Mesa Desert Ridge overcame a rash of injuries and penalties to take a 14-7 victory over visiting Avondale Westview in the Division I quarterfinals Friday night at Desert Ridge.
Desert Ridge (11-1) advances to Friday’s semifinals and will face third-seeded Chandler Hamilton at Gilbert Highland.
Desert Ridge’s leading rusher, J.J. Husar was inactive for the game with a knee injury, and leading passer Tarek Morrison went down after a big hit in the second quarter.
Backup quarterback Brendon Smith struggled to pick up the slack, with no completions on six passing attempts and an interception.
Enter running backs Taren Morrison and Danny Siaumau, who carried the team in the second half.
The rushing tandem combined for 122 yards after the break, including the game winning 52-yard score from Siaumau.
Westview looked like it was gunning for an early upset, stripping Morrison for a fumble on Desert Ridge’s first possession, and scoring on a 70-yard pass from Kordell Provchy to Roderic Mitchell.
However, the Westview offense sputtered in the second half, gaining only 80 yards compared to Desert Ridge’s 117 yards.
Westview senior running back Seivion Morris, who came into the game with 1,249 yards and 20 touchdowns, was limited to 82 yards and did not score for the first time since Week 1 of the season against Mesa Red Mountain.
Westview (9-3) also failed to capitalize on two of Desert Ridge’s three turnovers, and missed a fake field goal attempt when receiver D.J. Townsend dropped a wide open pass from Provchy.