Westwood. v. Red Mountain

Westwood avenges last season's loss to Red Mountain

Asked on Wednesday if he ever uses last season's loss to Red Mountain in the final game as motivation, Westwood Coach Roger Suchomel replied that he does bring that up to the players every now and then.  Well, he doesn't have to anymore.  The Warrior's used to quick strike offense and a huge defensive effort to Thursday night to spoil Red Mountain's homecoming, 40-0.  The win gives Westwood the East Valley region championship and the number one 5A – 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs.  It also gives the "experts" a team that looks like it can play with two-time defending state champions, the Hamilton Huskies.


The Warrior's played with a chip on their shoulders from the start.  The Mountain Lions moved into Westwood territory in the first quarter, helped by a fake punt.  But on the next play,  Quarterback Nick Orr fumbled and standout defensive end/runningback Jay Leal picked up the loose ball and rambled 72 yards for the score to give Westwood a 6-0 lead.  On their next possession, Leal went 47 yards untouched off tackle for another score.  And, later in the second quarter Keigan Thompson went 73 yards for a score.  The Warriors dominated the first half and led 19-0.


The second half mirrored the first.  Leal scored early in the third and QB Brice Wilkins heaved a 55 yard bomb to Paul Turner.  The Warrior defense kept Orr shackled all night and held the potent Mountain Lion rushing attack well under their average.  Red Mountain, coming into the game averaging over 250 yards per game on the ground, managed just 123 yards total offense for the night.  Wilkins played very efficiently, throwing for 158 yards on 7 of 11 passes with the TD to Turner and one interception.  Leal was outstanding on both sides of the ball, rushing for 157 yards and 2 TDs to go with his defensive touchdown.  Thompson added 124 yards on 8 carries.  Linebacker Trent Malais also had an outstanding game.  Westwood scored on the first play of a possession four times in the game. 


This will be the first time since 1997 that Red Mountain will stay home for the playoffs.  Coach Jim Jones will look forward to next season as he has numerous juniors back and a sophomore JV squad that went 8-1 this season.  He'll miss big Jon Hargis and his soldier like mentality.  Hargis was one of the few positives on this night.  We'll look forward to seeing him next fall playing Saturdays at ASU. 


The big question for everyone is when the Warriors and Hamilton will meet.  If the powerpoints stay as they are, they should meet in the semifinals, possibly at McClintock High, on the 25th.  This would be the game of the year. Can the Hamilton defense stop the speed of Westwood?  They both have to get through two rounds first and, as we know from year's past, this is easier said than done.  Cox7 will be with you throughout the playoffs beginning next Thursday night, November 10th at 7 PM for a first round playoff game.  Stay tuned for match-ups.  See you then and make sure you check out a playoff game near you.      

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