Your Source for 6A & 5A High School Football Scores, Schedules, and Power Points

Willow Canyon seeks winning mentality

Hickson & Wildcats D-Line ready for breakthrough

WEEKLY BLOG:  5/6/18

Coming off a 4-6 season that ended in humbling fashion with losses to Liberty and Centennial by a combined 108-6 score, the Willow Canyon Wildcats are ready to move past that and into the 2018 season.

For starters, Willow Canyon was moved in the new realignment from the Northwest Region into the Desert West, where no Peoria powerhouse schools reside.

The Wildcats also have a new head coach as Joe Martinez resigned after the season to further his collegiate education. 

For his replacement, WCHS quickly chose a coach close to the program and tapped Justin Stangler.  Stangler has been with the Wildcats for most of the past decade.  He also has coaching experience at Cactus (his alma mater) and Mesa Community College.

"It has been very smooth," Stangler said in an e-mail interview.  "Kids are working hard in the weight room and competing on the field."

Some of that competition on the field will finally begin on Monday when the Wildcats begin Spring Practice.  The recent teacher walkout delayed the start of it by a week.  Willow Canyon will go each afternoon (five days a week) for the next two weeks before final exams.  There is a lot to accomplish in a short time.

"We are going to be fine tuning our new offense and get ready for summer passing leagues," Stangler said.

The Wildcat offense returns Brendan "Bear" Haynes, who played in eight games last season.  However, there's no guarantee that he will retain the position.

"We are installing a new offense and everyone is competing for a starting job on both sides of the ball," Stangler said.  "We have several kids competing for our QB position, a 'problem' we haven't had in the past.  We are excited about the kids competing and the way they have been encouraging each other."

Haynes completed 56 percent of his passes for 995 yards and eight touchdowns.  Leading rusher Dominic Cardoza is a senior and will have to be replaced, which could turn the Wildcats into more of a passing team.  Among returning players from last year's team, Bryan Puiu had the most yards (167).

Zack Enhelder is Willow Canyon's best prospect.  The 6-3, 235-pound tight end holds an offer from Army and enters his third year on varsity.  Enhelder was one of the captains last season and has an insatiable appetite in the weight room.  Another pass catcher to watch for is wide receiver Martell Dorsett, who saw limited action on offense while also playing cornerback.  Dorsett will also likely have duties in the return game for punts and kickoffs.  He averaged 27 yards on 12 kickoff returns.

The Wildcats' strength seems to be on the defensive line where Jason Hickson returns after making First Team All-5A Northwest Region last season.  While Hickson stops the run and comes through the middle to get to the quarterback (six sacks), ends Brody Tardy and Jalen Schaefer played in most of the games last season.

All told, WCHS sacked the QB 30 times last year.  Some of those came from the linebacker spot where Devin Leon (5.5 sacks) plays.  He is joined there with Kody Harris, who made 33 tackles.  That total tops returning players as the leading four tacklers were seniors last season.

Forcing turnovers in the secondary will be important.  Last season, Willow Canyon intercepted just four passes.

It will be a busy 7-on-7 and big man season for the Wildcats.  The team will take part in passing competitions at Central (5/26), Peoria for the Universal Athletic (6/2), Arizona State (6/6), and Northern Arizona (6/9).  In addition, the lineman will battle in challenges at Central, the Universal Athletic, NAU, and Desert Edge.

The Desert Edge competition is unique in that it takes place over four consecutive Wednesday nights in Goodyear.  From June 6 to 27, teams take part in events and points are awarded with an overall champion crowned at month's end.  In the history of the event, Willow Canyon is the only team aside from Desert Edge to win that Big Man Challenge.

"We want our players to compete in everything they do," Stangler said.  "We want to build a winner's mentality within the program."

On days in June that competitions aren't going on, the players will have weight lifting and speed training.

Last year, the Wildcats started out 3-2 and had a chance at its first winning season since 2011.  However, back-to-back losses to Dysart District rivals Valley Vista (by seven) and Shadow Ridge (by five) derailed that.

Once again, WCHS will face those two schools (which are now both in 6A) in successive weeks in September.  Sandwiched around them is a schedule that contains teams the Wildcats should be better balanced with.  In non-region play, Willow faces Camelback, Dysart (for the first time since 2006), and Ironwood.  The Desert West Region opponents are Independence, Agua Fria, Goldwater, Millenium, and Verrado.  In that entire 10-game schedule, only Verrado (the Wildcats' Week 10 foe) had a winning record in 2017.  The combined record of all 10 teams last season was 36-65.

