There likely won’t be another high school football game in this state the rest of the season that will have more significant story lines than the one that will be played tonight between Mountain Pointe and Pinnacle.
For openers, the game features the player ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in the nation in the Class of 2019, Pinnancle’s Spencer Rattler. The senior is the only 5-star recruit in the state in his class, the top prospect in the state, and 247Sports’ pick as the No. 25 player overall in the country.
Rattler threw for just a shade under 4,000 yards and 45 touchdowns last season as he led the northeast Phoenix school to the quarterfinals in the 6A conference state playoffs.
A chance to watch this kid before he leaves to play next year for the Oklahoma Sooners is more than worth the price of admission.
But here’s the second great story line tonight. Rattler has faced the Mountain Pointe defenses three times as a varsity QB. And three times he’s failed to take down the Pride. His freshman year he was able to engineer just a single touchdown in a 27-7 loss to the Pride. Of course, we have to remember that we’re talking about a 14-year-old kid who was handed the starting job when the returning QB quit the team before the season began.
The last two years have been shoot-outs, but despite scoring better, the Pioneers’ effort was just overwhelmed by Mountain Pointe’s potent offense as the Pride won 58-34 last season and 62-34 the year before.
However, the Pride will have a new head coach this time. And that leads us into a third story line that is generating so much interest in this game — and the entire Mountain Pointe schedule, for that matter.
Norris Vaughn resigned his position as head coach at Mountain Pointe last December after building the football program into a local and national powerhouse. He won 10 or more games in eight years and his teams appeared in three state championship games in the state’s highest conference. The Pride won the 6A title in 2013.
Rich Wellbrock, who won a state championship at Goodyear’s Desert Ridge High School in 2014, took over the program and will be coaching his first game on the Pride sidelines since Mountain Pointe did not play last week.
But Pinnacle did play — and gave Wellbrock something to think about as he gets ready for his debut in a game that will be played on the road at Pinnacle.
The Pioneers rolled to a 59-33 win over Perry High School, last year’s state runner-up from Gilbert. They wasted no time in establishing supremacy in their opener, scoring off all six of their drives in the first half. Rattler shredded the Perry defense, completing 20 of his 31 pass attempts for 415 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He added another TD rushing.
Oh yeah, one other thing makes this game a must-see. It will match up the No. 1 (Pinnacle) and No. 2 (MP) teams in 6A. And that’s a story in itself since this is the first time in the history of the program that Pinnacle has reached the top of the 6A rankings. Who doesn’t like a feel-good story like that?
If you want a seat at this one, better get there early.