Brophy Prep just made its case for being the team that is best qualified to be the one to keep top-ranked Mountain Pointe High School from the 6A state football title. And the Broncos did it in convincing fashion Friday night by blowing out perennial power house Hamilton High, 44-21.
Both teams are undefeated after six weeks, but Mountain Pointe has been one of the early favorites to win it all. The Pride were ranked No. 2 in the state’s top division when the season began, right behind Chandler High. Chandler has since fallen to No. 4 after two losses, and Mountain Pointe has moved to the top of the heap.
Mountain Pointe has outscored its six opponents, 289-82. The only team that has come within two scores of beating the Pride is Desert Vista High, which rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit to lose 27-13 in last week’s game.
Brophy averages 30 points a game, while the Pride has been scoring 48 per outing. But it’s Brophy’s defense that has been making the difference; the Broncos have held opponents to 10 points per game.
It was that stifling defense that doomed Hamilton as the Broncos forced six turnovers and kept the visiting Huskies on their end of the field most of the night. Four Hamilton turnovers in the first half put the Huskies in a 24-7 hole at halftime, a lead Brophy didn’t relinquish.
The man of the hour on defense had to be Marques White, the sophomore safety who covered one Hamilton fumble and caused another. He also chalked up two interceptions.
On the other side of the ball, Bronco tailback Noah Pittenger ran for 181 yards and a touchdown, while 6’5″ senior tight end Matt Kempton pulled in a pair of TD passes.
So right now it looks like Mountain Pointe and Brophy Prep have an inside track to the state finals. But it’s far from a sure deal.
Brophy has Perry High, also undefeated, coming up in two weeks, and then finishes the regular schedule with No. 4 Chandler. And Mountain Pointe will have to beat No. 3 Desert Ridge High School (5-1) in its final four games.
While you can never count out Hamilton or Chandler, Desert Ridge might be the real sleeper. The Jaguars have the one loss on their record, but that was a season-opening game during the Brothers In Arms Classic in California. So they are undefeated against in-state opponents and are averaging 42 points a game.
That Oct. 14 meeting with Mountain Pointe should answer the question about just how serious a contender the Jags will be going into the playoffs.
But let’s not lose sight of Perry and Skyline High.
Perry is sitting at No. 7 in the rankings and is still undefeated. While the Pumas’ defense has not been that impressive, their offense is averaging 47 points a game. The next three weeks will determine whether they are contenders or pretenders after they have met with Chandler, Brophy, and Hamilton.
No. 6 Skyline has one loss, but that was to No. 5 Hamilton and they lost that one by a single TD. They’re not a dominating team, however; four of their seven wins were by seven or fewer points. Out of the group, the Coyotes would have to be considered the most obvious long shot.