With the schedule it has ahead of it, Willow Canyon is in position to make a leap.  The coaches will install the offense and defense while teaching the kids how to play in the spring and summer.  Come fall, it will be the heart and effort that will determine if the Wildcats can indeed make that turnaround to where those games at the end against Millennium and Verrado have meaning.  If so, the excitement that exists as spring ball kicks off will keep building.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Willow Canyon defensive tackle Jason Hickson is in pursuit of a ball carrier in last September's Battle for Surprise game against Valley Vista.  The junior had six of the team's 30 sacks last season.  Willow Canyon will look to end a seven-game losing streak against their rivals to the east on Sept. 14 at VVHS.

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2018 schedules are up

Ring the Bells - Liberty charges into 6A at home vs. Brophy

WEEKLY BLOG:  4/29/18

For many schools, Spring Ball begins this week which represents the building blocks for the 2018 season.  The seniors have just a matter of weeks until graduation (assuming the teachers come back) and will no longer be on the high school practice fields.

And with that, the annual transformation of the web site has been completed.  Most notably, the schedules for the '18 season are up for all 80 schools in the 6A and 5A conferences.

Not as many changes as we've seen in past years.  There are still six conferences (1A through 6A) and most regions contain six schools.

For the 10th straight year, Gridiron Arizona will cover the two largest conferences in the state.  For the 2018 (and '19) seasons, that entails 80 teams which is only slightly down from the last two-year block (83).  The schedules have been updated for the games which will begin in less than four months.

Schedules can be viewed by clicking on either the A-L tab or the M-Z tab at the top of the page.  They are arranged in alphabetical order.

Once again, most region games will be played in the second half of the season.  One important change is to 6A, where region winners no longer receive automatic bids to the playoffs.  Those will be seeded solely on the power points.  Winners of the seven 5A regions will still qualify for the playoffs with the other nine positions decided by the AIA/Maxpreps power points.

If you want to follow your favorite school on the road, the addresses have been updated for all of the 6A and 5A venues along the side of the Recent Columns tab.

One change in the scheduling resulted in the end of freedom games (chosen by the schools previously).  Conference committees decided the out-of-region games for schools.

One change that didn't occur in 2018 (but hopefully will in 2020) is the ability for schools to move a single program a level up or down.  If a school decided to petition up or down, all of its programs had to make the move.  Petitions up were granted, the ones that wanted to go down. . . very few.  Conferences were created solely on enrollment (as they were in 2016).

The AIA is developing some consistency with all of the region names remaining intact for this block with several of the same teams in those respective groupings.

Taking a look a the schedules, every team will play exactly 10 regular season games.  Of the 80 schools, 18 will have their "bye" in Week Zero (Aug. 17) and play 10 consecutive games.  Many schools have opted for their bye during Fall Break as 30 of them will be off on Oct. 12.  It's an interesting placement as just two regular season games will remain after that intermission.

There will be a few changes to these schedules as the Barry Sollenberger Kickoff Classic (held in Flagstaff the past two years) has yet to be announced.  Also, a pair of Tucson schools have traditionally begun the season a day early (Thursday, Aug. 16 this year) and they will be named later.  Finally, the YurView schedule normally comes out over the summer.  However, last year's slate included just three games on Thursday nights.

A few compelling Week Zero matchups include Desert Ridge traveling to Red Mountain in a battle between two region winners in 2017.  Chaparral has returned to the top division (the Firebirds were in Division I in 2015) and will start in Chandler against Hamilton.  Two state championship contenders clash in North Phoenix as Perry will face Pinnacle.  Marana will make an early trip the Valley and begin its season at Horizon.  Down in Tucson, Ironwood Ridge and Marana Mountain View have been two of the stronger programs in recent years.  The Mountain Lions play host to that one.  Finally, state champions get together in the Southeast Valley as Centennial (5A winner) goes on the long trip to Casteel (3A winner).  This is the fourth year of the Colts' program (third varsity) and first with a senior class.

