The great Joe Montana is known as Joe Cool and part of that legend comes from the story of how the San Francisco quarterback kept it light in the huddle just before conducting the game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXIII.
Trailing by three points with 3 minutes and 20 seconds left in the game, Montana reportedly pointed out the late actor/comedian John Candy in the stands before finishing off a 92-yard drive with a touchdown pass with 34 seconds left as San Francisco beat the Cincinnati 20-16.
It was great insight into his style and personality, but more than anything it took outsiders inside the huddle, which is usually a members only type place.
The huddle is a bit of a sacred place, but that doesn’t always mean it is always as serious church.
Montana isn’t the only one who can lighten things up as Mountain Pointe has shown at times this season, including Friday’s 55-7 win over No. 16 Boulder Creek in the first round of the Division I state playoffs.
Blowouts are the perfect time for levity during the 20 seconds of downtime in between plays, an moreso on the sidelines, and the Pride (11-0) have had plenty of laughers this season on the way to the Elite Eight when they host No. 9 Red Mountain on Friday.
“When you are rolling and the game is out of hand, it can be fun,” Pride junior center Collin Lambdin said. “We are laughing and having a good time. We’re kids so it can get out of hand.”
And the huddle breaks and it is back to work.
“Of course, we’re all business then,” Lambdin said. “We get real serious real fast.”
It doesn’t last long, however, not with No. 75 hanging around.
“You know Natrell’s personality,” said Pride quarterback Antonio Hinojosa, referring to his left guard Natrell Curtis. “He’s always talking, even if we aren’t listening, but he is always good for a few laughs. It’s the way he always been.”
Hinojosa is usually late to the party because of the way Mountain Pointe sends in plays. After each play, he runs to sideline to get the call from coach Norris Vaughan before returning to the huddle.
“If we are taking our time (with the clock) and we are winning big, they might be laughing when I get there,” Hinojosa said. “Games are when we have fun. Practices are where we really work hard and the payoff is Friday nights.”
It’s one thing to do it up 30 points, but another to have the shenanigans present with the game on the line ala Joe Cool in 1989.
The Pride haven’t had many close games this year, but as they get deep into the postseason the tension will mount.
The Mountain Pointe huddle has shown the ability to keep it light when winning by an average of 41.6 in the regular season.
“The whole game is fun, but at the same time you are competing,” Vaughan said. “They can have fun all they want as long it is within the parameters of what you are supposed to do.”
Game on the line in the state semifinals or title game and the atmosphere just might change.
Someone might be trying to fire everyone up, there could be strategy talk or maybe it will be light-hearted.
Only members will know for sure.
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