The only thing that stopped Mountain Pointe High’s running game Friday night was the clock as the Pride dominated Hamilton, 55-20, in high school football in Ahwatukee.
Mountain Pointe’s offensive line got a huge push play after play, opening holes for senior running back Jakim McKinney (275 yards on 30 carries), who scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, and sophomore Eli Sanders (93 yards on nine carries).
With a short week of preparation and the memory of a bitter loss to the nation’s No. 15 team lingering, Mountain Pointe shook it off and unleashed its speedy backs.
The Pride rolled to 417 rushing yards and 654 total yards total against a program not far removed from its days as Arizona’s big-school dynasty.
The Huskies were overmatched from the outset as McKinney and Sanders blasted through Hamilton’s front seven into the second level and raced away.
That, in turn, set up Mountain Pointe quarterback Nick Wallerstedt (237 passing yards) in the play-action and short passing game. The Pride also continued to take shots down the field and had receivers open deep most of the evening, but Wallerstedt overthrew several long balls.
As the score reached 41-3 and the Pride threatened to put the game into running time, Hamilton regrouped and scored two late touchdowns, one set up by a recovered onside kick.
Meanwhile, the Pride’s blitzing, aggressive defense smothered Hamilton’s rushing game and consistently was in the face of quarterback Peyton Poe, making sacks or forcing hurried throws.
The previous Saturday, the Pride was on the doorstep of upsetting 15th-ranked South Jordan (Utah) Bingham in Henderson, Nev. Inside the Bingham 5-yard line in the closing 2 minutes, Mountain Pointe’s fourth-down pass was deflected at the goal line.
There was no apparent hangover. Mountain Pointe struck quickly, manhandling the Huskies up front. Senior Alex Vogel, who was moved to center from tackle last week after an injury, said there was extra motivation to prove the line’s power against a tough defense.
“We could have done better as an offensive line against Bingham, and that just pushed us as a unit to come out here and play hard,” Vogel said.
Pride coach Rich Wellbrock repeatedly told his team during the week to “not let Bingham beat us twice.” He wanted the talented group to put it behind and focus on coming out strong against the Huskies.
Wellbrock sensed that something special was coming from the line in the aftermath.
“They just went back to technique work,” Wellbrock said. “Coach Zoe (offensive line coach Frantz Pierre-Louis), did a really good job with them on assignments, and it’s pretty good to have Jakim finding those holes.”
Hamilton coach Mike Zdebski was impressed.
“They really ran their offense well and broke a lot of tackles, which resulted in a lot of big runs for them, and we just didn’t in the first half,” Zdebski said.
Though the Huskies got a large dose of McKinney and Sanders, they were not the Pride’s only weapons.
Big-play receiver Dominique Davis caught five balls for 145 yards and a score and several other quick, intelligent receivers made plays as Wallerstedt kept the Huskies honest, hitting big passes off play-action.
“We have so many threats that defenses really can’t just look to stop one guy because somebody else will burn them for a big play or a score,” Vogel said.
Defensively, the Pride played heavily against the run and limited Hamilton to 33 yards.
Though Hamilton’s defense did not put up much of a fight, the Huskies’ offense finally began to move the ball late in the second half. Down 41-3 with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter, Poe began to move his team.
Poe threw two touchdown passes to senior Brandon Schenks, who started at quarterback in the season-opening overtime loss to Chaparral and since moved back to receiver, where he played last season. Zdebski said Schenks has taken the move in stride.
“He’s a really talented kid and his connection with Poe has been pretty good. They played well together tonight,” Zdebski said.
Wellbrock would have preferred fewer mistakes late in the game, especially with 6A Central section play looming.
“We’re going to keep developing,” he said. “We’re going to be a different team come October, come November, and I still feel that way. We have a long way to go.”
Mountain Pointe (2-2) plays host to Queen Creek (4-1), up this year to 6A, next Friday. Hamilton (2-3) plays host to Dobson (1-4).
Mountain Pointe 55, Hamilton 20
Hamilton 0 3 7 10 – 20
Mountain Pointe 20 14 7 14 – 55
MP – McKinney 2 run (kick blocked), 9:07.
MP – McKinney 18 run (Abercrombie kick), 4:11.
MP – McKinney 26 run (Abercrombie kick), 2:14.
MP – McKinney 12 run (Abercrombie kick), 8:49.
Ham – FG, Obarski 54, 6:01.
MP – Davis 80 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 5:11.
MP – Sanders 8 run (Abercrombie kick), 2:17.
Ham – Schenks 4 pass from Poe (Obarski kick), 0:52.
MP – Sanders 37 run (Abercrombie kick), 10:43.
Ham – Schenks 8 pass from Poe (Obarski kick), 7:55.
Ham – FG, Obarski 22, 5:56.
MP – Nitura 18 run (Abercrombie kick), 1:44.
First downs 10 22
Rush-yards 20-33 48-417
Comp-Att-Int 20-35-1 13-19-0
Pass yards 213 237
Total yards 246 654
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-20 4-55
Hamilton – Biggs 1-15, Z. Lewis 2-7, Poe 4-4, J. Lewis 3-3, Dorman 9-3, Rice 1-1.
Mountain Pointe – McKinney 30-275, Sanders 9-93, Nitura 5-32, Gomez 1-8, Rivera 1-5, Wallerstedt 2-4.
Hamilton – Poe 20-35-1, 213yards. Mountain Pointe – Wallerstedt 13-19-0, 237.
Hamilton – B. Schenks 7-94, Rice 5-67, Lewis 3-29, Danielson 2-11, Dorman 1-9, J. Schenks 1-3, Armenta 1-0. Mountain Pointe – Davis 5-145, Dickson 2-28, Gomez 1-25, Williams 2-17, Nitura 1-11, Caradine 1-8, Washington 1-3.