The off-season work of Paul Lucas set tone for breakout 2013 season

Mountain Pointe knocking off Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas the first game of the season was not only the coming out party for them as a team. But also for some individual players.

One of which, was the Pride’s junior running back Paul Lucas.

Now, people knew of Lucas already but as the track state champion in the 100 meter dash from last year. But few knew Paul Lucas the football player. Against Gorman, coaches drew up a sweep play for him in the opening quarter that he turned on the jets for and converted a long touchdown run. He would finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

On that play, Paul Lucas the football player was put on everyone’s radar.

“I didn’t think I was going to get as many carries in the first game or at all this year,” said Lucas. “I thought I was just going to be a role player and back-up Wesley Payne.”

Lucas came into the Mountain Pointe fall camp on a mission. It was his first shot at playing at the varsity level and he was ready. Having gained over 18 pounds since his junior varsity season.

“My freshman year I wasn’t focused on football as much because I wasn’t on varsity level so I wasn’t lifting I was staying in track shape,” Lucas explained. “But the coaches got me on the right workout program and it just went up from there.”

“He was small and on JV played shy,” head coach Norris Vaughn added. “We thought he would be an outside guy. But now he has become a complete player and is willing to run anywhere.”

By shy, Vaughn elaborated that he would try to use his speed to run around players and not try to run through them. But now if you watch him run, and it was especially seen after the Pride’s 38-14 win over Chandler, the way he attacks holes he takes off like a freight train not worried about anything getting in his way.

Now Lucas is separating himself as a star in two sports. As mentioned he is the state champion in the 100 meters and is grooming himself as a the future premiere back for the Mountain Pointe program. In reaching new heights on the gridiron, will it impact his track future?

“I want to do track and football as long as I can,” Lucas explained. “Through high school, college and maybe even pros if I can. I want to do both until I am forced to choose one.”

The Pride couldn’t be in a better position as a team that prides themselves on the run. They took a huge hit not just in the run game but overall in losing senior Wesley Payne to a dislocated elbow. There is no time table for his return as of now. But stepping in for Payne is Lucas as well as senior Brandyn Leonard who has come back strong in 2013 after missing most of 2012 after sustaining a concussion.

The Pride have begun the meat of their schedule after the win over Chandler and looking ahead to Hamilton next week in a state championship rematch.

“These next four games, we are treating them like the road to state basically,” Lucas mentioned. “We have four tough ones in a row so that’s basically how we are going to treat it.”

The Pride after each passing week look more and more like the most talented and complete team in Arizona. With the emergence of players like Lucas, the Pride are eyeing the first football state championship in school history.