After having victory snatched from them two weeks earlier, the Westwood Warriors could breathe easier Friday night when the final gun sounded, signaling their first win of the season.
Though not for long.
class="MsoNormal">SLIDESHOW: Friday night high school football
The officials ruled time had not expired and put 1.8 seconds back on the clock. That gave Phoenix South Mountain one more shot from the Westwood 25.
Greg Watts’ pass fell incomplete, and Mesa Westwood (1-3) held off South Mountain (2-1) for a 21-16 5A nonregion football victory at Westwood.
“They survived, they got over the hump,’’ said Westwood coach Greg Mendez, who picked up his first victory as Warriors head coach. “Young as we are, I think this will make us stronger.”
Westwood had surrendered two touchdowns in the final minute in a loss to Casa Grande two weeks ago, and it briefly looked as though the Warriors might be in for another unpleasant ending.
South Mountain scored on an apparent go-ahead touchdown pass with 16 seconds left, but it was called back because of a holding penalty.
“We just made too many mistakes and didn’t take care of our business,’’ South Mountain coach Zane Zamenski said.
Westwood's Jake Tyra carried 33 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 109 in the first half.
“They made some adjustments in the second half,’’ Mendez said. “We had prepared for it, but we didn’t execute.”
Westwood took the lead for good when Deandre Barnes hauled in a 6-yard pass from Marshall Davis midway through the third quarter. It was the only score of the second half.
Anthony Sanders touched the ball five times for South Mountain in the first half. He rushed for 95 yards and had a 41-yard kickoff return.
He suffered from cramps throughout the second half and only carried twice for 2 yards.
Sanders put the Jaguars up when he ran 35 yards for a touchdown on the sixth play from scrimmage.
Cesar Buelna set up Westwood’s first score when he intercepted a pass at the South Mountain 32 late in the second quarter. Marshall Davis scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Jonathon Parker’s extra point tied the game at 7-7.
Westwood made a goal-line stand to force South to settle for a field goal. Jose Sanchez kicked a 25-yarder to put South Mountain up 10-7.
Tyra scored on a 10-yard run with a little more than a minute left in the half, giving Westwood its first lead.
Sanders ran the kickoff back to the Westwood 49. South Mountain only had 56.8 seconds left before the half. But the Jaguars managed to drive down and score when Watts hits Chris Smith with a 15-yard pass. The kick failed, but South led 16-14 at the half.