CHANDLER - There couldn't be any deviation.

Mountain Pointe had to essentially be perfect and take chances in the right situations in order to knock off nationally-ranked Chandler Hamilton.

The Pride pulled the chance card early in Friday's Class 5A Division I semifinals, but the level of execution needed to end Hamilton's two-year reign didn't follow.

A near swing-and-miss on an onside kick, a defense that was outmatched and an offensive line that was like a broken dam at times led to a 34-10 loss to the Huskies at Chandler's Austin Field.

"We had the right call, had them back on their heels but we missed the onside kick," Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. "They scored early and we made some mistakes and you can't do that against a team that good."

Fifth-seeded Mountain Pointe (10-3) picked up a little tidbit on film, the Hamilton front men on the kick return team left early, and felt they could surprise the Huskies and grab some of their early momentum all underdogs need.

Instead the onside kick by Kevin Kadisak never went the required 10 yards, Hamilton took over on the Mountain Pointe 43-yard line and scored five plays later on quarterback Kyren Poe's 11-yard run.

"When you take a chance like that it's a big reward if you get it, but there is also the risk that comes with it," Hamilton coach Steve Belles said. "We were fortunate to get the ball where we did and take advantage of it."

The Pride managed to get through the first quarter, in large part due to a Poe fumble recovered by Mountain Pointe, down just the initial score. The Huskies (14-0) changed that in a span of 46 seconds in the second quarter that provided the separation needed to plant a seed of doubt in the Pride's psyche.

Leading 10-0, Hamilton's Kendyl Taylor cut inside, sucked in Mountain Pointe's Martin Moriel, and speed past everyone else for a 67-yard touchdown with 9:19 left in the second quarter.

On Mountain Pointe's first play from scrimmage, quarterback Kyle Faunce threw a quick pass on a three-step drop to his right, but Hamilton junior Reggie Daniels snagged it just past the line of scrimmage - making an incredibly athletic play look as natural as goal posts on a football field - and returned it 25 yards for the touchdown.

The Mountain Pointe offense didn't have time to react. It was like everyone was stunned that such a play could happen. It was that great.

"It was a freaky interception and a great play by them," Vaughan said. "We essentially gave them 14 points, but they are a great team. I mean a great, great team."

It was 24-0 at that point and Hamilton, winner's of 39 straight, nearly got another score just before the half but the Pride defense, playing without senior defensive end JR Plote (ankle), showed some grit with a goal-line stand that ended with a Poe incompletion into the end zone on three straight plays to turn the ball over on downs with less than one second remaining.

The Mountain Pointe offense managed just 66 yards of offense in the first half as the Hamilton defense had a field day with the Pride offensive line. Faunce (12 of 28 for 135 yards, 1 TD, I INT) was treated like a crash test dummy at times, running smack dab into large seemingly immovable objects.

The pressure was constant and the holes were almost non-existent for the running backs as the Pride finished with 53 yards rushing on 35 attempts.

"We did what we could," said senior wide receiver Garrett Holle, who set the season record for receptions (52). "We didn't do anything on offense. They took it to us, but we never quit, never stopped trying to get something, anything going against them."

At the end of three quarters it was 34-3 and the Pride managed to get a late score against Hamilton's reserves.

It might seem all for naught, but really it was an indication of what type of heart the team had all season long.

"You know, we have come a long way," senior linebacker Izzy Marshall said. "The score is what is, but no one can take what we accomplished from us. We won 10 games, got back to the semifinals when just about everyone counted us out. It hurts to walk off the field a loser, but we made it to the Final Four. That's counts for something.

"I walk away happy, but not satisfied."



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Box score

Hamilton 34, Mountain Pointe 10

                        MP                H

First downs      10               18

Rushes-yards   35-53       39-235

Passing yards   135           107

Att-comp-int   12-28-1      9-17-0

Fumbles-lost     0-0            2-1

Penalties         3-35            4-60

              1       2       3      4

MP          0       0       3      7--10

H            7      17      10    0-34



H - Poe 11 run (Markette kick), 10:41



H - Markette 24 FG, 11:12

H - Taylor 67 run (Markette kick), 9:19

H - Reggie Daniels 25 INT return (Markette kick), 8:34


H - Markette 37 FG, 6:23

MP - Kadisak 29 FG, 2:12

H - Henson 30 pass from Poe (Markette kick), 45.8


MP - Brown 23 pass from Faunce (Kadisak kick), 48.6



Hamilton rolled past Mountain Pointe to advance to the 5A-I state championship game on Friday night at Chandler.



Reggie Daniels returned an interception 25 yards for a score to give the Huskies a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter.


Player of the game

Hamilton's Kendyl Taylor had 92 yards rushing and a touchdown and added four catches for 34 yards.


Key stat

Mountain Pointe managed just 53 yards rushing on 35 attempts.

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