Once a year, the football programs at Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista high schools meet as part of one of the best running rivalries in the state.
The game brings out most of the Ahwatukee community regardless of affiliation. Things can become heated at times. But at the end of the day, every player on the field is out there to claim bragging rights for the year and for the right to chant, “We run ‘Tukee!”
What happened in the weeks leading up to the Tukee Bowl goes out the window, as each team’s impact players set out to represent their respective schools and pick up a win.
Here’s the impact players to watch in this year’s Tukee Bowl at Thunder Stadium.
Parker Navarro, quarterback
Navarro has done it all for the Thunder this year, passing for 990 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s also accounted for 370 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. He’s improved each game and has solidified himself as one of the best in the state.
Elijah Ervin, wide receiver
Ervin has quietly surpassed the 100-yard mark in four out of the Thunder’s five games this season. He is Navarro’s top target, hauling in 21 receptions for 592 yards and eight touchdowns. His 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame presents a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders, as he has the height and physical attributes to overpower cornerbacks.
Devon Grubbs, running back
Tyson Grubbs, Devon's older brother, suffered a lower-leg injury against Desert Ridge last week and is questionable for the game. That leaves Devon and senior athlete Colby Humphrey in charge of leading the backfield should Tyson be sidelines. But make no mistake, there is little to no drop off should Devon be one of the lead backs against Mountain Pointe. The sophomore has rushed for 282 yards this season and three touchdowns. He's done most of his work on defense this season with 13 tackles and an interception.
Colby Humphrey, athlete
Along with the younger Grubbs, Humphrey will be looked upon by the Desert Vista coaching staff to lead the backfield. Humphrey has played a majority of the season on defense, helping shut down opposing wideouts. But his speed and athleticism can be used anywhere on the field.
Eddie Weigl, offensive and defensive line
Weigl returns from injury this week and will be the anchor for an offensive line that is banged up. On offense, he will play a vital role in opening running lanes for all of Desert Vista’s running backs. On defense, he demands double-teams from opposing linemen, opening up lanes for his linebackers and secondary to make plays.
Landen Powell, quarterback
Only a sophomore, Powell has shown flashes of success behind a banged-up offensive line. He’s thrown for 823 yards this season and four touchdowns. His best games have come when he is able to get the ball to senior wideout Dominique Davis. The duo can be lethal for any opposing secondary.
Dominique Davis, wide receiver
Davis may very well be one of the best athletes in the state, let alone on the Mountain Pointe roster. He’s able to make plays with the ball in his hands, even when surrounded by opposing defenders. He’s caught 32 passes this season for 434 yards and a touchdown. He gives Mountain Pointe big-play ability when he’s on the field.
Resi Shank, running back
Shank transitioned over to running back this season after playing linebacker in 2018. He’s had several solid outings and like Davis, has the ability to make a big play anytime he has the ball in his hands. Shank has rushed for 504 yards this season for five touchdowns.
Rashion “Chunka” Hodge, linebacker
Hodge is the unsung leader of the Mountain Pointe defense, which has performed well this season despite a few lopsided scores. Hodge has 49 total tackles, 15 of which for a loss, which leads the team. He, Zach Hay and Jaylous Horton create problems for an opposing offense.
Steven “Big Steve” Williams, offensive and defensive line
With senior Will Haire sidelined with a lower leg injury, Williams is the only starter from last season’s team on the offensive line. The center has anchored the line so far this season, opening up holes whenever he can for Shank to run. On defense, Williams uses his 6-foot-3, 300-pound frame to wreak havoc on an opposing offense line.