The schedule suggests the season started in August and culminated Friday night.

It is hardly the case these days when football goes dormant as often as the 24-hour security group at the White House.

"We were talking about it this week and we have been working toward this since February at least," Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. "So much goes into a season that once you reach one of your main goals, like making the playoffs, it feels pretty good."

For the second straight year the big-school postseason is going to include both Ahwatukee Foothills football programs.

Desert Vista (9-1) was assured of a spot before action got underway Friday night and the Thunder solidified their hold on the third seed with a 38-31 win over Chandler. They will host No. 14 North Canyon (6-4) on Friday.

Mountain Pointe (6-4) had to win Friday, which the Pride did with a 49-14 thumping of Westwood, and get some help to get in, which they got in the name of a Hamilton 49-0 cakewalk over Corona del Sol.

The two outcomes moved Mountain Pointe from 17th to No. 15 in the power rankings and dropped Corona from 14 to 17 to help round out the 16-team field in Division I.

The Pride advances to face Brophy (10-0) at Phoenix College.

Mountain Pointe's last defeat came against Brophy as the Broncos came to Karl Kiefer Stadium and won 31-14 on Sept. 30.

"We've got to get ready for the playoffs - starting now," Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said Friday night as he was heading into a meeting. "They're an awfully good team. They've got two of the best receivers in the state, and I think they have the best quarterback in the state, and they have some big kids, too.

"We've got to play out-of-our minds great, and hard, in order to beat Brophy."

Believers in numbers would notice that Vaughan has a chance to keep together a very impressive streak as a run to the state title - as unlikely as it might seem considering the Pride's 2-4 start to the year - would allow him to keep his string of double-digit win seasons intact.

"The only way we win 10 now is to win state," said Vaughan, who's had six straight such seasons since coming to Arizona, including his first two at Mountain Pointe after four at Wickenburg.

Brophy presents all sorts of challenges as the Broncos are well coached, play with discipline on defense and feature one of the best quarterbacks in junior Tyler Bruggman, who entered week 10 with 1,811 yards and a hard-to-believe ratio of 28 touchdowns to one interception.

If he hadn't been injured (broken ankle) toward the end of last season when Brophy had to make due at quarterback, Bruggman might have been the difference in the Pride's 13-12 win in the state quarterfinals.

Should the Pride happen to advance a likely matchup against No. 7 Basha waits with Desert Vista as possible semifinal opponent.

The Thunder might have received the best draw on the way to the semifinals against North Canyon in the first round and mostly likely No. 6 Pinnacle in the quarterfinals.

"We finished exactly where we wanted to," Hinds said.

The Thunder have won three straight and the offense might have been at its season's best in the win over Chandler. If Desert Vista can match that type of performance against North Canyon, which has surrendered 41 or more points three times this season and give up an average of 21.2 points a game, then the quarterfinals bring another home game for the Thunder.

"We are playing good football right now," Hinds said. "Chandler is a good football team and I felt like we were in control. It was a test we needed at the perfect time. We just have to build off of it."

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


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