Highland routs Mountain Pointe

Highland running back Chance Cauthen was one of several Hawk players to find the end zone in a 45-0 win over Mountain Pointe in the first round of the 6A playoffs on Friday.

From start to finish it was all top-ranked Highland in a 45-0 shutout against No. 16 Mountain Pointe in the first round of the 6A playoffs.

On the Pride’s first possession quarterback Chris Arviso threw a ball directly to Highland cornerback Kyle Wright who intercepted the pass and returned it for the first touchdown of the game.

“That was the first defensive touchdown in two or three years,” Highland head coach Brock Farrel said. “We’ve always caused turnovers, but we’ve never gotten a defensive touchdown and not early. Getting that defensive touchdown early I think took the wind out of their sails.”

Then, directly after receiving the following kickoff, Mountain Pointe hiked the ball over Arviso’s head and the Hawks recovered in the red zone. Subsequently, on Highland’s first offensive play of the game, running back Chance Cauthen ran the ball 10-yards for a touchdown.

Before the first quarter was over, the Highland defense held Mountain Pointe to a three-and-out and quarterback Gage Dayley capitalized with a 14-yard screen pass to running back Steven Trujillo.

In the second quarter Dayley found wide receivers Kaimana Hanohano and Malloy Hess for a touchdown each and Cauthen found the endzone one more time with just 34 seconds left in the half. Dayley finished the game completing 11 of 12 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns.

Heading into halftime the Pride found themselves down 42-0. Head coach Eric Lauer said that the first two turnovers in the first quarter did his team in from the get-go.

“You can’t have those kinds of mistakes in a big game like that and it can be hard to recover from if you do and we struggled recovering from that,” Lauer said.

Highland came out to start the second half with multiple backups in on offense including backup quarterback Joseph Walter. Walter finished the game completing just one of six passes for negative two yards and the Hawks put up just three second half points.

The Highland defense remained steady in the second half as they held on to the shutout. As for the Pride, the lone bright spot was running back Amire Williams. Williams rushed 16 times for 57 yards.

Throughout the entirety of the game, Mountain Pointe struggled to get the ball into the hands of Division I recruit Amier Boyd. Lauer has said all season that seniors like Boyd have helped change Mountain Pointe’s culture this season. After a one-win season last year, Boyd said that the change started to happen over the summer.

“It started off in the weight room. Everybody did what they had to do, and all the seniors got on the underclassmen and made sure they were locked in,” Boyd said. “This is a big step up especially for the young one’s next year.”

Although Lauer said that this was not how the team wanted to go out, he is excited to continue building off of this year. He said that the culture that Farrel has has brought to Highland can serve as an example of what he wants to do at Mountain Pointe.

“You can’t go backwards. If you haven’t seeded nothing, nothing is going to grow,” Lauer said. “I think this is his (Farrel’s) fifth year and it’s kind of a good model going forward. He’s been able to establish a culture of winning and hard work and we’re trying to do the same.”

Next week Highland will take on Casteel for the second time this season. In the first meeting between the teams, the Hawks beat the Colts 38-17.

“The one thing in high school is it’s hard to beat a good team twice and no matter what we’re going to play a team twice that’s a playoff team,” Farrel said. “We’re going to have to go back and look at our game versus them and see what we need to improve on and then see if we need to adapt anything based on what they’ve done recently. The good news is we’re healthy and energized and ready to go.”

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