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As the saying goes, Jimmies and Joes trump X’s and O’s.
Pride head coach Norris Vaughan and Huskies head coach Steve Belles shake hands after Pride won the Division I Football Championships between Mountain Pointe Pride and Hamilton Huskies at University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 30 2013.
On Wednesday, Hamilton football coach Steve Belles alluded to where Saturday's Division I state championship would be decided.
Hamilton coach Steve Belles watches his team from the side line while playing Mountain Pointe in the Div. I State Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. [Tim Hacker/Tribune]
A year ago on Arizona high school football’s biggest stage, Mountain Pointe quarterback Antonio Hinojosa wanted to get away.
Hamilton coach Steve Belles talks to his team after losing to Mountain Pointe in the Div. I State Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. [Tim Hacker/Tribune]
GLENDALE – Norris Vaughan was engulfed into the sea of black.
Mountain Pointe had a purpose when it got off the bus in Las Vegas three months ago.
Steve Belles and Norris Vaughan could take their tongue-in-cheek back-and-forth on the road.
Hamilton can match Mountain View on Saturday with its eighth big-school state championship, while Mountain Pointe is in search of its first championship.
If each play on Hamilton’s game-winning drive Monday night looked similar, it’s because they were.
Hamilton coach Steve Belles took the playoff mantra "win or go home" and applied it to one play Monday night.
Hamilton High School coach Steve Belles talks to his players during a time out of the game against Chandler Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 in Gilbert. [Brant Clinard/ Special to Tribune]
Good times abound on Arizona Ave. these days, north and south of the Loop 202.
A powerful, physical running game.
Hamilton coach Steve Belles, November 15, 2013 at Hamilton. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Hamilton coach Steve Belles addresses his team after their victory over Pinnacle, Friday, November 15, 2013 at Hamilton. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Hamilton's coach Steve Belles contests a fourth quarter call as his team takes on Pinnacle, Friday, November 15, 2013 at Hamilton. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
There are as many schools of thought on the whole advantage-disadvantage debate in "rematch" games as there are rematch games this week in the state tournament quarterfinals.
These matchups are inevitable. Whether sooner or later, a second helping is almost always required for a football team to play on.
Hamilton finished the season with a comfortable 31-0 road victory over Chandler district foe Perry on Friday night. The Huskies were in control from the opening kickoff and overmatched their hosts in nearly every facet.
Hamilton coach Steve Belles talks to his team after Hamilton's win against Highland High School in Chandler on Friday, Oct 25, 2013. [Greg Herriman / Special to Tribune]
In a game dominated by a pair of defenses that made stop after stop after stop, the Hamilton offense did just enough at the game's end to give the Huskies' a 14-7 homecoming win over a feisty Highland squad on Friday night.
No. 6 Pinnacle at No. 3 Hamilton: This is shaping up to be this week’s honest-to-goodness toss up. Of course, that was Red Mountain vs. Highland in the first round and it turned out to be anything but a pick ‘em. Still, there’s no doubt Pinnacle can play with the Huskies, they did so in early September (and it can be argued Pinnacle should have won at Hamilton on Sept. 12). Hamilton believes it’s recent return to health and growth on offense is tangible. Pinnacle believes QB Brian Lewerke is playing significantly better than he was two months ago (Huskies coach Steve Belles raved about him back then and again this week). If Hamilton can control the ball and clock with its running game - and score touchdowns - the Huskies can keep Pinnacle’s offense off the field, which is the best bet because Cules Rose and Daniel Galindo (pictured) are big-play threats at WR as the Pioneers can score quickly. The Pioneers are capable of negating Hamilton’s offense. Expect a few tweaks, but no massive transformations from the first time around. In other words, expect something similar to the first game’s drama.
Prediction: Hamilton 24, Pinnacle 21