Mountain Pointe was in position all game long.
A 10-win season. State semifinals. A possible historic win for coach Norris Vaughan.
Most importantly, was a short field - not like Wrigley Field short - that continually gave the Mountain Pointe offense possession in Phoenix Brophy territory.
It was all there for the taking Friday, but the Pride never fully grasped any of it until a kicked ball sailed just right of the goal post with less than 1 minute and 30 seconds left in the game.
The failed 46-yarder field goal by Brophy’s Casey Skowron, who has only been kicking about three weeks, was the final piece to an ugly, yet telling 13-12 win for No. 5 Mountain Pointe over No. 13 Phoenix Brophy at Karl Kiefer Field.
“We weren’t at our best, but we got the win,” Mountain Pointe senior offensive lineman Chris Carl said. “That was one great team we played. They did some things we never saw before, but we got the win and we are in the semifinals. Here we come.”
The Pride (10-2) advances to take on No. 1 Chandler Hamilton (13-0) in the state semifinals on Dec. 3 at a neutral site yet to be announced.
Mountain Pointe is there for the second year in a row under Vaughan, who has made it to the semis in five of the six years he has coached in Arizona since coming out of retirement after a highly-successful career in Georgia.
In the team huddle the Pride went nuts because someone said it was Vaughan’s 200th career win. He said he wasn’t sure, and didn’t want to talk about it because it was the kid’s night. According to the Ahwatukee Foothills News’ archives, Vaughan had 172 career wins when he was hired.
If that is correct, he is at 194-98-2 overall.
Whatever the case, this was one that he and the Pride barely got into the record books.
The offense started several possessions in Brophy territory and a few others on the good side of their own 40 because the defense was tough and punter Kevin Kadisak got the ball inside the Brophy 10-yard line three times.
Yet the offense didn’t get into the end zone, gained only nine first downs (unofficially) and grossed 146 total yards of offense.
With all that being the case, and the defense playing one of its better games, the Pride was about to run out the clock, leading 13-12, when quarterback Kyle Faunce fumbled as he was picking up a first down with 2:18 left.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Faunce said. “I felt so bad. I usually don't make mistakes like that, but I did. The team picked me up.”
Brophy’s Danny Riggs recovered it at the Mountain Pointe 35, but after a 6-yard run by Marche Dennard the Broncos’ Fred Gammage (14 of 21 for 123 yards, 2 interceptions) threw incomplete twice, including a pass deflected by Mountain Pointe Jordan Leal.
It brought out Skowron, who missed one extra-point attempt and never got a chance on the other because of a bad snap, came out for a 46-yard attempt. Again this is someone who had never kicked a football until three weeks ago.
The snap was good, it was placed, Mountain Pointe’s Ben Trotter flew around the corner and the ball got up and sailed just right. The Pride took over and ran out the clock.
“I am very proud of our football team,” said Brophy coach Scooter Molander, whose offense scored with 5:06 remaining to close within 13-12 but blew the extra-point attempt. “We were two, three inches from moving on. Our team melded together and I congratulate Mountain Pointe.”
While Skowron came up short, Kadisak was huge. Not only did he keep pinning the Brophy offense deep, but he also made two field goals of 25 yards and 44 yards to push the lead to 13-7 with the second one coming with 9:15 remaining in the third.
“Some games are just like that where you have to come through,” said Kadisak, who also missed a 38-yarder after a bad snap in the fourth quarter that could have sealed the win. “It’s all the guys (on the line) that help me out.”
Mountain Pointe fumbled the opening kickoff and the Broncos’ took advantage of it when Josh Dennard scored from 1-yard out, but Skowron missed the extra point when Trotter came flying around the end and Jack Nielsen came up the middle.
The Pride took the lead a few drives later when senior linebacker and Arizona State commit Izzy Marshall intercepted Gammage and returned it 38 yards for the score with 57 seconds left in the first quarter.
Mountain Pointe was given good field position again to start the third when Leal recovered Devon Allen’s fumble on the Broncos’ first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
It led to Kadisak’s first field goal, but was a sign that the Pride’s offense was going to continue to struggle against that tough Brophy defense.
“Both teams played their hearts out and the defenses were great,” Vaughan said. “We couldn’t get on track. There is nothing wrong with punting.”
The fact that the Pride had to grind out the win while not playing their best was fitting.
Mountain Pointe has been riddled with injuries, the offensive line has been different nearly every week, the defense is playing with a secondary that might be the youngest in the state and there have been missed assignments all over the place.
Yet, here the Pride stands. One win away from playing for a state championship.
In position to do something special again.
"I don't really know how," Vaughan said. "We had a lot of problems. Unbelievable. But we have two weeks to figure it out."
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Mountain Pointe 13, Brophy 12
Brophy 6 0 0 6--12
Mountain Pointe 7 3 3 0--13
First downs 8 9
Rushes-yards 23-79 26-73
Pass yards 123 73
Att-Comp-Int 14-23-2 11-15-0
Fumbles-lost 1/1 2/2
Penalties-yards 4-45 5-55
B - J. Dennard 1 run (kick failed), 9:37
MP - Marshall 38 interception return (Kadisak kick), :57.
MP - Kadisak 25 field goal, 39.2
MP - Kadisak 44 field goal, 9:15
B - Gammage 13 run (no kick), 5:06
Vitals: No. 5 Mountain Pointe (10-2) won without scoring an offensive touchdown because of stout defense and the leg of kicker/punter Kevin Kadisak to get past No. 12 Phoenix Brophy (6-6) 13-12 in the Class 5A Division I quarterfinals.
Highlight: Mountain Pointe senior linebacker Izzy Marshall intercepted a Fred Gammage pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to the Pride a 7-6 lead and its only touchdown.
Player of the game: Mountain Pointe kicker/punter Kevin Kadisak had three punts downed inside the Brophy 10-yard line and made two field goals (25, 44).
Key stat: Three. That's how many weeks Brophy kicker Casey Skowron has been kicking before missing two extra points (one on a dribbled snap) and a 46-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining. The game-winning try just missed, wide right.