Mountain Pointe Pride
Division I, Section III
Coach: Norris Vaughan
Last year's record: 6-5, lost to Brophy in first round of the Division I state playoffs
Returning offensive starters: 4, including junior wide receiver Jalen Brown, who might be the most athletic offensive player to come out of Mountain Pointe.
Returning defensive starters: 7, including senior defensive end Kenny Lacy, who is being recruited mostly on offense but just might be even stronger on the other side of the ball.
Aug. 24 Hamilton; Aug. 31 Mesa; Sept. 7 at Desert Vista; Sept. 14 at Buena; Sept 20 Chandler; Sept. 28 at Brophy; Oct. 5 at Corona del Sol; Oct. 12 Kofa; Oct. 19 at Mesa Mountain View; Oct. 26 at Westwood.
Aug. 24 Hamilton: The Pride almost pulled this one off last year when it was still searching for an identity on offense (as was Hamilton), but could not hold off the Huskies. Mountain Pointe has had a great offseason and this will be test to see how far the Pride developed.
Sept. 28 at Brophy: This will be the final game of a brutal start to the schedule (four of the first six are against top 10 teams) and after going 0-4 in those games a year ago, this might be a must-win if the Pride can't get a win against Hamilton, Desert Vista or Chandler prior to taking on Broncos.
Oct. 19 at Mesa Mountain View: If the Toros make huge progress as some expect in coach Chad DeGreiner's second season, this might be a make or break game for the Pride. Or might be a great tune-up that prepares them for the postseason if all goes well. Either way, it could be one of the best late-season matchups.
Mountain Pointe had a 'Breaking Bad' problem last year as the chemistry was all wrong and almost had the family fall apart, much like the popular AMC television show.
With many of the players who caused the riff gone, the commitment to change the atmosphere was addressed early on and by the end of spring ball there was new life within the program.
It felt like 2009 all over again when Norris Vaughan's will and approach shook the program's foundation and led to two straight state semifinal berths.
In talking to everyone within the programs there is belief that a return trip is in the offing.
"At a lot of our camps and practices, we all stuck together," junior wide receiver Jalen Brown said. "We are working for each other and making sure we aren't putting our heads down or talking to each other in a negative tone."
The schedule is brutal to start with Hamilton, Desert Vista, Chandler and Brophy mixed in through the first six weeks.
"We just have to be focused and play hard," senior cornerback Travonn White said. "We do that and our record will take care of itself."