Winning football games is the norm for Chandler Hamilton. So much so that the prospect of breaking Mesa Mountain View's record of 40 straight victories by defeating Phoenix Mountain Pointe Friday was not much more than a blip on the radar.
A 13-yard touchdown run by senior Marcus Jones with just under 3 minutes to play in the game sealed a tough 17-7 win and gave Hamilton its 41st straight win.
After the game Hamilton head coach Steve Belles was happy about breaking the record, particularly considering he was breaking in 10 new starters on offense, including a completely new offensive line.
"We maybe talked about [the streak] once during the summer," said Belles. "I was really proud of our line. We only have one senior on that group. Our last drive was the best that we ran the ball all night."
Hamilton opened the scoring with a 26-yard field goal by Daniel Wichman on its opening drive.
Mountain Pointe then took the ball and drove down the field on a drive that took over seven minutes and took a 7-3 lead after quarterback Dillan Johnson scored on a 16-yard run.
Hamilton did not trail for long, scoring on its next drive when quarterback Blake Kemp found Washington commit Kendyl Taylor for a 5-yard touchdown.
At this point both defenses flexed their muscles. Hamilton twice drove into the redzone only to come up empty. While Mountain Pointe had its opportunities but failed to convert on twice in the fourth quarter after recovering a fumble on a punt return at midfield and later an interception of Kemp by Jalen Brown, also at midfield.
The Huskies are young and inexperienced but the presence of versatile Taylor will make life easier for Kemp and the young offensive line. Meanwhile the defense should be one of the best in the state. Jaxon Hood and Calvin Thomas are one of the better pairs of defensive tackles in the state. The defensive backfield is anchored by seniors Reggie Daniels and Robert Milus.
The future is definitely bright for the Huskies. Offensive tackles, sophomore Casey Tucker and junior Patrick Joseph pass the eyeball test and performed well as the game went along against a talented Mountain Pointe defense. Junior running back Frankie Felix is a good looking prospect who should be effective as a runner and receiver.
A pair of sophomores; defensive end Qualen Cunningham and wide receiver Izzy Simpson have a chance to be elite recruits by the time they are seniors. Both are well put together for 10th graders and possess excellent athletic ability. They are both names to remember.
Hamilton showed last night that while it maybe vulnerable for an upset early in the season, it is as talented as ever and worthy of being the top ranked team in Arizona.
Mountain Pointe Analysis
The Pride's defense is going to be very good this year. They have size up from with tackles Raynon Blackshire and Detorrion Harvey speed and size at linebacker with Jordan Leal and A.J. Williamson; and playmaking ability in the backfield with Brown.
They also have a big and talented offensive line led by junior Kenny Lacy and senior R.J. Hollis. Brown is a dynamic talent at wide receiver but the question is will Dillan Johnson develop enough as a quarterback to utilize him. Johnson made plays all night with his feet but it will not be enough versus the top teams.
Expect Mountain Pointe to have a strong season but how far it goes will depend for the most part on Johnson's arm.