it is old news because it's the second year and it wasn't always the final game before then anyway.

This one has the makings of a good game, which doesn't happen often in the series. Only three of the 13 games have had a winning margin less than 14 points.

But when they are close, they are pretty special.

In 2000, the game went to five - yes, five - overtimes times before Brock Rideout kicked a 25-yard field goal for the 38-35 win for Desert Vista.

The Thunder won the 2003 game with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to erase a three-point third quarter deficit in a 34-30 win.

Mountain Pointe's 23-21 win in 2004 was a historic one as Karl Kiefer became the first Arizona coach to win 300 games when Andrew Strickland kicked a 38-yard field with less than five minutes remaining for the win.

I think this year's game has the makings of a similar tension-filled game rather than the blowout version (the other 10 games have an average win margin of 28.8 points).

Mountain Pointe's defense has been solid - the front seven has been down-right dominant - but the defensive backfield has given up some big pass plays. The loss of last year's starting safety Kameron Robinson, who moved to Texas for his senior year, can't be understated.

The Pride (2-1) are fine defensively, but on offense the team is still finding an identity.

The offensive line has had some in-season changes, the running backs have had injuries, suspensions and missed some holes. The passing game has been good at times, but last week when the Chandler Basha covered up Garrett Holle the big plays dried up.

They are not tearing off big chunks of yardage in the running game like last season in Norris Vaughan's first year.

Who is to blame? Davon Jones for being too old? He had an amazing year and it is hard to expect someone to replace DeAndre Currie and/or Jones.

One of the offensive coaches told me they are searching and searching. They are still trying to find the right combination of pass, run and personnel.

Desert Vista (2-0) is young and growing up each week. I've only seen them once and the first week against Tucson wasn't pretty with the penalties and little discipline as far as personal fouls and unnecessary roughness are concerned.

But the team had a nice all-around effort on the road last week in beating Phoenix Pinnacle 28-7.

The defense gave up a touchdown on the first drive and not much after that, while junior quarterback Hunter Rodriguez got comfortable in his second-career start as he had three touchdown passes.

And the Thunder haven't had arguably their best player - running back/linebacker Mike Arredondo - on the field yet because of knee injury sustained in the team's scrimmage.

What does it all mean?

My gut tells me Mountain Pointe, but I couldn't tell ya for sure because a good rivalry - which is what I am hoping to find tonight - is always difficult to predict.



(2) comments

ecota Staff

My question Jason is, are you wearing black or white today? :)

Not sure, which is which, but I will be wearing something completely impartial that is for sure.

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