Bishop Gorman’s Randall Cunningham Jr. scored on a 1-yard run with 2 minutes and 56 seconds left in the third quarter against Mountain Pointe on Aug. 23.
Since then 146 minutes and 56 seconds of third-quarter action has taken place in the Pride’s season and no other team has been able to score – no touchdowns, field goals or safeties – the first 12 minutes coming out of halftime.
“Wow, that’s amazing,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said after being informed of the stat after Pride beat the Jaguars in the state semifinals. “I can see why. That is a great defense over there.”
Hathcock saw it first hand in the Pride’s 27-9 win on Monday as the Jaguars were able to get just one first down in the second half until the game was decided.
Hamilton, the Pride’s opponent in Saturday’s Division I state title game, were one of the team’s shutout in the third quarter during the season on the Pride’s 37-27 win on Sept. 27.
Halftime adjustments are were coaching staffs are either exposed or exalted. It is clear the Pride’s staff is up to making the right decisions to the tune of a 114-7 scoring advantage in the third quarter, but it is still up to the players to execute the changes.
“I didn’t even know that,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said before the Red Mountain game about the stat. “I guess it’s a combination of things. We have a very good staff that can adjust on the fly and our players are smart and quick studies.
“We’re not just going into the locker room to use the bathroom. Just like everyone else we look at what (the opponent) is doing and how we can counter it.”
It’s clearly working and seeing the results gives the players all the more reason to buy into what the coaches are tinkering with 20 minutes of downtime.
“The coaches always put us in a position to succeed,” Pride defensive end Charlie Trevino said. “They see things and change things up to stop anything they were getting yards on. We know they’ll figure it out.”
The opposition hasn’t done much to figure out or even slow down the Pride offense, which has its own crazy stat, in the same fashion.
Check this out - not counting the eight return (defensive, punt or kickoff) touchdowns and 16 punts on the season, Mountain Pointe is averaging a 1.01 per offensive play.
The Pride has piled up 576 points in 573 offensive plays. Let that sink in a minute.
Every time Mountain Pointe snaps the ball it equates to a point being scored. It was never more evident than in the 63-0 win over Corona del Sol when the Pride scored on all nine possessions including three one-play scoring drives.
“We have some guys who can make plays and the line always gets the job done,” Pride quarterback Antonio Hinojosa said recently. “We feel like we are going to score every time we get the ball.”
Of course, Hamilton’s defense is a little more stout than most of the team’s the Pride has faced this season so the exchange rate will lessen against the Huskies.
And that Hamilton coaching staff, which has been known to make a few quality adjustments of their own over the years, will get their second shot at breaking down the Mountain Pointe offense.
It’s the chess game that happens at halftime and up to this point the Pride has always returned to field with dominating results.
“I don’t know, we’ve been pretty good all year no matter what quarter it is. We’ve jumped out to some big leads in the first quarter,” said Vaughan, whose team has outscored opponents 205-13 in the first quarter. “The defense has been great all year, just a little better, I guess, in the third quarter.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.