There seems to be an increase in out-of-state games compared to years past.  A total of 19 games will be staged with just one Arizona school in them (among 5A and 6A).  Some of those are the traditional ones that Cibola and Kofa play with neighboring California desert schools.  Others include Valley schools.  Desert Vista will play its first two against Southern California schools (one home and one road).  Two-time defending 6A champ Chandler goes to Centennial HS in Corona, CA.  Hamilton makes a trip to Nevada to face Arbor View.  Pinnacle has a September game at JSerra in San Juan Capistrano, CA.  Liberty will host Leland, CA out of  San Jose.  That's the alma mater of Pat Tillman.  O'Connor will welcome Campbell HS in Ewa Beach, Hawaii the last day of August.  Centennial brings another powerhouse program to Peoria when Bishop Gorman (NV) visits.  Williams Field starts its season in Norco (Riverside County).  North Canyon takes a trip to La Jolla Country Day in the San Diego area.  No team will take a longer trip than Cesar Chavez, which flies up to Anchorage to meet the Thunderbirds of East High School to kick off its season.

Looking within the state, the 6A title rematch between Chandler and Perry will take place (at PHS) on Sept. 28 to begin Premier Region play.  There is no scheduled regular season game between 5A combatants Centennial and Notre Dame, so a renewal of that one would have to wait until November and the state playoffs.

Six schools that were at the 4A or 3A level are now among the 43 5A schools.  The newcomers to coverage here on the site are Cactus Shadows, Casteel, Empire, Higley, Nogales, and Sunrise Mountain.  We sadly bid adieu to the nine that have moved down to 4A (but wish them well down there!).

I used several different sources in finding the schedules, but sometimes in doing so, there could be discrepancies from the actual ones.  If you find a difference with your school's schedule, drop me an e-mail and I'll get it corrected.  But for now, what we have is pretty much right on to what you will see when the pads come on, the sun goes down, the lights are powered up, and the games begin.  So now that we know what long-term goals we're shooting for with opponents known. . . let the Spring practices begin!

PHOTO CAPTION:  Liberty charges onto its home field in Peoria after the ceremonial chimes to the start of the AC/DC song Hells Bells.  Last season, the Lions went a perfect 7-0 in front of their LHS faithful.  This year, the Lions were bumped up to 6A due to an increased enrollment (now at 2,280).  Liberty will kick off its 11th season of varsity football on Aug. 17 in Peoria against Brophy Prep.  The Broncos won the only previous meeting in 2015.


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Young Verrado team ready to gain experience

D-lineman Parks & the Vipers favorites in Desert West

WEEKLY BLOG:  4/8/18

Way out on the western fringe of what is still considered the Phoenix metropolitan area is Verrado High School in Buckeye.  The Vipers are building themselves a program.

Verrado, a master-planned community, is at the base of the White Tank Mountains.  The high school, which opened in 2006, is a part of the Agua Fria Union High School District.  It has grown from a 4A-II program, to Division III, and in 2016 went up again, to 5A (the state's second-highest conference).  To get there, you head west on the I-10, past the 303 to Jackrabbit Trail.  In what was a first for me last November, I found no fast food locations in between the freeway exit and my arrival on the campus (3.5 miles away).  So, the area is still being built up.

The Vipers have just 11 varsity seasons in their history, but already seem to have two eras.  The first six years of the program (2008-2013) were lean ones as the team was a combined 15-43 with no winning seasons.  But in the last four, Verrado has flipped the script compiling a 34-11 mark with playoff appearances each year.

The team is led by Tom Ward, now entering his second season as the head coach.  Ward put his offensive coordinator, Sean Moran, in charge of handling the interview with me for this article.  On Friday night, I had a nice conversation with Moran, who is beginning his second year with the Vipers after previously spending time on the staffs at Millennium, North Canyon, and Desert Mountain.

We are now in the month of April and the final day of the month (just three weeks from now) marks the start of spring practices for high school football teams.  Each school takes two to three weeks for these workouts (without pads) and the intents within that time frame vary from team to team.

"We're trying to install an offense," Moran said.  "The defense is working in a couple new wrinkles."

Each school's spring practices coincide with the Spring Evaluation Period for college teams.  Many teams will have extra sets of eyes on those drills as collegiate coaches are allowed to see prospective recruits at their schools from April 15 through May 31. 

Moran thinks schools will be out to see his defensive end, Jonathan Parks.  Last season, the 6-3, 240-pound lineman made 74 tackles (with 14 for a loss) and sacked the quarterback seven times.

