Johnson, defense lead Mtn. Pointe over Corona - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Johnson, defense lead Mtn. Pointe over Corona

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Posted: Friday, October 7, 2011 12:53 am

Score quick. And hold.

That's how Mountain Pointe senior running back Dillan Johnson said he looked at Thursday night's matchup with visiting Tempe Corona del Sol - especially after what happened just six days prior.

And that's exactly what the Pride did, with Johnson scoring a touchdown less than three minutes in and the Aztecs failing to put more than two field goals on the board the entire game, leading to a 37-6 Pride route.

Just a week earlier, Johnson scored the game's first touchdown in a home game against Phoenix Brophy, only to have the Broncos put one up less than a minute later before piling it on for the relatively easy win.

Not so this time around.

Johnson did his part, posting four of his five longest carries of the game on the Pride's first drive of the night to put Mountain Pointe in the lead; the defense, this time around, did its share as well. It kept Corona off the scoreboard not only in the immediate, but for virtually the entire game.

Johnson, who finished with 157 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries opened his night with gains of 12, 11, 12 and 18 yards before scoring from 7-yards out on the game's first drive.

Little did he know that more than two hours later, his touchdown - plus a Ryan Sheehan extra point - would have been enough after Mountain Pointe's defense held the Aztecs to just a pair of second quarter Zach Von Allworden field goals.

"I knew after last week that we couldn't let that happen again," said Johnson of the effort to not let the Pride's opponent keep pace.

Johnson had nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone Thursday,

While the Mountain Pointe (3-4) defense was stout all night it wasn't until the fourth quarter that Mountain Pointe truly put the game out of reach.

The game was 17-6 at halftime - it stayed that way through the third - before Mountain Pointe scored on touchdown runs by Johnson and sophomores Wesley Payne and Ka'Wuan Ellis.

Payne spelled Johnson most of the evening, carrying the ball 12 times for 52 yards, while Ellis' only carry came with a little more than three minutes to play as it went for a 93-yard touchdown.

In addition to touchdowns by Payne and Ellis, and three by Johnson, Mountain Pointe's other scoring play came on a 23-yard Sheehan field goal at about the 3 minute mark of the first half.

Save for a few early runs of note by senior tailback Dominic Mercurio, Corona struggled all night to gain traction on the Mountain Pointe defense.

It couldn't, registering 0-for-7 on third downs in the first half - the Aztecs were 3-3 on fourth down, however - and relying solely on Von Allworden's kicks from 27 and 32 yards for points.

Mercurio and junior back James Contes carried the load for Corona, combining for 34 carries. But the pair managed just 101 yards. Considering the Aztec passing game never got moving - senior quarterback Kyle Busk finished 6 of 12 for 32 yards - it looked like it was meant to be Mountain Pointe's night from the get-go.

The Aztecs finished with 159 total yards on offense, compared to 439 for the Pride.

A week earlier against Brophy, Mountain Pointe struggled once again to integrate an aerial attack into its arsenal. While the numbers were anything but gaudy, that wasn't the case on this night as junior quarterback Caleb Buck finished an efficient 6 of 8 for 101 yards.

Four of those connections were to talented wideout Jalen Brown, who finished with 70 yards receiving - including snagging a 30-yard jump at the end of the third quarter to set up Payne's fourth-quarter touchdown.

"Caleb, he just needs experience, and he looked good tonight," Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. "People think our teams don't throw the football. I've had many teams where we've passed the ball for 2,000 yards. ... We can't just run the football; we need to throw it out there too."

"It's nice to open up the passing game, but I'm just more happy we have a win. I trust my quarterback. He's getting better every week."

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]