Casa Grande scored twice in the last minute to top Mesa Westwood 32-25 in a back-and-forth battle Friday in a 5A-I nonregion game at Westwood.
With Westwood leading by six points, Casa Grande quarterback Ben Rodriguez connected with Chris Rutledge on a 35-yard TD pass on fourth down and 59 seconds remaining in the game. John Cave missed the point-after to keep the score tied at 25, giving Westwood (0-2) one more chance.
But on the next drive, Warriors quarterback Ben Davis threw his second pick of the game to Thomas Edwards, who returned the ball to Westwood’s 1-yard line with just seconds remaining. Rodriguez ran in for a touchdown to give Casa Grande (1-0) the win.
The fourth quarter was wild, with the Warriors scoring twice. The momentum seemed to be in their favor after a 99-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard Davis TD run that put Westwood down just two. Westwood then recovered a Cougar fumble, and the Warriors capitalized as Brian Kelley ran for a 13-yard score to give the Warriors a six-point lead.
Westwood took the lead early, with Davis connected with Anthony Bryant for a 4-yard touchdown. A Jonathan Padilla 18-yard field goal with no time on the clock in the first quarter then gave the Warriors a 10-0 lead.
Casa Grande replied with a miraculous 46-yard touchdown pass from Rodriguez to Marcus Groove. An excessive celebration penalty forced a failed two-point conversation attempt for the Cougars. That was followed quickly by another touchdown pass from Rodriguez, this time a 32-yarder to Rutledge to put Casa Grande up 12-10 after another failed two-point conversation.
The third quarter was characterized by defense and turnovers, as Rutledge snuck in another touchdown, this time as a defensive back as he returned a Davis interception 57 yards for a score.