Forgive Dillan Johnson if he thought his night might have ended a bit early; that’s how it goes when you put up a full game’s worth of stats – and your team more than a full game’s worth of points – in less than two quarters of play.
Running for 170 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and scoring again on a 56-yard first-quarter punt return – despite not playing after halftime – Johnson paced Mountain Pointe’s 45-0 homecoming rout over visiting Casa Grande Friday in Class 5A Division I East Valley Region action.
“Going into the game, we tried to look at it like we did for the (Desert Vista) game. We didn’t want to overlook anyone,” Johnson said. “Our offense clicked today … so it was nice we got to get everyone out there.”
It was easy to see early on that Johnson was primed for a big, albeit abbreviated, night. Johnson ran for 30 yards on the first play from scrimmage and 58 on the Pride’s first drive to open up the scoring three minutes in. He’d hit paydirt again just two minutes later on a 56-yard punt return, and anyone in the stands could see how this was going to turn out.
“He’s outstanding. He’s had a great game the last three games in a row,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said of his starting back.
Johnson wasn’t the only Mountain Pointe (3-1, 1-0) starter to make the most of his short outing; quarterback Kyle Faunce, also making way to the second team after halftime, completed 7 of 10 passes for an efficient 140 yards, including touchdown strikes of 30 and 27 yards to Garrett Holle and TJ Holtrop, respectively.
Holle, Faunce’s favorite target in the Pride’s modified run-and-shoot passing game, caught three passes for 78 yards, with Holtrop also hauling in three, picking up 69 yards.
“You want to play more, get your stats up, all that,” Faunce said. “But you know, when we play like we did tonight, everyone’s stats are going up and you’re thinking, ‘Wow, I only played one half and it was like a full game.’”
While most of Moutain Pointe’s starting lineup only saw the field for one half, two of its top defensive players didn’t even play that much.
Vaughan said Jordan Leal and JR Plote, anchors on the Pride defense, were among a handful of players who probably could have played, but were held out of action against the Cougars in order to simply continue to get healthier as the Pride approach their bye week in mid-October.
“We had some guys banged up we held them out. They could have played. If this was a state championship game, they would have played,” Vaughan said. “But we’re glad we got to play everybody. We’ve got 60-something kids, and they all played.”
Vaughan said that if the Pride played the way he knows they’re capable of, it was only a matter of time before they would break the game open with a few touchdowns.
“They were playing man-to-man, and they were blitzing everybody every play. Mostly seven (players blitzing) every play,” Vaughan said. “So it was wide open and we knew if we could break through (the defensive front) it would be a touchdown.”
Casa Grande (0-5, 0-2) tried to mix things up on offense as much as it could, having Layne McKay, listed on the team’s roster as a running back and linebacker, take snaps out of the shotgun. On plays where McKay wasn’t keeping it himself or handing off to running back Daniel Duran, the Cougars spread allowed McKay to throw screens to quarterback Quinn Chavez, who usually lined up outside as a receiver.
The apparent goal was for Chavez to look downfield, but Mountain Pointe’s defense kept the Casa Grande receivers in check most of the night. Luis Sharpe, Brandon Trotter and Chris Handgis each picked off passes for the Pride.
Mountain Pointe 45, Casa Grande 0
CG -- 0 0 0 0 0
MP -- 21 17 0 7 45
First downs 9 17
Rushes-yards 27-82 32-289
Passing yards 82 154
Comp.-Att.-Int. 5-17-4 8-14-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 2-20 4-45
Mountain Pointe (3-1, 1-0 East Valley Region) defeated visiting Casa Grande (0-5, 0-2), 45-0, on homecoming at Karl Kiefer Stadium.
A Casa Grande 3-and-out immediately following a 1-yard Dillan Johnson touchdown run, Mountain Pointe's Johnson returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Player of the game:
Mountain Pointe's Dillan Johnson ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries - all in the first half - and scored on a 56-yard punt return.
Mountain Pointe's Dillan Johnson touched the ball just 10 times, but broke 30 yards four times (carries of 30, 40, 68 and a 56-yard punt return).
1st (8:58); MP - Johnson 1 run (Kadisak kick)
1st (6:46); MP - Johnson 56 run (Kadisak kick)
1st (4:14); MP - Holle 30 pass from Faunce (Kadisak kick)
2nd (10:19); MP - Kadisak 40 field goal
2nd (2:53); MP - Johnson 68 run (Kadisak kick)
2nd (1:17); MP - Holtrop 27 pass from Faunce (Kadisak kick)
4th (6:13); MP - Whitfield 40 run (Kadisak kick)