Coming off a win against a Mesa school last week (Dobson), Mesa kept its self-esteem moving upwards with a 21-14 victory over Westwood on Friday night.
The Jackrabbits were led by quarterback Jeremy Noble, who had a game-leading 103 yards rushing and one touchdown on 10 carries. Noble scored on a 28-yard scramble to put the Jackrabbits up for good in the fourth quarter.
With six minutes left, Westwood drove inside Mesa's 20, but failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal that would have tied the game. Mesa then successfully ran down the clock by converting three first downs rushing as time expired.
Running back Donovan Trice, who capped off a successful opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run for Mesa, finished with 89 yards rushing and a touchdown on 19 carries.
After Mesa missed a first chance to take advantage of Westwood's special teams mistakes, the Jackrabbits (2-4) caught another break late in the second quarter. The Warriors were penalized for having too many men on the field during a Mesa punt, and this time the Jackrabbits' Eugene McIlhenny capitalized on a 12-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 14-0.
Meanwhile, Westwood’s offense had five three-and-outs, and ran only 47 plays on the night. Quarterback Seb Grasser led the offense with 46 yards passing and a touchdown on seven completions, as he connected with Isaiah Graves for an 8-yard score in the second quarter. Westwood missed the extra point and trailed 14-6 going into the half.
Mesa dominated the game on the ground but penalties and other miscues initially kept them out of the end zone. The Jackrabbits missed two field goals within range, fumbled in the Westwood red zone and had two touchdowns called back on penalties.
“We had many opportunities, our defense played great, but offensively we just couldn’t put it in the end zone when we had the chances.” Mesa coach Kelley Moore said.
Westwood tied the game up at 14-14 when wide receiver Mike Egger broke free on a 60 yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Grasser connected with Justin Trevizo for the 2-point conversion.
“We played a full 48 minutes tonight and that’s something we can take moving forward.” Warriors coach Greg Mendez said. “We ask kids not to quit and to play hard, and they showed that to me (Friday).”
Mesa travels to Skyline (2-3) next week, another big division one test for the team.
“Skyline is every bit as good as we are," Moore said. "They run a good spread (offense), they’re fast and they’re physical. We just have to come out again next week and match them.”