The only disappointment in a one-of-a-kind magical football season at Mountain Pointe might have been when the preseason trip up north was canceled and even that was turned into a positive.
The team turned off all outside communication, spent the night in the school, created some additional chemistry playing dodge ball, eating like champs, and just spending good old-fashioned quality time together.
“It started since the first practices and spending the night at school,” senior running back and linebacker Wesley Payne said. “It all started from there and I am just so happy to have this team. I wouldn’t have any other.”
And there is no other like it.
The Pride finished off its magical 14-0 season on Saturday with a slow-starting, but dominant 42-19 victory over defending champion Hamilton at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The win was keyed by the passing game, a defense that bowed its neck after giving up a rare first-quarter touchdown and fourth quarter that saw the Pride balloon to a 21-13 lead, 42-13, in a matter of four minutes of clock time.
“I am proud for our community,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “I’m proud for our kids. They are better people than they are football players and we have some great players. I am really proud for Ahwatukee.”
This team will be remembered for having no one who could play with it on the field, outscoring its opponents 673-127, and adopting the team-first mentality.
Players like Emmanuel Butler, Deontay Townsend, Ka’wuan Ellis, Ernie de la Trinidad and others accepted lesser roles, knowing they have the talent to be more prominent players at different schools, without complaint.
They just did what was asked of them for the good of the team. It wouldn’t happen unless there was respect between the players, parents and coaches.
Vaughan was low key after the win, letting the players take all the glory, but make no mistake this was the plan since the day he was hired in January of 2009.
“This is what I envision every year,” he said. “We’ve been close before, but this is the year it worked out.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.