Speaking of quarterback, the Vipers return theirs from last season.  In his first year as a starter, Titan Widjaja threw for 1,708 yards and 20 touchdowns (with just five interceptions).

"He's going to be a good one this year," Moran said.  "He's fast."

Last season, Widjaja wasn't called upon often to take off and run the ball (97 yards and three TDs).  That could be something fans of the Black & Gold see more in 2018 with experience at the position.

The primary headline maker for the past three seasons was running back Ja'tai Jenkins.  He rushed for 3,674 yards and 51 touchdowns during that time.  Jenkins will be suiting up for the University of Sioux Falls (S. Dak.) this fall.  His replacement, Lateef Hampton, is a few inches taller (6-1, 190).  Moran said he's the type of player that can make one cut and turn a run into a big play.  In limited duty, Hampton averaged 6.4 yards per carry.  The Vipers averaged 234 yards per game on the ground last year.

Moran is excited about Jimmy Richardson, another speedster that is also a really good route runner.  He'll play on both sides of the ball at wide receiver and cornerback.  The leading returning receiver is Cody Miller (6-1, 205), who had 292 yards in his junior year.

"I'm really excited about what he's going to do," Moran said of Miller, who may move to WR this year after playing tight end in 2017.  "He's going to be a player."

Along the offensive line is where most of the rebuilding will have to take place as four starters from last year's 8-3 team are graduating next month.  It's a unit that will certainly be more experienced next year at this time.

"It's a really young group, but they're really intelligent," Moran said.  "Lots of juniors next season."

On defense, a few players to watch for are Kyle Noble, Blaynton Erbelding, and Landon Mahoney.  Noble was a backup as a sophomore last season and plays linebacker.  Erbelding was a right tackle last season as a junior and will be on the D-Line.  Mahoney is a junior defensive lineman that is big and strong.  The 6-foot, 220-pounder hang cleaned 275 earlier this week.

In evaluating the team during spring ball, it's about progression as many players are inexperienced at the varsity level.  Verrado scored 56 touchdowns in 2017 and 47 of those came courtesy of seniors.

"We're going to get better every single day," Moran said.  "We have a whole bunch of guys that are graduating (from last year's team)."

The new realignment didn't move Verrado up or down or even to another region.  The Vipers are staying put in the 5A Desert West Region that they finished 5-0 in league play in last season.  That was highlighted by a Week 10 win over Desert Edge (24-17 in overtime).  It was the second win in three games played between VHS and the Scorpions in '16 and '17.  The region title led to a No. 8 seed and Verrado hosted Marana.  The Vipers battled back after trailing 28-7 at the half.  A missed two-point conversion with just 51 seconds remaining was the difference in a 35-33 defeat.

However, change is still happening because three schools moved out of the region and three new ones are moving in.  Desert Edge, Deer Valley, and Lake Havasu are all sliding down to 4A ending the rivalry with Desert Edge that started in 2009, the Vipers' first season as a full-AIA member.

"I wish they were able to stay up in 5A," Moran said of the Scorpions.  "I'm excited that Millennium has come down as they are in the same district."

Millennium moves down from the 6A Southwest Region and joins Independence (previously 5A Union) and Willow Canyon (5A Northwest).  The other mainstays in the Desert West are Agua Fria and Goldwater.

On the surface, Verrado looks to be the favorite if for no other reason than the lack of recent success by the other five.  Millennium and Agua Fria last made the postseason in 2013, Willow Canyon in 2011, Independence in 2009, and Goldwater in 2007.

It may not be that easy of a breeze though, because Willow Canyon and Agua Fria have new coaches that are looking to turn those programs around with Justin Stangler (WC) and George Martinez (AF).  Independence has won seven games over the past two seasons after going 5-45 from 2011-15.  Goldwater has a second-year coach in Doug Provenzano that won five games on the field last season and has quarterback Jordan Gourley, who threw 11 varsity touchdown passes as a sophomore at Paradise Honors in 2016.  And then, there's Millennium.

Millennium is the lone school in the new region that defeated the Vipers last season taking a 27-20 win in September, which registered as a surprise to observers across the state.  Moran coached at Millennium three years ago when the soon-to-be seniors were freshman and is aware of the talent that the Tigers have.  Several of the athletes on Verrado and Millennium have played together on youth football teams or, more recently, on 7-on-7 squads.  The game on Oct. 5 (at Verrado) will likely decide the region.


