The so-called “largest cul-de-sac in the world” found a new ZIP code and partied like it owned the place.
That’s what happens when a community like Ahwatukee Foothills advances to the Division I football state championship in back-to-back years.
The Mountain Pointe football program took over a little portion of Glendale on Saturday afternoon and brought what seemed like the entire Ahwatukee community to University of Phoenix Stadium as the Pride played Hamilton in its first state title.
Only it didn’t end well.
Hamilton controlled most of the game on the way to a 31-16 defeat for the Pride as the Huskies won its fourth title in five years.
“We didn’t start off good and they kept on rolling up first downs on our defense,” Mountain Pointe junior Natrell Curtis said. “We couldn’t get off the field. We came after them in the second half but couldn’t make it up.”
The Pride was down 10-0 early and 17-0 at the half as Hamilton had the ball 18 minutes and 54 seconds of the 24-minute first half.
Mountain Pointe was just unable to stop the Huskies power running game so the usually explosive Pride offense just watched. The Huskies’ offensive line wore down the smallish, but athletic Mountain Pointe defense.
“I am so proud of our offensive line,” Hamilton coach Steve Belles said. “They allowed us to control the clock and the game.”
The second half went more of the Pride’s way, but the damage had been done. After a turnover on the first possession of the second half led to a 24-0 deficit, Mountain Pointe showed the heart that put them in the position in the first place by putting together three scoring drives in the second half.
The loss stings, but it was a season that will be remembered as the first time Mountain Pointe advanced to the championship game.
Seniors like Landry Payne, Kenny Lacy, Travonn White, Lucas Hunter and Garette Craig will be forever remembered as that first group, but it may not take 21 seasons to return as it did to get there.
The team has some returning stars and it is clear coach Norris Vaughan has the program moving forward.
Until then this season will be the one where the standard for Pride football has been set.
“This is the best year of my life so far,” Lacy said. “We did everything we could to win it. It wasn’t our day, but we had a great year.”
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