MISSION VIEJO - An 8 pm start time in blistering Southern California heat, on a neutral playing field, set the stage for a compelling matchup in the 2017 Under Armour Brothers in Arms Classic, between Chaminade-West Hills and Mountain Pointe-Phoenix. Chaminade controlled most of the game from start to finish, prevailing by a final score of 39-25.
Converting turnovers into points proved to be the difference Thursday night, along with Andrew Van Buren’s aggressive running style. The three-star prospect and Boise State commit tore apart Mountain Pointe’s defense, finishing with 137 yards and four touchdowns.
“My offensive line did a great job opening up holes for me tonight,” he said. “I always come out and give maximum effort on the football field, it gives us the best chance to win.”
Despite fighting an out-of-state team with a higher ranking, Chaminade punched first and stole momentum throughout the game. On the third play from scrimmage, quarterback Ryan Stevens connected with Stanford-bound Michael Smith for a 77-yard bomb, giving Chaminade a 7-0 lead.
At the beginning of the second quarter, with the game tied 7-7, free safety Christopher Rankins picked off Mountain Pointe’s Nick Wallerstedt and returned it to the 3-yard-line, setting up an Andrew Van Buren touchdown run one play later.
To start the third quarter, Rankins did it again. Wallerstedt began the drive at their own 20, and Rankins snatched his second interception of the night and brought it to the 16. Four plays later, kicker Jonah Lipel iced a 16-yard field goal to give Chaminade a 32-14 lead.
Mountain Pointe was able to stay in the game for most of the first three quarters, due to exceptional play from their defense. With just over three minutes remaining in the first, defensive back Marshawn Gibson intercepted Stevens and returned it to the house, tying the score at 7.
The biggest issue for the Pride was getting rhythm offensively. Wallerstedt failed to sustain a solid attack through the air, which put pressure on running back Jakim McKinney to produce. McKinney did his part, scoring two touchdowns, but Mountain Pointe needed more versatility.
An impressive victory for Chaminade, with Mount Pointe being the number two ranked team in Arizona (via MaxPreps), will need to carry over into next week. Chaminade battles the defending CIF-champions, St. John Bosco, next Friday.
“For an early season matchup, that game will give us a good gage of what we have to do to win at the end, which is the goal,” head coach Ed Croson said. For Chaminade, next week can’t come fast enough.
C - Stevens 77-yard completion to Smith (7-0)
M - Gibson pick six (7-7)
C - Van Buren 3-yard run (14-7)
C - Van Buren 21-yard run (21-7)
M - McKinney 18-yard run (21-14)
C - Van Buren 10-yard run, two point conversion (29-14)
C - Jonah Lipel 16-yard field goal (32-14)
M - McKinney 8-yard run, two point conversion (32-22)
C - Van Buren 19-yard run (39-22)
M - Abercrombie field goal (39-25)