They partied like it’s 2009.
With expectations understandably heightened after a surprising 12-1 record and trip to the Class 5A Division I state semifinals a year ago, Mountain Pointe cruised to a 58-0 home win over Mesa Dobson Friday night to open the 2010 slate.
After an undefeated regular season last year, when the Pride scored at least 45 points on five occasions, it wasn’t so much, simply, that Mountain Pointe hit the end zone seven times Friday night.
Rather, it was how the Pride did it – finding a balance for its much ballyhooed running game.
While seven different runners broke off runs of 10 yards or more, Mountain Pointe quarterback Kyle Faunce – a junior transfer playing his first game for the Pride – completed 7-of-12 passes for 183 yards a touchdown.
“It’s really cool to be a Mountain Pointe receiver, and to be a part of all this,” said senior receiver Garrett Holle, the recipient of four Faunce passes for 127 yards and a score.
With a team that ran for more than 4,000 yards a year ago, Pride coach Norris Vaughan said that he’s no stranger to almost completely re-working an offensive scheme around the talent he has on the field – something he said he’s done each of the last four years.
“Oh, we can really throw it,” Vaughan said. “Our quarterback was outstanding. … Holle and Jalen Brown, the other wide receiver, they caught a couple of long passes. (Brown) is the freshman. He’s going to be awesome. Our backs can all catch the ball, too, and the run it pretty good, too.”
Mountain Pointe’s stable of backs still did the lion’s share of the damage against the Mustangs, however, to the tune of 333 yards and six touchdowns on 33 carries as a unit.
“I think it opens us up a lot,” senior back Raymus Bryant said of the relative offensive balance. “The defensive coordinators are going to have a hard time stopping us.”
Dobson’s struggles early on could be attributed to losing the field position battle right form the start. In all, Mountain Pointe’s average starting spot on its 12 offensive possessions was its own 42 yard line; Dobson’s was its own 21.
Faunce admitted he and his teammates came out a bit nervous, possibly contributing to the Pride’s 3-0 lead – on a 41-yard field goal by senior Kevin Kadisak – at the end of one quarter.
After reaching the end zone twice in the second – on runs of 8 and 62 by Jordan Leal and Zach Deitchman, respectively, for a 17-0 halftime lead, the third quarter was when a moderately close game turned into a true blowout.
The Pride scored five touchdowns – including four PATs on five tries by Kadisak – in a span of seven minutes and 12 seconds off the third quarter game clock. Bryant scored on a 16-yard run; Dillan Johnson from two yards out; Luis Sharpe on a 27-yard interception return; Holle on a 53-yard catch-and-run; and Michael Whitfield from 30 out.
Whitfield carried the ball just twice in mop-up duty, scoring the 30-yarder and again from 34 out in the fourth quarter.
Dobson starting quarterback Jesse Sesma tried to use his mobility to open things up for the Mustangs, but struggles through the passing game hurt Dobson’s ability to move the ball. TJ Thomas was the Mustang’s leading ball carrier, rushing for 27 yards on four carries, while backup quarterback Justin Maenner completed 3-of-5 passes for 52 yards while trying to end the shutout late in the fourth.
Mountain Pointe standout linebacker Israel Marshall notched multiple tackles for loss, including one sack, while linebacker Marcus Campbell also registered an interception.
Dobson will try and rebound next Friday in its home opener against Mesa, while Mountain Pointe hits the road to face Gilbert Highland.
Faunce said he’s confident that Vaughan – let alone the team itself – is going to let the Pride get complacent after just one week.
“Coach Vaughan is so hard on us at practice,” Faunce said. “We know we’re not the best team in the state, but we think we can be.”
Mt. Pointe Dobson
1st downs 18 7
Rushes-yds 33-333 23-61
Passing yds 183 69
Att-Comp-Int. 7-12-0 5-16-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 8-52 4-21
Dobson 0 0 0 0 0
Mountain Pointe 3 14 34 7 58
1st 4:53 MP Kadisak 41 field goal
2nd 9:24 MP Leal 8 run (Kadisak kick)
2nd 1:01 MP Deitchman 62 run (Kadisak kick)
3rd 9:45 MP Bryant 16 run (Kadisak kick)
3rd 5:27 MP Johnson 2 run (Kadisak kick)
3rd 5:09 MP Sharpe 27 interception return (Kadisak failed)
3rd 3:13 MP Holle 53 pass from Faunce (Kadisak kick)
3rd 2:33 MP Whitfield 30 run (Kadisak kick)
4th 8:58 MP Whitfield 34 run (Kadisak kick)