Pride has to contain Brophy QB to pull off upset - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Pride has to contain Brophy QB to pull off upset

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Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 11:00 am

Mountain Pointe faces the difficult task of pulling off a first-round upset against a high seed on Friday.

It has happened regularly in the big-school classification in Arizona - rewind back to 2004 when 16th-seeded Mountain Ridge made the title game and No. 14 Highland made the semis - and it will happen again some time.

Whether or not the 15th-seeded Pride (6-4) can do it against No. 2 Brophy this week is yet to be seen, but it is clear if Mountain Pointe is going to have a chance the defense is going to have to make wunderkind quarterback Tyler Bruggman uncomfortable at Phoenix College's Hoy Stadium.

The junior quarterback has had a season worthy of Arizona Player of the Year consideration. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has completed 60.5 percent (118 of 195) of his passes for 2,027 yards with 33 touchdowns and one interception.

That wasn't a typo.

He has a 33-to-1 ratio.

"He is really good," Mountain Pointe defensive coordinator Jeff Decker said. "He is a mini-Peyton Manning, making calls at the line and getting the team into the right play. He is very impressive for a high school quarterback."

The Pride defense saw Bruggman work his magic firsthand on Sept. 30 when the Broncos (10-0) won 31-14 at Karl Kiefer Stadium as he completed 11 of 21 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns.

"He has a good, strong arm and he makes good reads," Pride sophomore safety Jalen Brown said. "He is one of the best we've seen and we are going to have to play our best."

Brophy coach Scooter Molander said the development of Bruggman has been about the expected even though the numbers are out of this world.

"I knew the sky was the limit with him," Molander said. "He works so hard and he's in there running the meeting while I'm taking phone calls. He has an incredible work ethic."

His main targets are Fred Gammage (40 catches, 740 yards, 13 touchdowns), Devon Allen (28 rec., 828 yards, 12 TDs) and Matthew Auran (28 rec., 354 yards, 2 TDs).

The Pride will have to do something to make him uncomfortable and out of sync, something nine out of 10 opponents have been unable to do. Eighth-seeded Avondale Westview forced Bruggman into his worst game of the year as he went 8-for-28 with his lone interception of the year but still managed three touchdowns in a 24-21 Brophy victory.

So it can happen and the Pride should be more equipped to do so with a healthier defense than they had in the first meeting.

They'll need pressure to develop from Dee Harvey, Raynon Blackshire, Kenny Lacy and AJ Williamson. The defensive backfield, led by Luis Sharpe and Brown, need to blanket the receivers and players like Landry Payne, Wesley Payne and Jordan Leal need to clean up the middle.

Otherwise this game might be another blowout - the first game was 31-7 at the half - if Bruggman has time to sit in the pocket and make the right read.

Mountain Pointe won four in a row to get into the postseason and the team is playing better than any point in the season. The opponents haven't been Brophy's standard but the confidence level is where it needs to be.

"We are happy to be in the postseason and we will be ready to play a team of Brophy's caliber," Pride coach Norris Vaughan said.

One of the keys will be the Pride's offense being able to sustain drives against Brophy's tough-minded defense and getting some creases for Dillan Johnson to sneak through.

"They were good when we beat them," Molander said. "They're still a good team. They have a lot of speed and size. The kid (Johnson) runs hard and he's what you want to see from a coach. That's how you want your players to play - full-speed."

Anything less and the shot of an upset, even though Mountain Pointe isn't a typical 15th-seed, ends in a hurry.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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