Mesa Westwood scored first. The Warriors also scored last. But when the opponent, in this case Phoenix Mountain Pointe, scores each-and-every other time in between -- to the tune of seven touchdowns and 49 points -- chances are you're going to end up on the wrong side of the equation.
Second-seeded Mountain Pointe (11-0) staved off an early Westwood touchdown and sticky opening quarter to cruise to a 49-14 win in the Pride's 2009 Class 5A-I playoff opener.
2ND ROUND OPPONENT: Basha wakes up, thumps St. Mary’s http://www.ahwatukee.com/sections/article/gallery/?pic=1&id=8178&db=ahwatukee"> PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Mountain Pointe vs. Westwood, round 2 The 15th-seeded Warriors (5-7), who hung tough during a 28-14 regular-season loss to the same Pride squad just three weeks ago, quickly motored down the field on the game's opening possession for the game's first score, a 9-yard touchdown run by Valencio Gray, to give the Pride an early scare.
But yet again Friday night, it was the inside-out duo of Davon Jones and De'Andre Currie that sparked the Mountain Pointe rout. Jones did most of the heavy-lifting early, pounding the ball up the gut time and again in the first half, to the tune of 113 yards and a pair of relatively short touchdowns on 19 carries before the break.
"Pounding the ball, that loosens them up," Jones said. "We had to (pound the ball) so they knew we wouldn't back down. If we back down from that, there goes the whole gameplan."
Apparently, the plan worked. With the Pride up 21-7, Jones then forced his way outside, running the first offensive play of the second half 58 yards for the score and the rout -- if it wasn't already -- was on.
Mountain Pointe scored 28 third-quarter points, adding a 34-yard scoring run by Currie, a one-yard punch in by fullback Joey Leal, and a 12-yard lob pass to the corner of the endzone from quarterback Austin Blom to wideout Garrett Holle.
"Our quarterback, he made some big plays in the passing game," Vaughan said of Blom, an efficient 3-of-4 for 51 yards and the score on the night.
Vaughan said the team's slightly slow start could have been attributed to butterflies from the Pride not seeing playoff football since before the current crop of seniors were even enrolled at the school.
"I think part of it is just not being in the playoffs in a long time. The guys were a little nervous, that was part of it," the first-year coach said. "They're pretty good. They got a lot of talent, but we wore them down I guess."
Jones, nursing a minor hip bruise, carried the ball just twice in the second half with the Pride in command. The senior finished with 199 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, while Currie scored twice and racked up 133 yards on just nine carries.
If not for Jones' early burst, the third quarter would have belonged to Leal. A starter at linebacker on top of duties as a part-time fullback, Leal recorded a sack to force a Warrior fourth down, scored the touchdown on offense, and intercepted a pass by Westwood quarterback Juan Zazueta, returning the ball 44 yards to the Westwood 12-yard line.
"He's a great, great player," Vaughan said of Leal.
Westwood added a late touchdown when Zazueta tossed a 3-yard soft lob to Nick Finkbone with less than two minutes to play, with the extra point finishing the game's scoring.
Zazueta completed 10 of 17 passes for 121 yards and carried the ball 11 times for 47 yards, but also threw the interception to Leal and another in the first half to Mountain Pointe's O.J. Quinones. Gray carried the ball 14 times for 61 yards for the Warriors.
While Westwood's season is in the books, the 2009 version of the Pride will attempt to become the first Mountain Pointe team in school history to win 12 games in a single season next week. The Pride will host Chandler Basha in the 5A-I quarterfinals, revisiting a matchup from earlier this season where the Bears led 10-0 into the fourth quarter before the Pride scored three times in the final 10 minutes to win 21-10. Basha, tournament's seventh seed, defeated No. 10 Phoenix St. Mary's Friday, 33-7. The game, win or lose, will be the Pride's final home game of the 2009 season. A win next week would send the Pride on to the state semifinals, where a neutral-site matchup with either No. 3 Phoenix Brophy or No. 11 Mesa would await the Pride.
Westwood 7 0 0 7 14
Mountain Pointe 7 14 28 0 49
Westwood Mountain Pointe
First downs 8 16
Rushes-yards 40-135 43-388
Passing yards 121 51
Comp-att.-int. 10-17-2 3-4-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-15 3-35
Second-seeded Phoenix Mountain Pointe (11-0) trailed 7-0, but scored 48 consecutive points to roll to a 49-14 win over No. 15 Mesa Westwood (5-7) in a Class 5A-I state playoff first round matchup at Mountain Pointe's Karl Kiefer Stadium
After brusing his way to 113 yards on 19 first-half carries, Mountain Pointe's Davon Jones broke the game open even further with a 58-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, giving the Pride a 28-7 lead.
Players of the game:
Jones carried the ball 21 times for 199 yards and three scores, while Mountain Pointe fullback/linebacker Joey Leal recorded a sack, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, and intercepted a pass, returning it 44 yards.
No Mountain Pointe team has ever won 12 games in a season. The 11-0 Pride have a chance to do so next week when it faces Chandler Basha - a rematch of a 21-10 Mountain Pointe win earlier this season.
W - Gray 9 run (kick good)
MP - Jones 4 run (Mora kick)
MP - Currie 22 run (Mora kick)
MP - Jones 6 run (Mora kick)
MP - Jones 58 run (Mora kick)
MP - Leal 1 run (More kick)
MP - Holle 12 pass from Blom (Mora kick)
MP - Currie 34 run (Mora kick)
W - Finkbone 3 pass from Zazueta (kick good)