Varsity Football Prevails In Offensive Showdown vs. Austin

By Sourav Dhar, Sports Editor

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In an entertaining match, the Westwood Warriors varsity squad was able to build off of the season-opening victory over East View by coming into Dragon Stadium and triumphing over the Austin Maroons in an offensive slugfest, by the score of 49-35. The Warriors mainly relied on their offense to get the job done on Friday night, as RJ Martinez ‘21, Nate Anderson ‘21, Mario Debs ‘19, Luca Mazzola ‘19, and others all contributed in significant ways to get the win.

The Warriors had an outstanding first half, putting up 35 of the 49 total points they earned in the first 24 minutes of action. The Warriors scored 28 unanswered points to climb out of a 7-14 deficit they faced in the first quarter, and turned it into a 35-21 lead heading into the locker room for halftime after a late Austin touchdown ended Westwood’s hot streak.

Martinez played an important role throughout the game, finishing with 300 yards of total offense (236 passing, 64 rushing) and three total touchdowns. Debs also added three rushing touchdowns, as the veteran running back also played a crucial part in the hard-fought victory. The offensive line was extremely valuable throughout the night as well, providing gaping paths for Debs and Anderson to run through, while protecting Martinez consistently well throughout the game.

Debs got things going for Westwood by responding to Austin’s opening-drive touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown run of his own to tie it at 7-7, and Martinez countered another Austin score with a 10-yard scamper into the endzone to make the score 14-14. Mazzola would add a 38-yard touchdown reception in the waning moments of an action-packed first quarter to give Westwood their first lead of the night, 21-14, which they wouldn’t squander for the remainder of the game.

Following the first quarter, Anderson added a 5-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 14, and the Westwood defense made a big stop in the redzone on the following drive, as a pass breakup on fourth down by Zach Hoover ‘19 denied the Maroons a chance to cut into the lead. Later in the second quarter, Debs would add his second of three rushing touchdowns to increase the lead further, 35-14, before a late Austin touchdown sent the game into halftime.

Despite giving up 35 points, the defense had its bright moments throughout the game. Hoover, Demetrius Jones ‘19, Kam Colvin ‘20, and others provided good coverage on many 3rd and 4th down tries to stop multiple Austin possessions, and Damon Harris ‘19 and Irvin Flores ‘19 contributed a few sacks. Ethan Brown ‘19 provided pressure and got into the backfield to make many tackles for loss, and Will Clitheroe ‘19 was all over the field, constantly making tackles.

“[The game] went pretty well, it could have went better, we made a lot of mental mistakes but other than that it was a great game,” Colvin said.

After the halftime break, Debs punched in another touchdown, a 15-yard run, to make the score 42-21 in Westwood’s favor. Austin later responded with a touchdown of their own to decrease the lead back down to 14, ending the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Westwood looked to be in danger of losing the lead for the first time after yet another Maroons touchdown, making the score 42-35, but Martinez found Mohan Hegde ‘19 for a 28-yard touchdown with about four minutes left to go in the game to seal the result for the Warriors.

“I think [the game] went great. Any time you can get a win is a great game so all we ask our kids to do is win and those guys did a good job doing that,” Coach Anthony Wood said.

This win pushes the Warriors to 2-0 on the season, and Westwood will open up district play next week as they get ready to do battle with the Hendrickson Hawks on Senior Night on Sept. 14.