LAS VEGAS – The win wasn’t as monumental, but the second time around didn’t change the sentiment.
Mountain Pointe football can play a little bit.
A year after pulling off an upset in the Sollenberger Classic by beating host Bishop Gorman, the Pride might have played the role of favorite even more impressively.
Just ask Reed coach Ernie Howren, who watched his team get humbled 66-13 at Fertitta Field on Saturday night on the campus of Bishop Gorman.
“We didn’t play well and they are really good,” Howren said. “I mean that’s a great freaking football team.”
The do have a lot of freak athletes on display as Paul Lucas scored three different ways all of which went at least 47 yards; linebacker Ke’Shaun Churchwell ripped a ball out of receivers’ hands and took it 42 yards for a defensive score; senior John Abercrombie easily connected on a 50-yard field and put all of his kickoffs into the end zone and sophomore receiver JaQunn Gipson made a spectacular catch in which he rose up and reached back over the defender to snatch the ball for a 14-yard pass in the corner of the end zone.
“We scored on a fumble, a kickoff and almost on a punt return,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “Paul Lucas was sensational and other back Brandyn Leonard was good. They were blitzing a lot and from everywhere and we could have thrown the ball but it is early.
“I was stubborn and refused to do it. I had a game plan and I was going to run it no matter what they did. Once we got a lead we opened it up more and we are going to do that as the season goes on.”
But it was more than just athletic plays.
The Pride were in control from the start with its superior line and aggressive defense.
The one issue might be the fact the offense got off to a ‘slow start.’ Mountain Pointe didn’t score until its fifth offensive play – a 47-yard pop pass over the middle to Lucas – compared to last season when Lucas scored on the Pride’s first play from scrimmage.
If last year’s Sollenberger was Lucas’ breakout then this was one was a simple reminder of just how unstoppable the state champion sprinter when he is in open space.
In addition to the first score, he had a 55-yard run where he made two shifty cuts before breaking free and then added a 83-yard kickoff return.
Overall, he had 9 carries for 90 yards, two catches for 52 yards and the kickoff return that put the Pride up 52-6 in the third quarter.
“There are a lot of things I can clean up as far as catching the ball,” Lucas said. “There were a lot of big holes tonight.”
Defensively the Pride caused two turnovers, including a forced fumble on its own 1-yard line that was recovered by Dale Black for a touchback and the defense only gave up 91 yards with the No. 1s in the game against a Reed spread offense.
The defensive backfield was completely new and players like Gilbert Saenz, Vavrix Owens, Churchwell, Orlando Carter and Keevile Brown made an impression in the front seven.
“We played well as a unit,” sophomore safety Isaiah Pola-Mao said. “There were some mistakes, but were able to do enough to keep them down.”
The return trip to Ahwatukee will be a fun one once again before returning to the practice field on Monday with another Sollenberger trophy in hand.
“We got our feet wet and got experience," Vaughan said. "We beat Bishop Gorman here last year but by the end of the year we were a lot better team. I suspect the same thing will happen again."
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkodaAFN. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
Mountain Pointe 66, Reed 13
MP 21 14 24 7 -- 66
Reed 0 0 6 7 -- 13
First downs 18
MP - Lucas 47 pass from Alston (Abercrombie kick)
MP - Cross 2 run (Abercrombie kick)
MP - Ke'S. Churchwell (Abercrombie kick)
MP - Lucas 55 run (Abercrombie kick)
MP - Cross 1 run (Abercrombie kick)
MP - Abercrombie 50 kick
MP - Gipson 14 pass from Alston (Abercrombie kick)
R - Denn 56 run (kick failed)
MP - Lucas 83 kickoff return
MP - Leonard 22 run (Johnson kick)
R - Torres 7 run (Kick good)
MP - McCallum 66 run (Johnson kick)
MP - Lucas 9-90, Leonard 10-78, Cross 7-23, McCallum 1-66, Ascencio 3-8.
MP - Alston 7-11-139.
MP - Lucas 2-52, Shivers 2-15, Matchinsky 2-60, Gipson 1-14.