It's funny how 48 minutes of football on a Thursday night can change perspective on a season.
Mountain Pointe posted an impressive 37-6 win over Corona del Sol in order to keep postseason hopes alive despite all that has gone on around Knox Rd.
On the other side of Ahwatukee Foothills, Desert Vista got a dose of reality after being handled easily by three-time defending big-school champion Hamilton.
The 35-10 loss to the Huskies didn't rock the foundation of the program by any means, but clearly showed all involved that there is another level out there to reach before the stated goal a state championship can be attained.
It is time to refocus on what might be the most important week of practice of the season. Mesquite (3-4) is next up and any sort of hangover might keep the season off course.
"I don't see this as the type of team that hangs its head or hangs on to a loss," Desert Vista senior running back/linebacker Mike Arredondo said. "We know when one game is over the next one is the focus. We don't hang on to wins long, either. We know we have to get ready for the next opponent."
The Thunder (6-1) moved the ball on Hamilton (7-0) but couldn't find the end zone when the outcome was still in doubt. The offense had a 10-play drive that lasted nearly 7 minutes in the second quarter, which led to a missed field goal.
"We didn't execute offensively, plain and simple," Hinds said. "You got to score and we made mistakes on a couple of those drives. You have to come up with points."
The defense also struggled, mostly against the pass, as the Huskies threw four touchdown passes and 286 yards.
It was one game and the rest of the schedule - at Mesquite, at Dobson and Chandler at home - doesn't compare to facing Hamilton, so there will be plenty of time to adjust and mentally heal before the postseason begins.
Winning out probably puts the Thunder, currently fifth in the power rankings, somewhere among the top four seeds in the Division I playoffs.
"We have to flush out the loss and get ready for what is ahead," Hinds said. "There are some good times on our schedule and we clearly have to get better."
The Pride (3-4) had a bit of a must-win attitude in the win over Corona (4-3), as a loss might have ended a shot at a third straight year in the postseason under Norris Vaughan.
It is clear the team is not at the level of the previous two seasons when Mountain Pointe won 22 of 26 games while making the semifinals each season.
Those teams didn't play without several of the team's top defensive players or have to overhaul its offensive approach mid-season.
The win over Corona moved the Pride to 19th in the power rankings and averted a lost season.
"That was a huge win; bigger than we probably realized," senior running back Dillan Johnson said. "Every win is big, but the one right in front of us (each week) has to be the most important, if that makes sense."
It sure does and that schedule might be favorable to win out as the Pride travels to Yuma Kofa (1-6) and Mesa Mountain View (3-4) the next two weeks, and then they host Westwood (1-6).
"We've got to look at each game like a playoff game," junior quarterback Caleb Buck said. "Every game is a big game."
Vaughan has had seven straight years of at least 10 wins since coming to Arizona and hasn't had a losing season since 2000 when he was at South Forsyth in Georgia.
He has watched this year's team fight with each other, fight to overcome injuries, and fight to be respectable.
They have three weeks to make it right.
"We're a lot better team than our record shows," he said. "We've had some tremendous adversity. It's just that adversity. That's what it is. You don't have a choice. You just have to keep fighting. We know what we're doing is a good thing. You just have to keep fighting."
Brett Fera contributed to this story.
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