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.
ut an inside-out running attack, keyed by Desert Vista’s Luke Matthews, Chris Jones and Devon Kennard, coupled with just enough of an aerial attack, gave the visiting Thunder an overwhelming edge, leading to a 37-13 Desert Vista victory.
“It was the line. All of it,” said Matthews, who scored twice on carries of 5 and 1 yards. “The O-line came together and did their jobs.”
Added Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds: “Whatever we do in the playoffs is going to really depend on the O-line, and I was really happy with what they did tonight.”
Matthews (116 yards), Jones (102) and Kennard (40) combined for 258 yards and all five of Desert Vista’s touchdowns to send the Thunder (6-4, 2-1 Central Region) into the playoffs riding high.
Mountain Pointe (4-6, 0-3) on the other hand, looked for a spark from the injured Marquese Wheaton, who was playing unexpectedly in the Pride’s finale despite a mound of tape on the senior tailback’s ankle after missing most of the last month. But Wheaton and the Pride couldn’t muster much on the ground, or any other way, for that matter.
“Our defense played really well tonight. There was one play they got a long one on us,” Hinds said, noting a 47-yard strike from Pride quarterback Brandon Cluff to receiver Markus Wheaton in the second quarter. “But that was it.”
Playing in his first game in nearly a month, Marquese Wheaton managed just 14 yards on seven carries, while the Desert Vista defense held the Pride to less than 100 total yards of offense for the game — 30 on the ground and 68 through the air.
Just when it appeared Desert Vista would go into halftime up by only a TD, the Thunder struck.
After Mountain Pointe cut the score to 14-7 on a 7-yard hookup from Cluff to receiver Markus Wheaton, the Thunder capitalized on good field position and a timely Mountain Pointe penalty to set up a 37-yard field goal by Brock Jolly with two seconds left in the first half.
On the game’s opening drive, Desert Vista started at its own 12-yard line and drove to the Mountain Pointe 4, where the Pride held tough on fourth down. But the Thunder regrouped to kick off the scoring in their next drive, thanks to Kennard’s 5-yard run.