Mountain Pointe does a lot of good things on the football field.
Jalen Brown is an elite wide receiver, Dominique Fenstermacher is becoming a locked down cornerback and Mitchell Fraboni has a motor that drives the opponents crazy.
The rushing attack imposes its will and the defense is disciplined.
All of these players and attributes can be prepared and schemed for by the opposition. It may or may not work, but at least the coaches can put in a plan to try and neutralize it.
That’s not the case with the Pride’s most important attribute.
There is no preparing for the physicality Mountain Pointe brings on a weekly basis. Coaches can point it out on tape, tell them to fit through blocks or prepare for some big hits but it is very hard to simulate what Mountain Pointe takes the most pride in.
“We are the most physical team in Arizona,” Mountain Pointe two-way lineman Natrell Curtis said after Friday’s 38-14 win over Chandler to go to 5-0. “We bring it every game and they can’t deal with it.”
It started on the first drive of the season when Brown, a lanky 6-2, 185-pound safety, blasted Bishop Gorman tight Alize Jones to force a three-and-out, but in reality it all began in Georgia long ago.
That’s where Norris Vaughan learned to play the game and become a coach that demanded a physical presence from his teams.
“From Day 1 I’ve coached that way,” he said. “It’s the way you play football, isn’t it?”
Not everyone, at least, not at the level the Pride goes about it, can pull it off. Anyone who has seen Mountain Pointe practice since Vaughan took over prior to 2009 can attest to the type of practices he runs. Let’s just say there is no tip-toeing through holes.
“We are a physical style team up front,” he said. “Our line is pretty good, we run hard and we can knock some snot out of ya. It’s the way we like to play.”
Chandler was the latest to find it out. The Wolves hung with the Pride last year in a 28-27 Mountain Pointe win. This year was just the opposite even though Mountain Pointe lost its most physical player, Wesley Payne, in the first quarter to a dislocated elbow.
Mountain Pointe scored 38 straight points in between Chandler touchdowns by piling up nearly 300 yards rushing and held the Wolves’ previously explosive offense to less than 200 total yards.
“They are very good upfront and control the ball,” Chandler coach Shaun Aguano said. “It’s tough because of what we did last week (in a trip to California) but there is no question they are a physical team.”
One team that won’t back down from it and could very well match the Pride in the physical-style of play is 4-0 Hamilton. The two teams meet on Friday at Mountain Pointe.
The Huskies have had to eke out wins the last two weeks against two teams – Pinnacle and Henderson Liberty (Nev.) - that were perceived to be lesser opponents.
It means the Huskies will only be that much more prepared for the rematch of last year’s state title game, knowing the Pride has been replaying that game over for about 10 months.
“This is the game we’ve been waiting for,” Curtis said. “We are going to play our style, the one Coach Vaughan has taught us ever since he got here. It’s what we do.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.