A rough week led to an uneven performance for Desert Vista on Friday night at Westwood.
The final score of 41-13 reads as a quality win for the defending state champions but it doesn’t indicate the struggles the Thunder dealt with against the scrappy Warriors along with some off field emotional issues.
Not only did Desert Vista lose a difficult game to rival Mountain Pointe last week, but one of the players had his father injured in a serious car accident this week.
It is not something the program would ever use as an excuse, but Desert Vista is a very tight program and when one hurts everyone carries that burden to a degree.
“I feel like after what has gone down this week with our football family, it was hard to get back in it with full emotion,” senior defensive back Austin Hicks said. “It’s a step back but we are going to get right back to it.”
The Thunder never trailed and had a lead of 27-0 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter, but two quick touchdown receptions of 80 and 45 yards by Raekwon Robinson closed the Warriors (1-3) within two scores with 10:12 left in the game.
Desert Vista (3-1) answered on the ensuing drive, featured by four powerful runs by Zach Gonzalez, by going 67 yards on eight plays and pushed it back out to 34-13 on quarterback Matt Young’s 1-yard plunge.
In reality Westwood never really threatened, but the Warriors, who seemingly gave up height and weight at every position, pushed the Thunder to play their first team in the fourth quarter.
“There were probably weren’t a lot of people out there that expected us to do big things, but we did,” first-year coach Spencer Stowers said. “We compete in every game and our mindset was we were going to win.”
Westwood changed things up at quarterback as Mike Egger got the start over Mckay Tingy, who came in late in the game and had to be carted off the field in the fourth quarter.
Egger made some big plays and finished 14 of 27 for 237 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“They have been battling since March and they are two different type of quarterbacks,” Stowers said. “We decided to go with Mikey this week and he made some big plays.”
Desert Vista, which played without top running back Jarek Hilgers and starting guard Mitch Wehrli, still finished with 302 yards rushing and Young, who ran for 61 yards, completed 11 of 18 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown.
There were plenty of positives, but the 12 penalties for 105 yards, the defense allowing two big pass plays and the special teams allowing two successful fake punts to extend Warriors drives put a negative spin on what was a 28-point win.
“Coming off an emotional game like that last game it was a rough week for us, but, hey, we are doing just fine,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said. “We will put this one behind us and take a look at the things we need to work on. When it comes down to it we put some points on the scoreboard but we need to shore things up.”
The best part of it for the Thunder might have been the fact that no one was happy after the game which should lead to more of a complete game next week at home against Corona del Sol.
“These guys are not happy, but as a head coach you are pleased because these guys know they can do better,” Hinds said. “We have some motivation to keep getting better.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
Desert Vista 41, Westwood 13
DV 7 13 7 14 -41
W 0 0 7 6 - 6
DV – Gonzalez 2 run (Pletenik kick), 8:22
DV – Germinaro 17 reception from Young (Pletenik kick), 7:34
DV – Kilby 1 run (kick failed), :55
DV – Germinaro 14 run (Pletenik kick), :35
W – Robinson 80 yard pass from Eggers (kick good), :00.
W – Robinson 45 pass from Eggers (kick failed), 10:12
DV – Young 1 run (Pletenik kick), 5:52
DV – VanGosen 66 run (Pletenik kick), 3:45.
First downs 22 9
Rushing 37-302 25-23
Passing 11-18-0-208 14-27-2-237
Fumble 1-0 1-0
Penalties 12-105 4-35
DV – VanGosen 1-66, Young 8-61, Gonzalez 5-50, Germinaro 5-39, Haywood 3-33, Kilby 4-24, Abbadessa 1-2. W – Tingy 2-18, Shaffer 8-13, Clark 4-10, Robinson 4-0, Eggers 5-(-)11, No. 5 2-(-)7.
DV – Young 11-18-0-208. W – Eggers 14-27-2-237.
DV – Valdez 3-55, Matykiewicz 2-71, Germinaro 2-25, Melvin 1-20, Reaves 1-7, Abbadessa 1-16, Rezac 1-14. W – Robinson 4-120, Ward 4-24, Castelan 2-20, Brown 2-6, Woods 2-26.