Before the season, Westwood football coach Roger Suchomel pointed out to his team a tough five-game stretch that he said included five playoff-caliber teams.
With the biggest one left — Mountain View on the road next week — it’s four up, four down for Westwood, which ran for 262 yards in a 40-22 win over Mesa at Westwood Friday night.
“We came out from the start and put the ball on the ground,” said Westwood running back Keigan Thompson, who scored two touchdowns. “We just ran with it.”
Suchomel said he was especially pleased with how his two-way players held up in humidity that left them completely drained after the game.
“Our kids played well tonight,” Suchomel said.
“There were a lot of big plays on offense. Defensively, I think (Mesa) kind of wore us down a little bit. We’ve got three kids on the lines playing both ways. But our kids never gave up.”
The Warriors (6-0, 1-0 East Valley Region) got on the scoreboard early and never trailed the Jackrabbits (3-3, 0-1).
On Westwood’s first possession, following a 34-yard punt return by Brice Wilkins, the Warriors scored when Wilkins rolled right on third-and-goal from the five and passed to running back Jay Leal for a touchdown.
After Mesa tied it on a 3-yard run by quarterback Adam Moreno, Westwood took over, scoring three unanswered touchdowns, thanks to an offensive line that was opening large holes and a defense that allowed only five first downs on five Mesa possessions before the Jackrabbits got back on the board.
When Mesa scored again, a 1-yard Moreno run to make it 28-15, it finished a 12-play, 45-yard drive that left only eight minutes on the clock.
It proved to be not nearly enough time to mount a comeback, though, after the Warriors recovered Mesa’s onside kick and Wilkins took the first play from scrimmage 55 yards for a touchdown and a 19-point Westwood lead.
Thompson said he is confident with the team heading undefeated into its game with Mountain View.
“I feel really excited because it’s a tough game,” Thompson said.
“Last year they came down here and we beat them. We’ve just got to go up there and beat them this time.”