Mesa Westwood went to its July playbook to get a big October win.
On a fourth-and-8 play from the Mesa Dobson 25, Warriors quarterback Brandon Large connected with running back Jeron Beaton for a touchdown with 1:51 remaining to give Westwood a 26-14 cushion. The Warriors then held on for a 26-21 win over their 5A-I East Valley Region rival and host Dobson Friday.
It was the region opener for both teams, which own 5-2 records.
“That was a play we run in passing leagues,” said Beaton. “The coaches pulled that out of the deepest darkness of our playbook.
“They looked at our situation and said, 'Let’s take a shot,’ and it worked. That went back to our passing leagues in July.”
It was the second fourth-down touchdown of the second half for Westwood. Large, who finished with three rushing touchdowns, scored on a 9-yard run on a fourth-and-1 play.
It snapped a Warrior two-game losing streak and improved their road record to 3-0.
“Our kids played hard and stuck to our game plan,” said Westwood coach Eddy Zubey. “It’s always better to start out 1-0 in the region rather than 0-1.
“(Dobson coach Tom DeMassa) and I talked before the game and said anyone (in this league) can go 0-4 or 4-0,” he said. “Anyone can beat anyone on any given night.”
Westwood scored first on its first offensive play, a 45-yard Large run.
Dobson answered with a 12-play, 74-yard drive ending with Kadeem Holman’s 2-yard run on fourth down. But Westwood’s Chris Smith blocked the extra-point attempt to keep the Warriors ahead 7-6.
Holman had two touchdown runs and 103 rushing yards. He did not play in the fourth quarter after he was injured.
The game was delayed for more than 30 minutes because of an injury to Dobson senior Jeff Miles, the Mustangs’ second-leading rusher and third-leading scorer. The injury occurred just before halftime on a pass, intended for Miles, which was broken up by a hard hit from Westwood’s Calvin Washington.
Miles was fitted with a neck brace and left the field in an ambulance.