When 4-0 Mountain Pointe goes into its first game of the newly aligned East Valley Region tonight, the Pride could be facing their toughest test of the season.
Sure, Casa Grande is 0-4 this year and with the way the Pride, rated third in the state 5A-I power rankings, have been dominating things offensively so far, it looks like the soft spot on the schedule.
But Pride coach Norris Vaughan was cautious before he made his first trip down Interstate 10 Friday night.
“We’re very concerned about them,” Vaughan said.
That’s because Vaughan has seen a collegiate powerhouse like the University of Southern California get in trouble by overlooking opponents. The Trojans were upset by the University of Washington last week after beating San Jose State, 53-3, in the season opener, and Ohio State, 18-15, a week later.
“Every year SC stumbles against somebody,” Vaughan said. “You can’t take anyone for granted on the road when you don’t know what it’s going to be like.”
Mountain Pointe is coming off a 34-18 victory over rival Desert Vista in the annual Ahwatukee Bowl last week.
“Rivalries are great for students and fans,” Vaughan added, “but you have to be ready to play every week.”
So far this season running backs De’Andre Currie and Davon Jones have accounted for 1,108 yards and 18 touchdowns, but Vaughan and the Pride are more than a double-barrel blast of firepower.
“Everyone thinks our team is two people because (Currie and Jones) score all the touchdowns and get the publicity, but it’s a lot more than that,” Vaughan said.
He feels the defensive and especially the senior offensive line of left guard James Stueben, center Jeremy Espindola, left tackle Alex Lewis and right tackle Zach Clay are forgotten when the scoreboard tally starts to rise.
Juniors Chris Carl and Bijan Musgrove have also adjusted to new responsibilities.
Bill Lewis, a holdover from the previous Mountain Pointe staff, and Carson Miller, who was with Vaughan in Wickenburg before Vaughan took over the Pride program this season, are responsible for the offensive line.
“Coach Lewis and coach Miller have both been doing a great job,” Vaughan added.
Mountain Pointe withstood an aerial assault and beat Gilbert Highland, 21-10, in the second game of the season when Hawks quarterback Mike Benjamin threw for 252 yards.
The Pride can probably expect more of the same from the Cougars tonight.
Casa Grande quarterbacks J.R. Elliott and Jose Perales have thrown a combined 110 times for 444 yards and four touchdowns this season while Casa Grande has run only 85 times for 346 yards and three touchdowns.