Mountain Pointe's football team has been on cruise-control the last three weeks in disposing of North, Cesar Chavez and Maryvale. The joy-riding is at an end beginning Friday night as the Pride visits Chandler High in the first of four tough games in succession on Mountain Pointe's schedule.
Mountain Pointe (4-0) and ranked nationally No. 18 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25, gets its best-test to date offensively from Chandler in this big-time D-I showdown. The following three weeks Mountain Pointe plays Hamilton, Desert Vista and Brophy.
Mountain Pointe likes to run first and has done so successfully and with little wear-and-tear on its top backs — Wesley Payne, Paul Lucas, Brandyn Leonard and Kawuan Ellis. Each is averagingseven six carries per game. Quarterback Antonio Hinojosa has passed for 697 yards and nine TDs. He's thrown on average 10 times per game with Jalen Brown, Timmy Hernandez and Emmanuel Butler all potent targets.
Chandler is led by junior quarterback Bryce Perkins, who has guided the Wolves to a 2-1 mark and gave nationally-ranked St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) a battle last week before losing, 51-31, thanks to St. John Bosco's big second-half. Chandler has a quality win under its belt — Centennial — the first week of the season.
Perkins has accounted for 890 yards of offense (600 passing and 290 rushing) and 11 touchdowns in three games.Perkins is resembling former Chandler, now UCLA standout Brett Hundley with his prolific production. Perkins, running back Chase Lucas and a stable of good receivers will challenge Mountain Pointe. Mountain Pointe has played Chandler the past two seasons, losing 35-24 in 2011 and winning 28-27 last year.
In other games of interest this week in the East Valley and southern Arizona:
DIVISION I: Pinnacle (2-1) at Basha (2-1) – Basha puts Pinnacle's pass defense to the test in this one. Basha quarterbak Zach Werlinger has thrown for 280 yards per game in three contests with 10 TDs and one interception. The Bears have unleashed two new targets for Weringer — Doc O'Connor and Jared Schmidt. They've combined for 27 catches. Three-year starter at running back Rajhan Meriwether is questionable for the game with a hamstring injury suffered early in last week's win over Cesar Chavez. Cody Conrad picked up the slack with an 83-yard rushing effort and enters Friday's game the team's top rusher. Pinnacle gave defending D-I champ Hamilton all it could handler last week before losing, 24-20. The Pioneers have come out of the gate playing well against tough opponents – wins over Red Mountain and Millennium. This is Pinnacle's fourth straight game against playoff teams from last year — D-I or D-II. Pinnacle running back Josh Hoekstra rushed for 108 yards and one TD vs. Hamilton, a portion of the nearly 300 yards Pinnacle rollled up on offense. Hoekstra is averaging 110 yards rushing per game. Perry (2-1) at Mountain View (3-0) — Mountain View hasn't won its first four games of the season since 2008 andis off to its best start under third-year coach Chad De Grenier. The Toros haven't been particularly sharp on defense, but are getting plenty of offense from quarterback John Clark and four receivers — Clark Brown, Robby Millward, Hansen Williams and Jason Hall. All of them are in double figures in reception as part of Clark's 766 yards passing (seven TDs, one pick). Perry dropped a tight opener to Sunnyside, but has rebounded with wins over Sandra Day O'Connor and Gila Ridge. It's a big game for Perry, which needs to fare well in freedom games before embarking on its section schedule that features Hamilton, Chandler and Basha. Mountain View will be the Pumas stiffest test to date, particularly with the Toros ability to throw. Skyline (3-0) at Gilbert (0-3) — Skyline's four-game winning streak (dating back to the final game of 2012) is the longest in school history. A 3-0 start to a season has happened just once since the school opened in 1999 (2004). Coach Angelo Paffumi returns to Gilbert where he was an assistant during Jesse Parker's 10-year tenure there as coach (1999-2008). Skyline has victories over Goldwater, Cibola and Corona del Sol, the former two D-II schools. Last week's 24-21 win over Corona del Sol was its first this season over a D-I opponent. Gilbert is seeking victory No. 1 for new head coach Tim Rutt. Skyline's weapons on offense are running backs Logan Ruppert (474 yards rushing and 5 TDs) and Gabe Lopez (175 yards, 1 TD). Quarterback Micah Amado has thrown six TD passes and rushed for better than 100 yards in three games. Gilbert has been limited to 17 points in its first three games (losses to Mesquite, Desert Ridge and Camp Verde). The Tigers have one TD — a Tyler Stevenson to Jamian Maes TD pass last week. DIVISION II: Tucson (2-1) at Sunnyside (2-1) –Both schools are finding themselves more comfortable this season competing in Division II. Tucson has won its last two games after losing its opener by a field goal to Sahuaro. Sunnyside won its first two games, including a victory over D-I Perry. The Blue Devils found the going tough at Salpointe last week in a 46-0 drubbing to what may be the best team in Division II. Tucson is averaging more than 400 yards of offense per game and is led by senior quarterback Donovan Moore. Moore has passed for 551 yards and five TDs and rushed for 241 and four TDs. The team's top rusher to date is sophomore Bryce Coleman (358 yards and four TDs). Sunnyside has relied on the running of senior back Daniel Bonn, who averaged better than 100 yards per game the first two weeks before getting slowed by Salpointe's stingy defense. DIVISION IV: Combs (3-0) at Coolidge (3-0) — Combs has already equaled the most wins in a season in is short school history. The Coyotes have opted for a balll-control attack under new coach Jesse Hart, which has met mostly with success led by running back Elijah Throckmorton. Throckmorton posted a 240-yard effort and three TDs vs. Wickenburg. Coolidge scored twice in the fourth quarter last week to rally past Fountain Hills. Coolidge is paced by running backs Charles McCarty and Dominick Ellis and senior captain and starting center Gerald Delores. Defensively the leaders are linebackers Chris Glass and Andrew Ortiz.