2018 Verrado Schedule

      '17 Record
 8-17  SOUTH MOUNTAIN   (5-5)
 8-24  Bye   
 8-31  CASTEEL  (14-0)
9- 7  at Williams Field  (8-3)
 9-14  CAMPO VERDE  (7-4)
 9-21  at Sunrise Mountain  (11-2)
 9-28  at Agua Fria  (1-9)
10- 5  MILLENNIUM  (4-6)
 10-12  at Independence  (3-7)
 10-19  at Goldwater  (4-6)
 10-26  WILLOW CANYON  (4-6)    
  Total Record of Opponents  (61-48)

PHOTO CAPTION:  Verrado defensive end Jonathan Parks gets back to his position after a play from a home game last season.  He is the Vipers' leading returning tackler after making 74 (including seven sacks) in his junior year.  VHS will play its 11th varsity season this fall.  The Vipers have a four-year streak of winning seven or more games.

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Mountain Pointe marching to the beat of a new drum

Wellbrock ready for high expectations with Pride

WEEKLY BLOG:  3/31/18

Mountain Pointe has been a staying place for head coaches.  In 26 seasons, the Pride has had just three in its history.

In January, Rich Wellbrock became the fourth head coach of the older of the two Ahwatukee schools.  He replaced Norris Vaughan, who resigned in December to move closer to his family in Georgia.

Wellbrock has a career head coaching record of 91-50 at Tolleson, Desert Edge, and most recently, Basha.  He left the Bears after just one season and pursued the open Mountain Pointe position because he felt it was the right fit for both the school and himself.

In the past dozen years, Wellbrock has taken away different experiences from each school.  Tolleson (2006-09) was his first head coaching job.  He took over a Wolverines team that was 5-15 in the previous two years and took them into the playoffs in that first season.  But after that, three losing seasons followed.

"From Tolleson, I took away kind of the do's and don't do's as a new head coach," Wellbrock said in an e-mail interview.  "It was really learning the traditions of a tradition-rich community."

In 2010, he attempted to turn around Desert Edge and was remarkably successful with the Scorpions' program out in Goodyear.  Taking over a team that had no winning seasons in the first six years of the program, Wellbrock not only reversed that trend, but took DEHS to the playoffs in all seven of his years.  He won games in the postseason also as two of those teams (2012 & 2015) played in the Division III championship game with the '15 team bringing home the gold ball.

"From Desert Edge, I took away that when every piece of the program is working for the same goal, anything can be accomplished," Wellbrock said.  "I learned how putting together a great staff makes life as a head coach easier and is great for kids."

Following that 74-15 run at Desert Edge, he left the West Side for Basha and was ready to tackle the challenge of 6A football.  Basha was viewed as a rebuilding project when he arrived and the Bears finished just 2-8 in 2017 and had several players quit the team during the season.  Still, Wellbrock wasn't deterred.

"From Basha, I took away what a phenomenal administration can do to support and help things get going in the right direction," Wellbrock said.

In his time at Desert Edge, the Scorpions were known for their offenses.  His 2013 team aired it out while finishing 12-1.  They set a state record for passing as Anthony Hernandez threw for 4,662 yards and 60 touchdowns.  Just two years later, DEHS was a ground-and-pound team setting a state record for rushing with 5,046 yards.  Quarterback Tehran Thomas and sophomore running back Rocky Perez each eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a 12-2 season.

So, which way will Wellbrock go with the Pride?  It's too early to tell.

"Just like at Desert Edge, we will base our offense around our personnel and the pieces that we have and use their strengths to put points up," Wellbrock said.

Last season, Mountain Pointe averaged 36.2 points per game and went 10-3.  It was primarily a physical rushing team that moved it on the ground more than 75 percent of its plays.

Running back Jakim McKinney returns for his senior year after toting the rock for 1,334 yards (9.2 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns.  If they want to throw the ball, Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson was the team's leading receiver a year ago and the college coaches love him.  The 6-2, 175-pounder has five Division I offers, including Florida.

