Both teams led by first-year coaches, Dobson and Westwood entered Friday with plenty of question marks.
Dobson entered the George De La Torre era inexperienced and it showed early and often, as the Mustangs lost two fumbles and threw an interception in the end zone.
Westwood entered the Spencer Stowers era much the same, but took advantage in front of their home crowd as they took control early and opened the season with a 30-19 victory.
The Warriors started things off with a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback McKay Tingey to running back Ray Robinson. The extra point was blocked the 6-0 lead remained until midway through the second.
Penalties stalled Dobson’s first drive and it became a theme throughout. By the end of the night the Mustangs were handed eight penalties for 80 yards.
“The nearly 100 yards in penalties didn’t help us,” said De La Torre, who spent years at various Mesa schools and turned around Phoenix South Mountain and Florence, respectively, before coming to Dobson. “We just need to work on the discipline part of our program, which is everything in football.”
Dobson gave up its first fumble midway through the second quarter, which Westwood converted into a 27-yard field goal by Anthony Castellan to give the Warriors a 9-0 lead.
Dobson responded with a touchdown drive of its own, capped off by a 7-yard pass from Gabe Martinez to Zach Bright to make the score 9-7 in with three minutes left in the first half.
Westwood took over the game from there with a pair of 1-yard quarterback sneaks from Tingey.
“Tingey is a very calm, cool, collected individual and that’s something we need on this team,” Stowers said. “We need someone who can go in to the huddle, be calm, rally the troops and get them together and make sure we are doing what we need to on every play and he does that.”
Tingey finished with 98 yards passing and one touchdown through the air along with his running game.
Westwood controlled the game on the ground in the second half. Led by Robinson who had a 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make the score 30-7. Robinson finished with 134 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Dobson tried to keep the game close with two touchdowns through the air in the fourth quarter, as Martinez had 176 yards passing and the two scores on the night. Martinez’s primary target on the night was Bright, who finished with 105 yards receiving and two touchdowns on four catches.
However, Martinez threw a costly interception in the end zone midway through the fourth that effectively ended their comeback attempt.
WW – Robinson 32 pass from Tingey (kick blocked)
WW – Castellan 27 FG
Dob – Bright 7 pass from Martinez (# 13 kick good)
WW – Tingey 1 run (Castellan kick)
WW - Tingey 1 run (Castellan kick)
WW – Robinson 42 run (Castellan kick)
Dob – Mensah 11 run (Run failed)
Dob – Bright 38 pass from Martinez (Time expired)
98 yards passing 5-for-8 passing
162 yards rushing on 33 carries
13 first downs
5 penalties for 37 yards
1 fumble, 0 lost
176 yards passing 12-for-19 passing, 1 interception
134 yards rushing on 35 carries
11 first downs
8 penalties for 80 yards
4 fumbles, 2 lost