Opening night was filled with anticipation for both squads, with Westview looking to improve on last season's record and Maryvale debuting a completely revamped coaching staff.
Maryvale would receive the ball first. Senior QB Michael McCord got things started by running the football for a four yard gain. A 15 yard face mask call on Westview advanced the ball to the 31 yard line. Three plays later, however, senior Westview OLB Jay Nelson would pick off a McCord pass. Not exactly how the Panthers wanted their opening drive to go.
A four yard run by senior RB Brian Conley, coupled with an offsides penalty against the Panthers, moved the ball to the Maryvale 25. From there, senior RB Reggie Nicholson ran right through the Panther defense for a score. An Adam Garcia (senior) extra point made the score 7-0 with 9:24 remaining in the first.
On the next drive, the Panthers could not get their offense going, surrendering the ball with a McCord punt after a three-and-out. Starting at the Maryvale 46, the Knights needed only four plays (and an encroachment penalty against the Panthers) to get their next score. Nicholson ran right behind the blocking of senior C Guy Reynolds for a 30 yard score. With 5:09 left in the quarter, Westview led 14-0.
After a touchback, Maryvale was able to sustain a drive that got the Panthers into Westview territory. McCord, QB Paul Carryeon, RB Ray Jones, and RB Bernard McCrayton were the key players of the drive, but an incomplete 3rd and 5 pass to WR Edgar Perez would kill the momentum. Westview would then end the quarter after a five yard screen pass to Conley. Westview 14-0 Maryvale at the end of one.
Senior Westview QB Albert Lizarraga then had a touchdown run called back because of two penalties. Maryvale would take over at their own five, but yet another failed drive would lead to a punt. Starting at their own 44, the Knights would need only four plays to advance to the red zone. Four running plays later, Conley would score again, this time from nine yards out. With 3:19 left in the half, Westview led by a score of 21-0.
Another touchback meant Maryvale would again have to drive a long distance. After an incomplete pass and a five yard McCrayton run, McCord would be tackled for a loss, putting the Panthers right back where the drive started. A shanked punt gave the Knights a short field to work with, but a flag on Westview would push them back to Maryvale's 32 yard line. A defensive stand, led by senior DE Tyrell Shivers' tackle on Lizarraga, seemingly put the Knights in a tight spot. Garcia's subsequent 47 yard field goal, however, would add three more points to the scoreboard. With less than a minute left in the half, Maryvale trailed 24-0.
On the first play of the next drive, McCrayton fumbled the ball. Junior DL Vincent Keener pounced on it, giving the Knights great field position once again. On the very next play, Lizarraga hooked up with senior TE Raymond Ortega for a 25 yard score. It only took the Knights 11 seconds to score that time, making the score 31-0. A nice 37 yard return by Maryvale WR Jermaine Marks went for naught, as the first half came to a close.
Westview senior WR T.J. Gladney took the opening kickoff of the second half to their own 39. On 2nd and 11, Lizarraga found Conley 37 yards down the field for a big first down. A run by Conley and two from Nicholson set up first and goal from the 7. After an incomplete pass, Conley found the end zone again, making the score Westview 38-0 Maryvale with 9:07 left in the quarter.
Marks then returned the ensuing kickoff 17 yards. From there, the Panthers would start their best, and longest, drive of the night, going into the fourth quarter. Two Westview penalties, Carryeon, McCord, McCrayton, and Marks, led the march to the Westview five yard line. From there, three straight running plays resulted in a 4th and goal from the eight yard line. Another incomplete pass from McCord to Perez would result in a turnover on downs.
Taking over right then and there, the Knights wasted no time scoring again. Conley took the next handoff and went right up the gut for a 92 yard scoring run, the longest play for either team on the night. That play gave Westview a 45 point lead with 11:19 left in the game.
Strong running by McCrayton put the Panthers into Knight territory once more, but a 15 yard penalty set them back. On 2nd and 23 from their own 37, Carryeon hooked up with Perez for 13 yards, putting Maryvale back at midfield. On the next play, Westview sophomore ILB Eric Ramsey absolutely leveled Carryeon, who tried to run up the middle. Talk about getting smacked up! Ramsey definitely had the hit of the night. Carryeon recovered to find a wide open Perez 25 yards down the field on 4th and 9 for a pass that was dropped. The result: another turnover on downs.
At this point, Westview brought in the reinforcements, giving their starters a well-deserved rest. Final score: Westview 45-0 Maryvale.
Westview's running attack is a force to be reckoned with. Nicholson and Conley give the Knights a powerful 1-2 punch to run behind their hogs. Lizarraga's passing ability should not be taken lightly, either. He is more than just a capable field general.
As for Maryvale, cutting down on mental mistakes will be key for them as they progress throughout the season. While Westview had more penalties (10 compared to Maryvale's eight), the Panthers seemed to have them called in an untimely manner.
Nicholson had two touchdowns, but Conley had three to go with his 142 yards rushing and 37 yards receiving. His 92 yard run gives him the nod over his backfield mate.
Even though he had an interception, Michael McCord gets my game ball for Maryvale. His impromptu running kept drives alive when there did not appear to be any openings.