Rivalries are usually meant for the playing field.

But there are certain weeks when the athletic directors and even the principal of schools have fun with that week's matchup just as well.

This is one of them for Mountain Pointe and Chandler Hamilton as the two football programs prepare for Friday's Class 5A Division I state semifinal at Chandler High.

Some of these guys are as close knitted as the jerseys their teams will wear.

"We've played it pretty straight, not much trash talking," Hamilton assistant principal Dick Baniszewski said.

The key phrase being "not much."

There was a phone call made after it became clear the two schools were made. The particulars will be left alone, but know that it was made in good fun.

It's just guys being guys.

Ones that happen to now each other very well.

"It was Dick Baniszewski that helped me fall in love with Mountain Pointe High School," Pride athletic director Ian Moses said. "The fervor and love he had for the school was unreal. He cuts a pretty wide path and I had big shoes to fill in taking over for him as AD. He is an outgoing, gregarious character and I am not.

"But I realized to be effective at his job I had to become one."

Baniszewski helped open Mountain Pointe in 1991 and stayed through 1999 before moving on to Chandler Basha and eventually headed over to Hamilton.

"I grew up at Mountain Pointe," said Baniszewski, who played for and coached with Karl Kiefer. "They are doing a great job over there. (Principal) Bruce (Kipper) is going an excellent job and not just in athletics."

There are other connections as well.

Kipper, who is also close with Baniszewski, has leaned on Hamilton principal Fred DePrez for advice, and vice versa, and the latter was helpful in getting Mountain Pointe an A+ Schools of Excellence Award last year.

Moses and Baniszewski have daughters go the same school. Moses and his wife used to babysit Baniszewski's older child before the birth of their own.

In other words, whoever wins Friday night won't be just about the players and coaches.

There will be some bragging rights in the administration offices as well.

"So often lines are drawn as Us vs. Them," Moses said. "While we all want to win there will be some satisfaction knowing the other got there for the ones who lose."


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