Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan knows that his team has been through a brutal stretch and to this point has come through unscathed.
Now the Pride need to come up with 48 more good minutes.
The schedule isn’t a surprise. It’s the same one - other than flipping the locations - from a year ago when Mountain Pointe sat at 2-4 after losing 31-14 to Brophy on this night.
Running the table against the same lineup is almost too much to expect as the top-ranked Pride (5-0) travels to Phoenix College to take on No. 5 Brophy (4-2), but that’s the plan.
“It’s probably asking too much but we expect it anyway,” Vaughan said. “I expect them to give great effort. I expect them to play as hard as they can and do everything they can to win the game. It’s a big, big game and I expect them to make sacrifices for the team.”
By all accounts Vaughan is a very demanding coach and everything he does is for the good of the program.
“It’s all about the team at Mountain Pointe,” Vaughan said. “Twenty years from now the kids and I will be gone but what you accomplish as team is recorded. Some people are selfish and don’t look at it that way. I despise that attitude and we’ve gotten away from it.”
Brophy has a similar approach under coach Scooter Molander and he puts a lot of pressure on his team to test him by doing things like playing three games in 10 days to start the season.
“I’m glad we played a Santa Margarita (Calif.,) and we represented ourselves well and glad we played that game,” Molander said. “We need to take advantage of that in every aspect. If you go out there as a team you can compete against anyone, and we didn’t win (Santa Margarita) but we played well and went down to the wire against a top team in the country.
“That’s important when you’re playing playoff-caliber, top-10 opponents.”
Molander said his team, which lost to Red Mountain three weeks ago, has found its second wind.
“It’s hard to imagine what that toll can do to a team,” he said. “We’re getting back into a rhythm. Our legs are finally coming back, it took us awhile. The last three weeks our O-line has really played well and gotten off the ball.”
The Desert Vista passing game hasn’t been as prolific as expected partially because it hasn’t been called upon all that often, but in the Thunder’s lone defeat it was non existence even though top running back Jarek Hilgers missed a good portion of the game.
That doesn’t mean quarterback Matt Young and his targets aren’t working at it.
“We’ve trying to master it and really working at it,” wide receiver Aaron Valdez said. “Our receivers are stacked and guys I trust. We are working hard and we stay 20 minutes after practice to get our timing down.”
In addition to the MP-Brophy contest, Chandler and Hamilton face off as well as Desert Ridge and Red Mountain.
All six are considered state title contenders along with the Thunder and Basha. Come Saturday morning that might not change, but there will be a little more separation.
“I think it’s very interesting,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “You want to win games, obviously, but I think there’s a lot of good team this year who believe in themselves. It’s fun, it’s exciting. It’d be a great time to be a fan in Division I. There’s a lot more spirit and people taking notice and that’s a good thing.”
Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock had similar sentiments.
“There’s a true top eight,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s the highest level of football. We know what we are missing and what our problems are. We can work on them and get it right because any of those eight can win it.”
The well-respected 24-7football.com, powered by Scout, included several area players in its Midseason All-State team.
Mountain Pointe offensive lineman Kenny Lacy and safety Jalen Brown were first team picks while coach Norris Vaughan split to the co-coach of the year with Red Mountain’s Ron Wisniewski. Junior Natrell Curtis was an honorable mention selection on the offensive line.
Desert Vista’s Lorenzo Melvin was a first-team defensive lineman pick, while Zack Tamburo was an honorable mention pick on the DL.
Lakeside Blue Ridge coach Paul Moro goes for his 300 career tonight when the Yellow Jackets host St. Johns.
He will become the third coach from Arizona to reach the milestone joining Vern Friedli (331) and Karl Kiefer (308).
As far as the local coaches, Vaughan has 211 career wins and Hinds has 85.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.