Norris Vaughan is man of conviction with strong beliefs and high standards.

He might be a bit stubborn, too.

So when the Mountain Pointe football coach says the Pride are co-East Valley Region champions, there is a tendency to believe him.

Now the folks on Crismon Rd. in Mesa that call themselves Jaguars might have a different opinion as Desert Ridge and Mountain Pointe finished with identical 5-1 records in region action after Friday's results.

Desert Ridge, which beat Perry 45-7 last night, won the head-to-head battle 44-22 on Oct. 15 so that would seem to give the Jaguars the crown, but Vaughan said there are no written by-laws or tie-breakers that determine champions in this kind of scenario.

"I've never seen any kind of tie breaker so we are co-champions," Vaughan said. "If there is something that says otherwise, have it sent over to me. Until then we are region champs."

While there might be some confusion as far as that goes, there is no mistaking the way the Pride (8-2) is playing heading to the postseason after manhandling Marcos de Niza 27-7 at Karl Kiefer Field.

The win secured a home game in first-round of the Class 5A Division I state playoffs and early projections have Mountain Pointe as the fifth seed hosting No. 12 Mesa Red Mountain, which lost 28-17 to Desert Vista.

The official announcement comes at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Mountain Pointe, which enters the postseason with a three-game win streak, set the tone early against Marcos (8-2, 4-2) by eating up nearly nine minutes on its first offensive drive that led to a score and then the defense forced a three-and-out on the Padres' first offensive series.

"It was extremely important for us to control the clock against them," senior offensive tackle Chris Carl said. "It set the tempo. It felt to put it good to put it away against them."

The Pride ran the ball the first nine play selections (although the first play of the game was quarterback scramble) before Pride quarterback Kyle Faunce found Garrett Holle on a 5-yard pass for a 7-0 lead as the Pride converted four third downs on the 73-yard drive.

Mountain Pointe pushed the lead out to 17-0 on a Kevin Kadisak 43-yard field goal and a perfectly executed play-action pass from Faunce (4 of 7 for 97 yards) to Holle (3 catches, 91 yards) on a 52-yard post pattern for a score.

Holle was even with two defenders until the ball was in the air and the 6-foot-4 wide receiver separated himself and hauled in the rainbow for the score with 8:31 left before half.

"We knew we had some good matchups and after we established the run it was there," Holle said. "Kyle made a perfect pass and I just ran under it."

That's when Marcos, which used the swinging gate offense on one series, showed some signs of life.

The Padres blocked a punt to take over possession inside the Mountain Pointe 30-yard line. Running back Anthony Shivers broke loose for a 24-yard run and finished off the drive on a 1-yard dive to close within 17-7.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Padres did a pooch kick and actually caught the ball on the fly and scooted down to inside the Pride 30 again. But it was nullified because the ball has to hit the ground before the kicking team can advance it.

Mountain Pointe was given possession and sophomore running back Thomas Warren ripped off a 24-yard run to set up a Jordan Leal 3-yard plunge with 51 seconds left in the half to give the Pride a commanding 24-7 lead.

"That was unfortunate," Macros head coach Roy Lopez said. "We did everything right but let the ball hit first. We made a mistake as players and coaches on that. Then they go down and score just before have to make it worse."

That exchange pretty ended the game with the way Mountain Pointe's defense played.

The Pride held Marcos to a total of 149 yards on 45 offensive plays as the defensive line was a disruptive as a fire drill during SAT testing and the defensive backfield, led by Jalen Brown's two interceptions, knocked down and picked off several of the passes from Tommy Thornton, who had more picks than interceptions at one point before finishing 8 of 23 for 93 yards.

"We played hard and never let up," senior defensive tackle Chad Papineau said. "We are playing more as a team right now and it is an awesome thing. We set the complexion of the game and we are played our best game of the season."

Mountain Pointe defensive coordinator Jeff Decker said the first two drives - the Pride's scoring drive and then forcing a Marcos' three-and-out - couldn't have been drawn up much better.

"It sends a message that we were more physical than they were," said Decker, whose squad allowed just 56 yards rushing. "We wanted to be the most physical team they have seen all year and I think it carried throughout the game."



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Box score

Mountain Pointe 27, Marcos de Niza 7

                                  M         MP

First downs                9         15

Rushes-yards             22-56 35-156

Pass yards                 93       97

Att-Comp-Int           8-23-2   4-8-0

Fumbles-lost            0-0         0-0

Penalties-yards       5-35     7-75


Marcos                0   7 0 0-7

Mountain Pointe 7 17 3 0-27



MP - Holle 5 pass from Faunce (Kadisak kick), 3:16.


MP - Kadisak 43 field goal, 11:12

MP - Holle 52 pass from Faunce (Kadisak kick), 8:31

Marcos - Shivers 1 run (Jones kick), 4:06

MP - Leal 3 run (Kadisak kick), :51


MP - Kadisak 39 field goal, 5:13

Vitals: Mountain Pointe (8-2, 4-1) manhandled Marcos de Niza (8-2, 3-2) from start to finish in a Class 5A East Valley Region game to end the regular season.


Highlight: Mountain Pointe freshman safety Jalen Brown made a terrific one-handed grab on an interception when it looked as if Marcos was going to get a big pass play to Jeryan Butler early in the second quarter.


Player of the game: Mountain Pointe's Garrett Holle caught a 5-yard pass on the opening drive to convert the nearly 9 minute possessions into points and then separated himself from two defenders on a 52-yard bomb for 17-0 lead. He finished with three catches for 91 yards.


Key stat: Marcos de Niza quarterback Tommy Thornton missed his first six passes and at one point had more interceptions than completions (2 to 1) on the way to an 8 for 23 passing performance for 93 yards.



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