If Norris Vaughan is looking for sympathy he’s probably out of luck.
Sure his Mountain Pointe Pride must replace every offensive starter and a handful of key defenders from 2014’s double-digit win team but at the Ahwatukee school developing and churning out wins has become the norm over the years.
This spring and early summer Vaughan and his staff have been getting an up-close look at how the puzzle will be pieced together when they open the season at Tempe Marcos de Niza on August 21st. The Pride are participating at an ASU camp this week.
“So far, so good,” Vaughan told Sports360AZ.com in a recent interview. “We gotta learn them. They gotta learn us.”
Case in point new starting quarterback Jack Smith who takes over under center after moving to the Valley when father Tracy was hired as Arizona State’s head baseball coach last summer. The senior arrived on campus late last fall. The 6’1, 180-pound duel-threat quarterback (who has offers from NAU, UNLV, Montana and Eastern Michigan) paired with junior Noah Grover gives Vaughan depth at a vital position.
“Last year [in Indiana] I would just throw to the open man,” Smith explained to Sports360AZ.com. “Here I’m making reads. Going off what the corner shows me, what the safety shows me.”
Mointain Pointe’s quarterbacks will have the luxury of throwing to talented wide receiver Isaiah Pola-Mao. The tall and talented junior will draw plenty of attention from defensive coordinators. Senior wide receiver Ralph Roman averaged 14 yards-per-catch and has impressed in off-season workouts. Speedy Jaydon Brooks is another player to keep a close eye on.
Defensively, senior defensive back Ke’Shawn Churchwell and his 8.5 tackles-for-loss and five sacks are back as is linebacker Vavrix Owens and his 57 tackles from last season. 6’1, 205-pounder Daulton Rittenhouse also adds stability and experience at linebacker. Pola-Mao will again see plenty of action at safety playing both ways according to Vaughan.
So, as you can see, not all hope is lost at Mountain Pointe.
Not even close.