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YUMA - The Wheaton brothers combined to rush for 226 yards — 164 for Marquese, 62 for Markus — and five touchdowns as Phoenix Mountain Pointe defeated Yuma Cibola 42-8 Friday night.
It’s hard to say what was more impressive following Chandler High sprinter Markus Wheaton’s victory in the 400-meter race on Saturday: the fact that he held on to edge Phoenix Desert Vista’s Spencer Chase, or that he actually knew it before the results were announced.
Chandler High sprinters Markus Wheaton,18, left, and Bryce Lamb,18, will be competing in the Chandler Rotary track meet.
Markus Wheaton of Chandler High School beat Clark Coyle of Mesa High School in the 400 meter dash.
ASU's Deveron Carr(left) and Eddie Elder knock the ball away from the Beavers Markus Wheaton during their game at Sun Devil Stadium. Oct 1, 2011 Darryl Webb/AFN
LOOKING FOR RUNNING ROOM: Chandler’s Markus Wheaton eyes Dobson defender Denton Zander as he turns the corner looking for extra yardage during their game Friday night at Chandler High School.
Relying on transfers: Chandler coach Jim Ewan, talking with players, below, has five players in key roles this year who played at neighboring schools last year. Receivers Markus Wheaton (Phoenix Mountain Pointe) and Caleve DeBoskie (Chandler Hamilton), defensive back Kresean Reed (Phoenix Mountain Pointe), linebacker Rodney Reagans (Coolidge) and running back Taylor Walstadt (Chandler Basha) are either starters or play frequently.
A calculated coaching move early by Phoenix Mountain Pointe coach Phil Abbadessa proved worthwhile late Thursday as backup quarterback Brandon Cluff led the visiting Pride to a 28-27 comeback victory over Scottsdale Horizon in a 5A nonregion game.
Time: 7 p.m., Friday
It's hard to say what was more impressive following Chandler High sprinter Markus Wheaton's victory in the 400-meter race on Saturday: the fact that he held on to edge Phoenix Desert Vista's Spencer Chase, or that he actually knew it before the results were announced.
After dedicating the football stadium to a former coach, Phoenix Mountain Pointe didn’t dare lose the season opener. The Pride didn’t.
Battered and bruised and trying to halt a three-game losing streak, Phoenix Mountain Pointe did a yeoman’s job of keeping pace with rival Phoenix Desert Vista in the schools’ annual Ahwatukee Bowl clash Friday.
Chandler High was anxious to showcase the talent of its football team in front of a Valleywide television audience Thursday night. Mission accomplished.
If Mountain Ridge Coach Bobby Green wanted momentum heading into league play next week, he got it Friday night. Junior wide receiver Cody Wollschlager stretched his long arm over the goal line to score the winning touchdown with 1:09 left in the game, giving the Mountain Lions (5-2) a 16-15 home win over Mountain Pointe (4-3). "Winning a game like this is a real positive and gives us momentum leading into a tough league match up with Desert Mountain next week," Green said. Green just had to wait for his offense to kick into gear, which came when Ridge needed it the most ? the final two minutes. "My hats are off to the offense," Green said. "They were resilient. They went into that two-minute offense and things started clicking. (Quarterback) Kevin Yost really stepped up tonight." "Yost played great tonight," said running back Giorgio Giurdanella. "Our line gave him great protection and he showed what he was capapble of." Down 15-9 with 2:09 remaining and 88 yards of field ahead of them, the Mountain Lions drove against a pass defense that gave up 100 yards passing and allowed just nine catches. Wide receiver Kenny Elgin hauled in a 30-yard lob along the right side line on second down, and Yost followed that with a completion to Anthony Perez for 21 yards, putting Ridge at midfield in 3 plays and 35 seconds off the clock. However, the drive appeared stalled as Pointe picked up its defensive intensity and forced three straight incompletions, setting up fourth-and-10 at the Ridge 38. Yost dropped back and threw a pass over Wollschlager's head who had