Quarterback will be a battle to watch.  Nick Wallerstedt was forced into starting duties in 2016 as a sophomore due to an injury to the starter.  Last year, he started every game and passed for 11 touchdowns while rushing for nine scores.  Ahmen Williams (who will also be a senior) could push him for the starting job.  He's been working hard, competing in 7-on-7 tournaments, and attending combines.  Wellbrock may need to find a way to get both playmakers on the field.

Much of the defense will need to be replaced.  The top five tacklers for the Pride last season were seniors plus defensive lineman Matthew Pola-Mao has transferred to Chandler.  Kenneth Lofton, a defensive lineman that had 58 tackles and led the Pride with 12.5 sacks, is the top returner.  The secondary was full of ball hawkers last year (22 interceptions).  However, 19 of those came by members of the Class of 2018, which graduates in less than two months.

If the offense can just get it close, kicker Ben Abercrombie has one of the top legs in the state.  Last season, the junior converted 52-of-53 extra points and hit 10 field goals (long of 47 yards).

Mountain Pointe has been used to winning.  The Pride played in the semifinals in each of the last six years (and eight of the past nine).  With that success comes added expectations and pressure.  This isn't a turnaround job like Tolleson and Desert Edge, and it certainly isn't the reclamation project that Basha was.  Wellbrock knows that and he's ready to win now.

"Expectations and pressure is what a program wants," Wellbrock said.  "It means they are relevant and why my staff and I have come here."

There's a lot of experience on that staff that will be coaching up the Pride this year.  On the offense, quarterbacks coach and OC Ross Crow has been a head coach at Agua Fria and Sierra Linda.  Joining him on that side of the ball are Nate Carr (RBs), Mike Gibbons (WRs), Aaron Frana (OL), Robert Whittier (TEs), and Trace Carroll (quality control).

Looking at the defense, cornerbacks coach and defensive coordinator Conrad Hamilton also has head been a head coach at Chaparral and North Canyon.  The rest of that staff is Brandon Whitener (inside LBs), Jared Williams (quality control), Dubois Gilliam (safeties), Gio Melendez (nickel/star packages), Steve Williams (DEs), Frantz Pierre-Louis (DTs), and Andrew Kahn (outside LBs).

The schedule is incredibly tough for the Pride in this block as eight of its 10 opponents were in the postseason last year.  The two that weren't pose their own threats in Ahwatukee-rival Desert Vista and Corona del Sol in Week 10 (just ask DV what happened last year).  There's no bye as Mountain Pointe skips Zero Week and kicks it off on Aug. 24 at Pinnacle and Oklahoma-commit Spencer Rattler.  A couple weeks later, the Pride play an out-of-state team for the sixth straight year.  Mountain Pointe will travel to Las Vegas for a multiple-team showcase and face Utah's Bingham, which won its second consecutive state title last year.  In Central Region play, Queen Creek replaces Gilbert bringing even more difficulty to an already-tough region.  Games against Hamilton, Chaparral, and Desert Ridge (last season's region champ) will also test the squad.  It's not a stretch to say this will be the most difficult slate MPHS has ever had.

Prior to becoming a head coach, Wellbrock worked under Larry Fetkenhier at Cactus and Joe Kersting at Glendale Community College.  Each shared information with him that he plans to implement at Mountain Pointe.

"(From Fetkenhier) EVERY detail is important and to make sure as a head coach you are aware of that and address them constantly," Wellbrock said.  "(From Kersting) Surround yourself with a great staff that builds relationships with student-athletes."


2018 Mountain Pointe Schedule

      '17 Record
 8-24  at Pinnacle   (9-4)
 8-31  MESA MOUNTAIN VIEW  (6-5)
9- 7  vs. Bingham (UT) @ Las Vegas  (13-1)
 9-14  HAMILTON  (8-4)
 9-21  QUEEN CREEK  (10-2)
 9-28  at Highland  (8-4)
10- 5  DESERT VISTA  (5-5)
 10-12  at Chaparral  (7-5)
 10-19  at Desert Ridge  (9-2)
 10-26  CORONA DEL SOL  (2-8)    
  Total Record of Opponents  (77-40)

PHOTO CAPTION:  The Mountain Pointe drumline plays on the sidelines during the third quarter of a home game in Ahwatukee.  The group is a part of the Lionhearts Marching Band.  Last year, MPHS finished 10th at state in the State Marching Band competition in November.  The group's first halftime performance will come on Aug. 31 when the Pride hosts Mountain View at Karl Kiefer Stadium.

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