Resi Shank has been biding his time to start in Mountain Pointe's backfield.
Friday night the senior proved he is capable of carrying on the program's long-running tradition of boasting talented running backs.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound spark plug exploded into the season with 122 yards of offense, including 90 yards rushing and three touchdowns to help the Pride defeat Faith Lutheran, 40-17.
“I was very anxious (to play), but I was confident coming into this game," Shank said. "Our O-line did great so that helped me out a lot. But our team as a whole did really good. We all trust in each other and believe in each other. It all comes down to 'you got my back, I got your back'. As a whole team we came out here knowing that if something bad happens, somebody else is gonna pick 'em up.”
Thing is, nothing bad happened from the opening series until the final horn - outside of a couple of unsportsmanlike issues - as the Pride dominated the Crusaders in every facet of the game.
Mountain Pointe used a balanced attack during the first half, outgaining Faith Lutheran, 225-45, while cruising to a 40-3 halftime lead. The Pride finished with 329 yards - 146 rushing and 183 passing - while the defense stymied its host to 86 yards on the ground and 78 through the air.
Sophomore quarterback Landen Powell was in mid-season form in his debut as starter, completing 20 of 29 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
“It was a great win to come out and start the season. Faith Lutheran is a great opponent and we've been looking forward to testing ourselves," said Powell, who takes over under center for three-year starter Nick Wallerstedt, who graduated and went on to Arizona State University to play baseball. "As a program we have a great preparation. All of our coaches do a great job. As a team, we bonded a lot, so everyone is confident in each other. We all have faith that everyone is gonna get their job done.”
The depth of Mountain Pointe's receiving corps gave Powell plenty of targets, as he connected with nine different receivers throughout the game.
BJ Washington finished with five receptions for 47 yards and one score, Dominique Davis had five catches for 44 yards and Rashion Hodge hauled in Powell's other touchdown toss.
"With a sophomore (quarterback), first game starting at a varsity level, very pleased with his performance tonight," Pride coach Rich Wellbrock said. "He was the facilitator, he didn't have to make a lot of plays, just getting the ball to our guys in space, and they're pretty special when that happens. We talk about starting fast, we wanted our kids to play fast tonight, I thought they did for the most part.
“I was really pleased with us overall on both sides of the ball, and special teams. I thought we did some things on special teams that allowed us to (get) good field position. And good field position makes all the coaches look smart.”
But it was the Pride defense that started the party in Vegas, as Diamante Landrum intercepted Faith Lutheran quarterback Grant Wood on the first play of the game. The Crusaders defense held Mountain Pointe out of the end zone, though, and it was Cameron Rasmussen booting a 38-yard field goal - the first of his career - to give the Pride a 3-0 lead. Four plays later, Faith Lutheran's attempted punt turned into a high snap that went out of the end zone and resulted in a safety, giving Mountain Pointe a 5-0 lead.
The Pride defense continued to hold form, while the offense scored touchdowns on their next two possessions to extend the lead to 19-0 with 3:50 left in the half. The Crusaders got its first points a few minutes into the second quarter with a 26-yard field goal from Alex Khachovan.
It wasn't until the final 3:46 of the first half that Mountain Pointe began pulling away, as Shank scored on a 26-yard scamper, followed by a 1-yard plunge that was set up by an interception by Washington, and Hodge's touchdown reception as time expired in the half, giving the Pride its 33-point lead at the break and putting the game out of reach.
The one area Wellbrock is hoping his team can harness, he said, is with its "chirping" with opponents, as there were moments his players and the Crusaders let their emotions get the best of them, including one instance that saw ejections from both teams.
“Obviously the emotions of this game, we've got to control the emotions of this game, especially if you get into a big game, it can come down to one penalty," Wellbrock said. "But we're moving on. You have to, especially with the quality of opponent that we've got next week, the following week, the following week. We've got no easy weeks, so we know that we've gotta flip the page and get to work. We'll get some (Wi-Fi) hotspots on the bus and go to work on Pinnacle.”
Mountain Pointe( 1-0) opens the home portion of its schedule on Friday with a rematch from last season's opener at Pinnacle (1-0), where the Pioneers romped to a 56-34 victory in a game that ended up being featured on the new season of Netflix's QB1. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
MP 19 21 0 0 -- 40
FL 0 3 0 14 -- 17
MP - Cameron Rasmussen 38 FG, 9:31
MP - Safety, 7:51
MP - Resi Shank 3 run (Rasmussen kick), 6:16
MP - Landen Powell 36 pass to BJ Washington (Rasmussen kick), 3:50
FL - Alex Khachoyan 26 FG, 8:50
MP - Shank 26 run (Rasmussen kick), 3:46
MP - Shank 1 run (Rasmussen kick), 1:16
MP - Powell 4 pass to Hodge (Rasmussen kick), 0:01
FL - Gavin Steck 21 pass from Grant Wood (Khachoyan kick), 5:30
FL - Marcos Canales 2 run (Khachoyan kick), 0:17