Mountain Pointe is returning to the scene of the crime and that’s no cliché.
The top-seeded Pride made quick work of No. 9 Red Mountain, 48-7, on the strength of a 21-point first quarter on Friday in the Division I quarterfinals at Karl Kiefer Stadium.
The win advances Mountain Pointe (12-0) to the state semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons where the Pride will take on No. 4 Desert Ridge (12-0) at McClintock High School.
The Pride players had personal items stolen from the locker room at McClintock during last year’s first half in beating Brophy 30-0 in the semifinals.
“I’m not bringing anything valuable, I can tell you that,” Pride senior linemen Natrell Curtis said with a laugh. “I’m just playing. It’s good we are going back to a place we’ve played before. We’ll be ready.”
Unlike the security at McClintock last year, the Pride’s defense has been on lockdown all season and it continued against Red Mountain (6-6).
With the Pride up 14-0 after Antonio Hinojosa (8 of 11 for 161 yards) threw the first two of four touchdown passes, the defense added to the first-quarter scoring splurge when defensive end Mitchell Fraboni hit the quarterback from behind and the ball popped into the hands of Pride linebacker Trey Lauer, who took 28-yards for the score.
“That’s was a big-time play, something you see in the NFL.” Pride coach Norris Vaughan, who improved to 99-16 in his Arizona coaching career. “Our defense has been outstanding all year.”
Red Mountain had its chance to get some momentum in the second quarter after a shanked punt gave the Mountain Lions the ball on the Pride’s 29, but when the offense tried some razzle-dazzle with a reverse wide receiver throw, it was intercepted by senior Dominique Fenstermacher, who nearly turned it into a pick- six.
“There is no margin for error,” Red Mountain coach Ron Wisniewski said. “Even on their first touchdown our kid gets his hand of the ball, but instead of batting it down, he batted it in the air and their kid (Butler) caught it for a touchdown. It was like that all night.
“At the time (on the interception) it’s only 21-0 and if we score who knows where this game goes, but we didn’t. Give them credit. I am proud of our guys considering where we started out (1-4) and how they fought back.”
The Pride, fighting a strong wind, was unable to expand its lead in the second quarter but put up another 21 points in the third quarter as Timmy Hernandez caught a 16-yarder, Brandyn Leonard scored from 5-yards out and Brown hauled in a 64-yard bomb.
The seniors played their final game at home, where the Pride haven’t lost since Sept. 27, 2011, and plenty of them made their presence felt as Wesley Payne rushed for 133 yards on 21 carries, Brown had two scores and finished with three catches for 99 yards, Mitchell Fraboni had two sacks, Lauer had the defensive touchdown and Charlie Trevino had a sack.
“It’s bittersweet because it means a new chapter in my life is coming,” Trevino said. “We’ve had some great memories here. It’s really hard to put into words, but we still have a few more weeks together.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.