Mountain Pointe’s football team found itself in a bit of a slump after starting the season with two straight wins.
A tough loss to Perry followed by a blow out one to Casteel had the Pride once again searching for answers and its identity. Head coach Eric Lauer hoped they would be able to get back on track during its long 4-hour bus ride to Sierra Vista to play Buena High School. And that’s exactly what they did.
Mountain Pointe’s offense fired on all cylinders for the first time in three weeks against Buena and left southern Arizona with an astounding 68-26 win over the Colts.
“We were able to get back to who we are,” Lauer said. “We ran 50 plays of offense in the first half. I don’t know how many we had in the second half, but we were able to get back to our tempo.”
Lauer said the team saw its rushing attack once again come alive. It had played a crucial role in the team’s success early in the year with junior quarterback Chris Arviso at the helm. But with Arviso absent the last two weeks, the Pride offense was stagnant and at times, one dimensional.
Senior athlete Amier Boyd, who transitioned from quarterback to wideout and defensive back, started at quarterback on short notice for Mountain Pointe with Arviso sidelined. While he made plays with his athleticism, opposing defenses were able to key in on him.
Against Buena, however, Arviso’s return once again allowed Mountain Pointe to be a threat not only on the ground but through the air. The junior made plays to open the run-game, which flourished. Seniors Devon Sparks, Cam Gillum and junior Jay’len Rushing, according to Lauer, all rushed for over 100 yards against Buena.
The Mountain Pointe offensive line, led by senior left guard Jack Plote and freshman left tackle Kaleb Jones, had their way with the Colts’ defensive line.
“We wanted to pound the rock,” Lauer said. “It’s good when you can be who you are. We were able to push the rock. It was a pretty clean game. I think we are pleased. We haven’t traveled this distance in awhile.”
Boyd, who was able to move away from under center, was key defensively. The Pride held a 38-0 lead at halftime. Most of Buena’s points came late in the game when it was already decided.
The win put Mountain Pointe back on track to potentially make the playoffs for the first time since 2018. But a matchup against Cesar Chavez (3-1) awaits. Given most of the Pride players come from the south Phoenix area where Chavez is located, this game has become more of a rivalry as of late.
Lauer knows it will once again be a test for his program. But it’s one he believes they can handle now that they are back in the win column.
“When I was here the last time, the wins came a lot easier and it was expected,” Lauer said. Now, you have to build that type of mentality and teach them how to practice. The work is done Monday through Thursday. The reward is Friday.
“Without a doubt, this game could be a trap week for us with fall break. We just have to get them up and ready to go.”