Mesa’s Kelley Moore will coach the Jackrabbits’ 1,000 game tonight against Gilbert.
It is the most in state history.
While it is an impressive number, Moore is also in the unique position of having coached against both opponents in the Ahwatukee Bowl in Mesa’s 998th and 999th games.
It didn’t go well for the Jackrabbits losing by a combined score of 104-13.
“They are a little different,” Moore said. “Mountain Pointe is playing a lot of athletic kids. DV has athletic kids, but they have some guys up front that are road-grader type guys. It’s going to be a heck of ball game.”
Both teams enter the game 2-0 and playing with a ton of confidence while being ranked as high as No. 1 but no lower than fourth in Division I.
It is hard to say a game in week three has state implications but a boatload of power points are at stake along with the swagger that comes with beating a rival.
“I think it is going to be a great game,” Pride defensive coordinator Jeff Decker said. “The kids are excited and ready to go. I am sure DV is too. Friday night should be fun.”
The Thunder used the bye week to get healthy and should have their first unit together for the first time on offense against Mountain Pointe.
Senior guard Mitch Wehrli (knee) is back and wide receiver Kaleb Germinaro (deep thigh bruise) will be ready to go.
Wehrli will see his first action after surgery in the spring, while Germinaro is back after missing the Mesa game.
“Getting Wehrli back is huge,” Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. “The backups did well, but Mitch is one of our top linemen and gives us some size. It should make a huge difference for us.”
Senior safety Nick Farina, who missed Week 1 and played only a few series against Mesa, will be 100 percent and ready to make good on his appointment as a preseason all-state performer.
The Pride had four starters miss last week because of injuries and a suspension.
Pride coach Norris Vaughan said they were still banged up mid-week but all are expected back including offensive guard Natrell Curtis, who started last week but sprained an ankle early in the game and didn’t return. Curtis, who picked up an offer from Arizona this week, will still start on offense but probably won’t get as many snaps defensively as he normally would.
Putting on a show
Hinds said that senior quarterback Matt Young not only commands the huddle but the entire locker room.
“He really gets into it and gets fired up,” Hinds said. “His pregame speeches are really good. He brings everyone together and when he is done everyone is ready to get after it.”
Punch the clock
Decker said he doesn’t want to even know. Vaughan admits when he gets home some of the work is just starting.
The amount of hours put into a game week is tough to measure because each game, each day is different, but it probably amounts to a second full-time job in addition to their duties during the school day.
The Pride start coming together at 1:45 p.m. each day for seventh period. Vaughan said he probably gets home at 7 p.m. at the earliest. Then he starts to watch film and refine the game plan among other things for about another two hours.
“It’s what the job is,” Vaughan said. “If I don’t do it I feel like I might miss something.”
Setting the tone?
Whether or not it means anything about tonight’s game or future meetings is hard to know, but the Pride won both the freshmen (13-3) and JV game (60-14) this week.
Then again, Mountain Pointe won both contests last year before the Thunder won the weather shortened game 24-0.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.