his defender beat down the right side, giving the ball to the Pride on downs. The drive was kept alive, though, as officials flagged a roughing the passer penalty against Pointe, putting the ball at the 23-yard line with 1:26 remaining. After an incompletion to make it second-and-10, Yost hit an open Wollschlager at the 5-yard line. Defenders hit the junior at the 2 but he fought through the tackles and stretched for the go ahead score. "We've preached that we must play for 48 minutes, and tonight we did," Green said. "I'm really proud of these guys. They showed heart in the face of a lot of adversity. They proved their resiliency and showed how much fight they have." Yost completed just three passes on the nine play drive, but was 18-for-33 with 188 yards and a touchdown along with one interception. Wollschlager caught six passes for 58 yards and the touchdown to pace the Mountain Lion receivers. Pointe tried to answer after getting the ball at the 20-yard line with 1:09 remaining. Quarterback Brandon Cluff hit Markus Wheaton with a 20-yard strike, but, as was the case all night, the Ridge defense buckled down and kept after the Pride quarterback. Cluff threw three straight incompletions before hitting wide receiver Kresean Reed on a 13-yard pass with 41.5 left on the clock. On the next play, with Cluff in shotgun formation, the snap sailed to his right and once he regained possession the Mountain Lion defense was there to stop him and Pointe. Ridge forced two more incompletions to seal the victory. However, it almost wasn't to be for Ridge. Holding onto a 9-7 lead from three Jeff Locke field goals (32, 39, and 33 yards) and riding a defense that allowed 132 yards rushing, 62 of which came on the Pride's first attempt ? a touchdown run by Marquese Wheaton (17-for-107) to give Pointe an early 7-0 lead ? it was another big play that hurt the Mountain Lions. Pride quarterback Adel Begaied, who the Mountain Lions sacked twice on the night, found Markus Wheaton along the left side line and burned a pass that went through linebacker Brian Cunningham's hands, giving Wheaton open field to beat the Ridge secondary and giving Pointe a 15-9 lead with 5:18 remaining. "We could have went in the tank at that point," Green said. "But like I said I'm proud of these players and the coaches for not giving up and still playing hard. There was on give up in them." With the Pride defense focused on stopping senior Giurdanella (18-for-98, and three catches), it was up to Yost's arm and the receiving corps to keep the offense moving. While they earned just 320 total yards, it was enough. However, the Mountain Lions lost a key piece when wide receiver Ryan King suffered what Green said he hoped was a stinger on his left shoulder, which happened midway through the first quarter. He sat on the sidelines, pads off, with an ice pack on the injury and then came out after halftime with his left arm in a sling. "We'll evaluate him this weekend and see if it's just a stinger," Green said. "He's really carried us this season, so let's just hope it's that ? a stinger." BOX SCORE Scoring POINTE: 1Q 9:39 TD - Marq. Wheaton 62 run (Mora kick good). 0-7. RIDGE: 1Q 5:04 FG - J. Locke, 32 yards. 3-7. RIDGE: 2Q 2:55 FG - J. Locke, 39 yards. 6-7. RIDGE: 4Q 11:53 FG - J. Locke, 33 yards. 9-7. POINTE: 4Q 5:18 TD - A. Begaied 72 pass to Mark. Wheaton (Begaied run good). 9-15. RIDGE: 4Q 1:09 TD - K. Yost 23 pass to C. Wollschlager (J. Locke kick good). 16-15. Rushing (att.-yards-td) POINTE: Marquese Wheaton 17-107-1, Jeremy Lefebvre 6-5-0, Adel Begaied 4-18-0, Brandon Cluff 4-(-6)-0, Markus Wheaton 2-6-0, Greg Taylor 1-8-0, Sean Tevz 1-(-5)-0; RIDGE: Giorgio Giurdanella 18-98-0, Kevin Yost 8-34-0, Bret Hager 1-0-0. Passing (comp.-att.-yards-td-int.) POINTE: Begaied 5-13-101-1-0, Cluff 5-11-73-0-1; RIDGE: Yost 18-33-188-1-1 Receiving (comp.-yards-td) POINTE: Mark. Wheaton 3-100-1, Will Claye 2-34-0, Michael Woodham 2-8-0, Kresean Reed 1-13-0, Tevz 1-13, Marq. Wheaton 1-6-0; RIDGE: Wollschlager 6-58-1, Anthony Perez 3-28, Giurdanella 3-0, Jesse Whitlock 2-26-0, Travis Hutchinson 2-21, Elgin 1-30.
