Mountain Pointe’s offensive struggles continued Friday, as visiting Chaparral defeated the Pride 28-9 on homecoming night in 6A football.
The Pride came out early with several different formations, directly snapping the ball to several running backs and receivers to try and trick the Firebirds. Coach Rich Wellbrock said the plays were an attempt at finding a new identity. It worked at first, too.
Mountain Pointe reeled off several long runs, even scoring a second-quarter touchdown on a nine-yard rush by senior linebacker Rashion "Chunka" Hodge.
“It was all just trying new things out, getting the ball into everyone’s hands. We have so many fast and talented players that we just wanted to spread it around and use that to our advantage,” senior running back Resi Shank said.
On the other end, Chaparral’s offense moved the ball easily to start. Firebird senior quarterback Jack Miller evaded a solid pass rush with his quick feet, finding time to hit receivers downfield. And near the endzone, Chaparral junior running back Jared Williams was able to score three touchdowns on the ground.
“The offensive line was killing it, Jack (Miller) slinging it around and it was great the amount of confidence the coaches had to give me the ball in those situations. That felt really good,” Williams said.
Even down 21-9 at the end of the half, the Pride had momentum. Chaparral was a bit deflated after an interception that appeared to be returned for a touchdown as time expired was called back due to a penalty.
However, Mountain Pointe’s offense struggled to move the ball the rest of the game. Chaparral’s defense filled some of the holes that the offensive line has opened early. And, Wellbrock said the team could not rebound from some of its negative plays.
“We got behind the chains. We’re not explosive enough where we can get behind the chains and get through it, but we got there a little bit,” Wellbrock said.
However, the defense allowed just one score in the second half, coming off the heels of a wide-receiver pass on a trick play on the opening drive of the third quarter. A one-yard touchdown run by Williams capped off the series.
Though Chaparral tried their best to grow the lead, using both the run and pass, the Pride’s defense tightened up. Mountain Pointe’s offense could not move the ball consistently, but Wellbrock was “really proud” of the way his defense adjusted after a tough first two quarters.
“Everyone really stepped up in the second (half),” Wellbrock said.
The Pride (1-7) will host Desert Ridge (4-4) on October 25, who come off consecutive big wins over region rivals Desert Vista and Queen Creek.
Despite the loss, Shank believes there were positive lessons to take from the game. If the Pride continue to fight like they did in the second half, he believes they have a chance to halt the losing streak come next Friday.
“Everybody finished strong, and we’ve just to keep our heads up,” Shank said. “Physicality will be important, and we’ve got to just stay confident.”
CHAP – Christakos 9 pass from Miller (Christakos kick), 4:07
MP – Rasmussen 29 FG, 0:06
CHAP – Williams 3 run (Christakos kick), 10:05
CHAP – Williams 45 run (Christakos kick), 7:52
MP – Hodge 9 run (kick failed), 3:42
CHAP – Williams 1 run (Christakos kick), 10:56