LAS VEGAS – Austin Pogue can feel the difference already.

The Mountain Pointe senior defensive end Austin Pogue thinks the Pride defense can be just as effective as last season; it just might go about it in a different fashion.

“It’s about physicality,” said Pogue, who made four starts last season. “We were fast last year and physical. We might be as fast but we are going to be physical, maybe even more physical than last year.”

The Pride has an all new defensive backfield - seniors Dale Black and Dalton Thorpe at cornerback with Isaiah Pola-Mao at one of the safety spots – but return three proven high-level players in linebacker Austin Cronen and Keondre Churchwell with Bruce Hester clogging up the middle as a nose tackle.

There will be other contributors like newcomer Orlando Carter and Ke’Shaun Churchwell, who made ESPN’s SportsCenter last year for play he made on JV.

It should be a good mix of young talent and guys who have been fitted for a state championship ring.

“We’re going to be good,” Pogue said. “We can get the job done.”

Talent contest

To end the final practice before Saturday’s game against Reed in the Sollenberger Classic the Pride had some fun by splitting up by position for a talent contest.

The wide receivers won it thanks to Isaiah Bank’s impressive hand spring routine, but the one that brought down the house was Isaiah Butler’s impression of Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan running the team huddle after the game.

Unfortunately, the colorful language kept the video from being posted but be sure to check out the other ones.

Returning to roots

A good portion of the returning players have different numbers this year and that’s because some of them wanted to return to the numbers they wore during their junior varsity days.

“A lot of us wanted to go back to our first numbers,” said senior Paul Lucas, who is now donning No. 1 instead of No. 30.

Big hole

Reed coach Ernie Howren confirmed that three-year starter and captain Cody Carr, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound guard, will miss the game against the Pride after tearing the meniscus in one of this knees.

Game day

Mountain Pointe will attend the Friday’s game between Brophy and Bishop Gorman for at least a half before returning to Palace Station Casino for bed check. Saturday will include a walk through early in the day before returning to Fertitta Field for the season opener.

Follow along

The game will be on Fox Sports Plus, aia365.com and live tweeting can be found at JSkodaAFN.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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