Ask a high school football coach what the keys to winning a game are. Invariably he will say turnovers. Cliché? Yes, but never truer than Thursday's Ironwood/Westview match-up of Desert West 5A-2 region rivals.
Both teams had plenty to play for. Ironwood had won four games in a row, clawing back to playoff contention after a nightmarish 0-4 start to the season. With top ranked Centennial on the docket the final week, the Westview game was a chance to lock up a spot and not have to win the final week against the powerful Coyotes.
Westview was coming off a disappointing 20-14 loss to Centennial the week prior, a game that head coach Jeff Bowen felt his Knights had a chance to win. Again, turnovers the main culprit in the loss.
What had the makings of an exciting game quickly turned sour for Eagle fans when Knight defensive back Nate McOwens picked off Ironwood quarterback Randy Klucznik on the first possession of the game. Westview standout Brian Conley made quick work for the score and the Knights went up 7-0.
A fumble by Ironwood on their third possession led to another score, a 38 yard run by Conley on the option from senior signal caller Albert Lizarraga. Conley then set up another Knight touchdown with a nifty scamper to the Eagle five where Daniel Gomez scored on a pass from Lizaragga.
Key play of the half came on the kickoff when the Irowood receiver caught the ball inside his five and stepped out of bounds. On the ensuing play, junior Andrew Vargas stuck the Eagle runningback, forcing a fumble that ended up in the hands of Raymond Ortega for the touchdown and the rout was on.
At halftime it was 42-0 Westview and the Knights dominated in all catagories. They had 285 yards rushing while Ironwood turned it over 4 times. In all, the Eagles had six turnovers for the game.
The second half was played pretty even. Bowen rested Nicholson and Conley, giving youngsters like Jourdan Grandon a chance to play extended minutes that could help in the playoffs or next season. The only thing in doubt was the score. Final: Westview 45 Ironwood 7.
Game balls go out to the Westview coaching staff for getting their team up after the previous weeks loss to Centennial. Also, give a game ball to Conley and Nicholson who both ran for over 100 yards. Both have over 1,000 for the season and could end up with 1,500 if they go far in the playoffs.