AZ prep football hits mid-season with an exciting Week 5

Week 5 of the high school football season is in the books – right there in the chapter titled ‘Exciting’.  It may turn out to be the best week of the regular season, looking at it from a fan’s perspective.

To begin with, the marque match-up of the week, a game between two unbeaten and ranked teams, lived up to its billing as the top-ranked team in Division I, Mountain Pointe High School, was taken into overtime by Chandler High, the No. 5 team, for a thrilling come-from-behind, one-point win.

Mountain Pointe was able to muster just six points off a pair of field goals by Ryan Sheehan and went into the locker room at halftime trailing, 14-6.  After the Pride tied it up in the second half, Sheehan had a chance to win it in the final seconds – twice.  He missed a field goal that would have won it, then got another shot when Chandler was flagged for roughing the kicker.  His second effort also missed the mark, sending the 21-21 game into overtime.

Chandler (4-1) scored first in overtime on a 10-yard pass from QB Darell Garretson to tight end Patrick Baldenegro, but the point-after failed.  Mountain Pointe (5-0) then tied it up again with a scoring pass from QB Antonio Hinojosa to Dejhon Edwards.

As the tension was at its peak, Mountain Pointe coach, Norris Vaughan, decided to send his back-up kicker John Abercrombie out to attempt the point-after, instead of Sheehan.  The result was a 28-27 win for the Pride.

Not to be undone for drama, out in Scottsdale, Desert Mountain High School waited until the final seconds of its game with Notre Dame Prep to squeeze out a win and hold on to its unbeaten record.

And to make things more interesting, Desert Mountain (5-0) let the Saints (2-3) climb out of a 20-point hole to come within a hair of pulling off the upset.

Desert Mountain’s wide receiver, Mark Andrews, had already scored a couple of touchdowns on the night – but had also dropped three passes in the second half.  But he was the target for QB Kyle Allen on what turned out to be the winning play of the game.  Allen hit Andrews with a two-yard strike with just 12 seconds left on the game clock to pull out the 40-37 win.

And then there were two games that apparently were responsible for a couple of new state records – both set by quarterbacks.

Red Mountain High School, the No. 2 team in Division I, ran over Gilbert High School in a 56-13 blow-out.  But, in the process, the Mountain Lions’ quarterback, Mason Thorman, threw six touchdown passes, which ties a big-school state record.

Four of those six were to one of Thorman’s favorite targets, wide receiver Aeron Carr.  The final TD toss was Thorman’s 19th of the season.

The other state record came in Prescott High‘s 63-49 win in Division II over Cactus Shadows High School.  Actually, there appears to be one record tied and another broken.

Although Cactus Shadows lost the contest, its quarterback, Bryce Kinsler, recorded a 37-for-60 evening passing to rack up 639 yards – which would break the previous state record by 44 yards.  The six touchdowns tied the mark that Thorman just achieved, making it a handful of quarterbacks that have accomplished that feat.

Kinsler also made it possible for a couple of his teammates to put up big numbers.  Kyle Gladstone gained 271 yards, thanks to 13 receptions, and Matt Harlen added 222 yards on 15 catches.  Gladstone accounted for three scores and Harlen put two more on the board.

Prescott kept more to the ground, as its senior tailback, Brady Mengarelli, piled up 419 yards on 30 carries to re-write the school record books for the third time this season.

If you’re a fan of the long run – and who isn’t – you should have been at the Thunderbird High v. Greenway High game.  Thunderbird’s senior running back, Kani Benoit, took two kick-offs to the house in a 54-37 TBird win.  He then added a 90-yard run to the end zone as he rushed for four more TDs.

And if you’re a fan of great special-teams play, the match-up between a couple of the top teams in Division II was the place to be as No. 4 Ironwood Ridge High School upset No. 3 Marcos de Niza High, 35-27, thanks in large part to two blocked punts and a blocked point-after – and that was just the first quarter.

So, how do they top last week?  Actually, Friday’s schedule has some real potential to do just that.

Division I is arguably the most wide-open of all six this season, and this weekend will feature head-to-head competition among many of those in the best position to get to the state title game.

Red Mountain will take on Desert Ridge, Brophy Prep hosts Mountain Pointe, and Chandler will travel to inter-city rival Hamilton High.

It just keeps getting better.