HENDERSON, Nev. – Mountain Pointe’s late comeback attempt fell three yards short Saturday night against the No. 15 team in the country, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham.
Facing a fourth and goal at the 3 inside of 2 minutes left in the game, Pride quarterback Nick Wallerstedt’s pass to the right flat was deflected and the Miners (4-0) kneeled out the clock to hand the Pride (1-2) a 21-14 defeat.
“They had our receiver uncovered all the way until right before the snap, then he runs out there and was in a great position to take the slant away,” Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock said. “It’s football. And things like that happen.”
Four plays prior, Wallerstedt found Ahmen Williams for a 31-yard gain to the 5 on a fourth-and-22 play. Three consecutive runs netted two yards leading to the failed fourth-down play.
“That was a really good high school game between two good teams, “Bingham coach John Lambourne said. “I suspect that (Mountain Pointe) is going to go on and do pretty good Anyone that is able to compete with us in that manner, is going to be pretty good.”
Mountain Pointe’s final drive started at its 20-yard line with 6:17 left after Bingham’s 26-yard field goal attempt that would have made it a two-score game bounced off the right upright, ending a seven-minute drive.
“Defensively, we just battled and battled,” Lambourne said. “Our guys up front are pretty tough dudes to start with. That wasn’t just a one-play stand. That was a four-play stand. And that’s pretty tough to do.”
The Pride pulled within 21-14 late in the third when the Miners muffed a punt and could not corral it at the 5. The Pride recovered and three plays later Finley Nitura went untouched across the plane.
Wallerstedt completed 15 of 29 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. His 26-yard scoring pass to a leaping Williams (three receptions, 56 yards) tied the game at 7 in the first quarter.
Pride running back Jakim McKinney, averaging 105 rushing yards a game, found the going difficult against a stout Bingham front. He was held to 58 yards on 27 carries. Wellbrock said Bingham’s 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive lineman Simote Pepa is among the best he’s coached against.
Mountain Pointe’s big-play receiver, Dominique Davis, who came in with 10 catches for a 33.4-yard average, was limited to six receptions for 60 yards.
Defensively, Mountain Pointe held up well against the national power. Nearly half of Bingham’s 295 yards of offense came on two plays. Evona Hall put Bingham in front 14-7 with a 92-yard touchdown run with 8:51 left in the first half.
That score held until the Miners dug into their bag of tricks midway through the third quarter. Wide receiver Jared Greenfield took a handoff and then found a wide-open Jake Cragun running down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown on the pass.
Hall rushed for 180 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Nobody else in a Miner uniform accounted for more than 50 yards of offense. Bingham was limited to 55 yards passing.
“The biggest thing I take away from a game like this is I thought our defense really toed the line,” Wellbrock said. “Besides the long run and the halfback pass, other than that, I was really pleased with how they played.”
Mountain Pointe has a history of coming up big against national powers on visits to the Las Vegas area. Five years ago, it upset nationally ranked Bishop Gorman, joining the few teams ever to beat the Gaels on their home field. That started an undefeated season that ended with the state championship and No. 5 national ranking for the Pride.
This game begins a critical stretch for this Pride team. In the coming five weeks, Mountain Pointe, which plays the toughest schedule in Arizona this season, faces Hamilton (2-2) – which on Friday upset Las Vegas Arbor View Hills – with a short preparation week, and then Queen Creek (3-1), Highland (4-0), Desert Vista (3-0) in the Ahwatukee Bowl, Chaparral (3-0) and Desert Ridge (2-2) – which took unbeaten Liberty to the wire Friday.
The Pride’s losses are to Pinnacle (3-1), the nation’s 44th-ranked team with Oklahoma-bound quarterback Spencer Rattler, and now to No. 15 Bingham.
Bingham (Utah) 21, Mtn. 14
Mountain Pointe 7 0 7 0 – 14
Bingham 7 7 7 0 – 21
Bingham – Hall 2 run (Smith kick) 7:37
MP – Williams 26 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick) 2:43
Bingham – Hall 92 run (Smith kick) 8:51
Bingham – Cragun 50 pass from Greenfield (Smith kick) 6:23
MP – Nitura 1 run (Abercrombie kick) 0:39
Bingham – Hall 17-180, Wimmer 9-31, Jones 6-9, Marx 2-10. Mountain Pointe – McKinney 27-58, Wallerstedt 9- -15, Washington 1- (-2), Nitura 1-1, Sansers 1-4.
Bingham – Jones 2-8-0, 5 yards, Greenfield 1-1-0, 50. Mountain Pointe – Wallerstedt 15-29-0, 191.
Bingham – Cragun 1-50, Wimmer 1-7, Parikh 1- (-2). Mountain Pointe – Washington 4-39, Davis 6-60, Williams 3-56, Dickson 2-31, Gomez 1-5.