Chandler High two-sport athlete Bryce Lamb has accepted a track scholarship to Texas Tech University, Chandler football coach Jim Ewan said.
One more play. That’s all Phoenix Mountain Pointe needed to secure a victory. And the Pride got it when they forced Glendale Mountain Ridge into giving up the football on downs with less than two minutes left in Friday’s game.
Outlook: A 2-0 region mark would look good for Mountain Pointe coach Phil Abbadessa’s team.
Phoenix Mountain Pointe took full advantage of Tempe Marcos de Niza's mistakes Friday in a 38-27 5A Central Region victory in Tempe.
Checking off attendance takes some time at Phoenix Mountain Pointe this year. More than 90 kids at three levels signed up to be in the football program.
Marquese Wheaton and his cohorts have played with an attitude all season long, and it was never more evident than two weeks ago when they made a Heisman Trophy hopeful lose his candidacy.
The bottom line this time of year is winning. Anything else and your team goes home for the winter.
Glendale Ironwood learned a more literal definition of the phrase being thrown to the wolves Friday night at Ironwood.
One of the loudest cheers of the night from Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s side came 20 minutes after the game when paramedics finally loaded Pride senior Ryan Blom into an ambulance.
It's time to step into the unknown. When Mountain Pointe High School opens the football season at home tonight against Phoenix Cesar Chavez the two teams will be meeting for the first time on a gridiron, but that doesn't mean that they don't know anything about each other. There are times that you play the system, not the individual players, and Chavez coach Dan Widmeir is familiar with Pride coach Phil Abbadessa. "When I was at Tolleson we played against Karl Kiefer and coach Abbadessa was with him," Widmeir explained, "so we have an idea of what Mountain Pointe likes to do." Kiefer retired two years ago and although Abbadessa, who took over the program, has incorporated some of his own schemes, the basic game plan in similar. "We're a running team so we hope to control the ball and keep Mountain Pointe's offense off the field as long as we can," Widmeir said. "We know we have to slow down their big guys up front and we have to stop those Wheaton kids," Widmeir added. Mountain Pointe senior running back Marquese Wheaton scored 13 touchdowns and ran for 712 yards as a junior last season. His brother Markus scored three touchdowns as a sophomore and caught 12 passes for 286 yards. The Champions' quarterback P.J. Neal ran for 550 yards as a junior last season and running back Jeremy Vinson averaged more than 15 yards a carry while seeing limited playing time as a junior for the Class 5A-Division I Metro Region team. "We know we're going to have to stop the run." Abbadessa said. "We have a fast defense and some pretty good running backs too, but this is the first game of the season and it usually takes two or three games before you see where you're going to be strong and what you have to work on." Widmeir is also cautious about the Pride's special teams. "Mountain Pointe always has good special teams," Widmeir added. "We saw them play three Metro teams last year and Mountain Pointe's special teams just killed them. We know the special teams will be a big part of this game." Abbadessa acknowledges that the Pride spend time on the special team. "It's really is a big part of the game so we do a lot of work there," Abbadessa said. The Pride should have an added incentive in their home opener. Their football stadium will be named for Kiefer in a ceremony before the kickoff. Larry Ward can be reached at (480) 898-7915 or email@example.com.
If there is any question as to which city has a stronghold on football in Arizona, there shouldn’t be.