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
40-0. The win gives Westwood the
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
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
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.