What was once viewed with disdain is now being widely accepted.
Welcome to Mountain Pointe’s bye week.
Coach Norris Vaughan wasn’t happy when the schedule was finalized in March and the Pride didn’t have an opponent in Week 9. He wasn’t happy with schools that wouldn’t work with them, his athletic director or the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
Now that it’s here, that’s changed a little.
“I am not happy about a bye week, but it comes at a good time for us,” Vaughan said Friday after the Pride dissected Corona del Sol, 63-0. “I always want to work on getting better and that’s best done in game situations, but with the injuries we have it should get us healthier as we get ready for the Dobson and the playoffs.”
The Pride (9-0) won’t practice on Monday or Friday, but use 7th hour during the school day for conditioning. They will practice Tuesday through Thursday.
The coaching staff will get two straight weekends off before preparing for Dobson (2-6) with an opportunity for the second 10-0 regular season in school history on Nov. 1 and possibly wrap up the top seed in the Division I postseason.
More important, however, is the chance to let players like Wesley Payne (elbow), Paul Lucas (broken hand, gets cast off this week), Brandyn Leonard (shoulder) and Charlie Trevino (ankle) heal up and get right in what could be a historic run for the Pride.
Payne, for one, can’t wait.
After essentially missing three games (Chandler, Hamilton and Desert Vista) when he dislocated his elbow on the first offensive series against Chandler, he has played only on offense the last two games.
For someone who prides himself on his status as one of the state’s top linebackers, it hasn’t been easy.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “I’ve had to live through my defense and the plays they’re making.”
Lucas played sparingly in the second half of the Corona game after missing the Brophy game, while Leonard hasn’t missed any games but was limited with a shoulder injury.
The weirdest is Trevino’s ankle injury he sustained against Corona just two days after he dreamt that he broke his leg in the state semifinals.
So when he and Mitchell Fraboni, who broke his nose against Desert Vista, collided on a punt block in the first half against the Aztecs and the latter went low into Trevino’s leg, Trevino only had one prevailing thought.
“I thought I broke just like in the dream,” Trevino said from the sideline in the second half Friday. “I remember telling my backup (Austin Pogue in the dream) to be ready and he was in there for me for real. It’s crazy.”
So has the pace the Pride and the coaching staff has been on since the start of the season, when Mountain Pointe opened up before everyone else in Division I on August 23. It’s been nine straight weeks, including five difficult and emotional contests, of pushing themselves to the limit.
It’s the right time for a break.
“We’ve had a hard grind,” Vaughan said. “We’ve played five really emotional games. Our kids have worked hard and it’s time for a break.”
Pride quarterback Antonio Hinojosa was 6 for 6 for four touchdowns and 199 yards against Corona. It’s the third game this season he hasn’t thrown an incomplete.
The latest effort comes on the heels of going 12 of 15 for 161 yards with two touchdowns, meaning he has gone 18 of 21 for 360 yards and six touchdowns over the last two games.
The Pride defense posted the fourth shutout of the season to break last year’s mark of three.
On the season, opponents have scored 82 points in nine games and 14 of those points came on a pick-6 by Hamilton and a kickoff return by Bishop Gorman.
The 14 points Chavez scored came against backups so the first team has roughly given up 54 points.