Steve Belles tried his best to not make a big deal about the win streak Hamilton brought into the season. He estimated as a group they spoke of securing the big-school state record for consecutive victories once over the summer.
With essentially only two players who were on varsity two seasons ago, what mattered more was getting victory No. 1 for this group against a physically tough Mountain Pointe squad that wanted nothing more than to avenge last season's state semifinal loss to the Huskies.
The young Huskies grew up quite a bit Friday in securing a 17-7 home win over Mountain Pointe in a fashion that would have made their predecessors proud.
"We talked more about more of standing on the shoulder of giants, the guys who came before you and what it means to put on the jersey," said Belles, who is now 68-3 as Hamilton's head coach. "These guys, really, have been part of one (win in the streak)."
And it didn't come easy in this Division I battle.
Hamilton led 10-7 at halftime and it remained that way at the midpoint of the fourth quarter as both defenses proved to be in midseason form in the season opener.
But Hamilton, using a brand new offensive line after mass graduation from last year's unit, most of whom earned scholarships, took control of the line of scrimmage and ate up the clock with run after run.
The Huskies pushed Mesa Mountain View out of the record book by going on a 79-yard scoring drive that took 4 minutes and 40 seconds. Marcus Jones (7 rushes, 43 yards) finished it up with a strong cut into the gut of the Pride's defense to finish it off with a 12-yard touchdown with 2:41 remaining.
"We couldn't stop them at the end," Mountain Pointe linebacker Jordan Leal said. "You have to fight through it and make a stop. We couldn't get the job done."
Mountain Pointe had two possessions late to try and get back into it but the offense was still struggling with finding holes, gaining yards and predictability.
"After their first drive we got a feel for what they were doing and knew they couldn't pass," said Hamilton senior defensive back Bobby Milus, who had an interception. "We knew what was coming after that and kept them from scoring again."
The Pride went right down the field on their first possession, getting six of their 10 first downs on the initial drive, and grabbed a 7-3 lead when quarterback Dillan Johnson scored on a 16-yard run.
Mountain Pointe managed about only 80 total yards the rest of the game.
"We couldn't keep the offense on the field," Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. "And our defense wore down in the end. Our quarterback was playing his first ever game at quarterback and we had people missing assignments and holes.
"We had some chances and it was anyone's ballgame in the fourth quarter, but we didn't take advantage."
The Pride eventually succumbed to the depth and desire of the Huskies. It's the same way the previous 40 opponents ended their nights.
How long it goes on is tough to tell, but it is clear the new guys are prepared to keep it rolling.
"It means a lot to me," Milus said. "We can keep it going and win state. That's what we expect to do here."
Milus and Kendyl Taylor, who had 13 catches and 143 yards with a second-quarter touchdown to go up 10-7, have seen the most wins during the streak, getting time on varsity as sophomore.
"This team has a chance to be as good as the other ones, but have some work to do to get to that point," Milus said. "This was a good start."
Contact writer at (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter at JSkodaAFN.
Check back Sunday for the AFN's new feature - Sunday Rewind with this week's subject being Mountain Pointe quarterback Dillan Johnson.
MP 7 0 0 0 -- 7
H 3 7 0 7 -- 17
First downs 10 19
Rushes-yards 33-128 29-193
Pass yards 28 189
Pass-att-int 6-10-1 18-26-2
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 3-20 3-40
Leading 10-7 late in the fourth quarter and its 40-game win streak on the line, Hamilton went on a 79-yard drive that took 4 minutes and 40 seconds and sealed the big-school record for consecutive wins when Marcus Jones scored from 12-yards out.
In a rarely seen play, Hamilton attempted a free kick in the final seconds of the first half. Kendyl Taylor fair caught a Mountain Pointe punt late in the first half at the Pride 47.
Rules state a team can then try a "free kick" worth three points from kickoff formation. The ball went wide right, but had most of the crowd confused.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Hamilton's Kendyl Taylor 13 receptions for 140 yards, including several fourth-down conversions and a second-quarter TD that gave the Huskies the lead for good.
Mountain Pointe had very little offense in the second half total 43 total yards and zero first downs.
H - Daniel Wichman 26 yd field goal
MP - 16 yd run Dillan Johnson (Sheehan kick)
H - Kendyl Taylor 5 yd from Blake Kemp (Wichman kick)
H - Marcus Jones 12 yd run (Wichman kick)