In the 20th ever meeting between Ahwatukee’s only two high school football programs, the Mountain Pointe Pride emerged victorious, defeating the Desert Vista Thunder by a final score of 27-13 at Mountain Pointe High School.
Tonight’s win marks Mountain Pointe’s 5th in-a-row over Desert Vista as well as their 10th all-time against the Thunder, evening out the all-time series at 10 wins each. Despite having such milestones on the line, Mountain Pointe head coach Norris Vaughn said that there was no extra motivation leading up to this game.
“Every game is the same to me,” said coach Vaughn.
In terms of wins and losses, every game has been “the same,” for Mountain Pointe as well, with the Pride coming into this matchup sporting a 5-0 record on the season.
Once the game began, running back No. 3 Antwaun Woodberry quickly broke the ice, as he scored a 70-yard touchdown on just the third play from scrimmage, making the score 7-0 Mountain Pointe.
In their first five games this season, Mountain Pointe averaged a whopping 52 points per game, so to no surprise, they continued to pile up the score early.
On their next possession, Mountain Pointe put together a much more methodical drive than the first, consisting of 10 plays over 84 yards. The drive was capped by running back No. 7 Rashie Hodge’s first touchdown of the night, a 12-yard rush which made the score 14-0 in favor of Mountain Pointe with 3:38 to play in the first quarter.
As evidenced by the first quarter, the night proved to be an uphill battle for the Desert Vista Thunder. The Thunder were only able to scrounge two field goals in the first half, courtesy of their kicker, No. 42 Riley Erickson. The first of those was a 15-yard field goal at the 7:53 mark of the 2nd quarter, followed by a 28-yard field goal with 5:10 to play in the half, making the score 14-6 Mountain Pointe.
Just as Desert Vista pulled the game back to within one possession, the Pride struck again. With just 1:49 to play in the half, Mountain Pointe quarterback No. 13 Noah Grover hit wide receiver No. 9 Isaiah Pola-Mao in stride on a post route for a 63-yard touchdown that left the score at 20-6 Mountain Pointe through halftime.
Coming out of the half, Desert Vista’s defense stiffened up, not allowing Mountain Pointe to score any points in the third quarter.
To make matters more interesting, Desert Vista running back No. 24 Lelon Dillard pounded in a 3-yard touchdown run, making the score then 20-13 Mountain Pointe just as the third quarter drew to a close.
Now within just one touchdown again, Desert Vista head coach Dan Hinds looked to a new quarterback, No. 18 Alijah Gammage to lead a game-tying drive, as Gammage was inserted into the game to start the 4th quarter.
Unfortunately for coach Hinds, Gammage’s first pass at quarterback was intercepted by Mountain Pointe defensive back No. 2 Donte Lindsey. Lindsey returned the ball to Desert Vista’s 41-yard line, putting the Pride in good shape to score once again.
“That interception was pretty big,” said Lindsey. “It gave us the momentum that we needed to win the game.”
Just three plays later, Rashie Hodge scored his second touchdown of the game for Mountain Pointe; a 29-yard catch-and-run from the quarterback Grover to make the score 27-13 Pride with 10:41 to play.
From this point on, Desert Vista struggled to maintain any sort of rhythm offensively, with Mountain Pointe controlling the clock by virtue of their stout rushing attack. Mountain Pointe’s backfield, consisting of No. 7 Rashie Hodge, No. 3 Antwaun Woodberry and No. 1 Anthony Stephens proved to be the difference maker tonight according to coach Vaughn, as the Pride held on for a 27-13 victory.
“In the end, we were pretty dominant running the ball,” said Vaughn.
Offensive guard No. 72 Eddie Rivas agreed, adding that the line had a good game in pass protection too.
“They got to the backfield a couple of times,” Rivas said. “But overall I think we did a pretty good job.”
The night ended with a new “Ahwatukee Bowl,” tradition. Ahwatukee Foothills News presented Mountain Pointe with a brand new “Tukee Bowl Trophy,” to be passed around to the winner of the “Ahwatukee Bowl,” every year.
Staying undefeated and advancing their record to 6-0, Mountain Pointe will play their next game at Highland High School on October 7th.
Dropping to 2-4 on the year, Desert Vista will play their next game at Gilbert High School on October 7th.