Pride ready for Bear hunt - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Pride ready for Bear hunt

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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2009 11:00 pm

They’ve won their opening two football games of the season under new coach Norris Vaughan by a cumulative score of 101- 28.

Now, some people are talking title for Mountain Pointe.

Others, who remember the Pride’s 2-8 season last year, are saying wait until this week when the Pride host Chandler Basha Friday night at 7 p.m. at Kiefer Stadium.

But that’s what they said last week, too, until the Pride ran over last season’s playoff contender, Gilbert Highland, 56-14.

“You can’t compare scores,” Vaughan said. “Different things happen in different games. But it’s isn’t so much that we won, but that we won so big, so I can see that.”  

Meanwhile, Basha had a scare and had to come from behind in their 35-26 victory over Casa Grande in its season opener last week.

“I think they took Casa Grande lightly and that could be the worse case scenario for us because they’re coming in here with something to prove,” Vaughan added.

Bigger may be better, at least when it comes to the Bears.

Their offensive line averages almost 250 pounds and the defensive line is almost as large, weighting in at an average of 222 pounds. The secondary has two 210-pounders.

“We’re playing well right now but Basha is a team that some people think can win state,” Vaughan continued, “and after watching them on film I can’t disagree with that.”

Last week the Bears’ 6-foot, 190-pound quarterback Mike Benjamin completed 9-of 18 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a weapon all by himself,” Vaughan said. “He’s probably one of the best quarterbacks we’ll face all year and one of the best I’ve seen in a while. He’s big, he can throw and he can run.”

The Pride have some weapons too. Running backs De’Andre Currie and Davon Jones have scored five touchdowns apiece and run for a combined 524 yards.

“We have a chance to be explosive,” Vaughan said. “We have a hard-hitting team on offense.”

However, going into their third game of the season the Pride are making some mistakes, Vaughan said.

“But they’re playing hard and hitting hard and the kicking game has been outstanding. Jon Mora (place and field goal kicker) has to be one of the best in the state and he can punt too. We just haven’t punted yet.”

Vaughan has had some teams get off to great starts in his more than 20 years of coaching. He coached an undefeated team in Georgia before he moved to Arizona seven years ago. He’s since had three unbeaten regular season teams in Wickenburg before he left the Wranglers for the Mountain Pointe job last spring.

“I’d rather be confident than the other way around,” he said. “But we’re no where close to where we should be to compete with a good team.”

Still, the Pride are getting there, he added.

“The big thing is they’re practicing hard and they’re playing hard,” Vaughan said. “As long as they’re committed as a team I won’t have any complaints, win or lose. Some of my proudest moments have come in defeat.”

At the beginning of the season the Pride’s goal was to have a winning season and make the playoffs.

“That’s still our goal,” Vaughan added. “Anything after that would be gravy, but we’d like some gravy.”

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