There is a certain rhythm to Friday night football games as the sights, smells and sounds play out all over the state of Arizona and beyond.

There are the visions of the teams breaking through the decorated banner when coming on to the field, the bleachers slowly filling up, the shine on the newly polished helmets and the sun setting in the fall sky.

The smell of freshly cut grass along with popcorn popping and burgers blazing on the grill infiltrate the nose so much that the concession stand line is filled with people drawn in simply because their senses have told them that they must have it.

The sounds can be endearing with the band playing the fight song, the crowd going nuts during a long game-changing punt return or hearing your son's name over the public address system for the first time.

Every ancillary aspect of the game can be as everlasting as the game itself, but it is a different experience for the Plote (pronounced Plo-tee) family of the Mountain Pointe program.

Both of J.R. Plote's parents, Joel and Lori, are deaf, giving them a different perspective on the game as Mountain Pointe (3-1) opens East Valley Region action by hosting Casa Grande (0-4) at 7 p.m.

"I will look up into the crowd, and they will be signing (sign language) me something," the senior defensive end said. "My dad will be telling me to try certain techniques or telling me good job."

The Plotes, who are divorced, might experience the Friday night mayhem differently but there are ways around it.

"Unfortunately, I can't hear my son's name but that does not change the fact I can feel and see the atmosphere of the night with the band playing, the kids in front dressed in costume, the cheerleaders and the fans stomping on the bleachers," Lori wrote via e-mail. "I get lost and totally focused in that world for the time that it lasts. Some parents give me compliments and high fives and let me know that my son's name is called, including my hearing husband, Rob."

As a former high school state champion in Iowa and college player at Mesa Community College, Joel, also a defensive end, has been able to pass along his experiences as a deaf player on to his son.

"I always kept my eye on the ball," Joel wrote via e-mail. "I was first off the line because I was the first to see that the ball had been put into play. I was not depending on my hearing. If the ball moved, I moved. I had to be very observant of other players, when the play stopped, I couldn't hear the whistle blow. I watched the other players and, if necessary, was able to jump over my opponent rather than tackle him."

J.R. has tried to pick up on that technique and can often be seen getting a good jump on his pass rush because of it.

"I watched tapes of him playing, and he was always the first off the whistle," said J.R., who has two sacks, a fumble recovery and 14 tackles on the season. "We worked together on getting a jump and using my hands to get off blocks."

Plote said the fact that his parents have given him and his sister, Cassie, a sophomore who plays volleyball, a peek into a different world has been rewarding.

"I've been able to sign since I was a baby," said Plote, who has two half-brothers in Jack, 6, and Roman, 2. "I can communicate in (his parent's) world and the hearing world. A lot of people never get that opportunity. I think it helps broaden my life experiences, and it could help down the line."

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Plote might get that opportunity on a college campus in the fall. He has offers from the Air Force Academy, New Mexico State and South Dakota State.

Any decision as to where he will end up will come late in process, near the February signing date, as he hopes to get more offers after he concludes his senior season.

In a perfect world, Plote, who is a game-time decision against Casa Grande because of a hamstring, will find his way back to his father's home state. In an attempt to get noticed, he went to the Iowa Hawkeye Football Camp in June.

"It has been really fun and a pleasure to share what I know with J.R.," Joel said. "A real moment of pride for me was taking J.R. to the Iowa football camp this summer and sitting with my old high school coach, Jerry Southmayd."

Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said that Plote, who is also being recruited as a tight end, is a perfect college prospect.

"This is one of the best kids in the state," Vaughan said. "I am not just talking about football ability. He can play at that level, but he is a great kid, leader and all-around person. Once he gets on a team, he is going to make them better by his work ethic and character."

In the meantime, Plote will continue to do his best to bring the crowd to a roar even if his family has their own way of soaking in the atmosphere.

"They might not hear my name being called, but they can feel the momentum of a big play," he said. "When I come back to the sideline and I see them smiling or signing real fast I know they are excited, too."

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