One of the marks of a good team is how well it can rebound from an emotional loss.
It wasn’t pretty but Phoenix Desert Vista managed to lessen the sting of a heartbreaking defeat last week when it cruised past host Mesa Westwood 41-13 in Division I action on Friday night.
“For the most part, we accomplished what we wanted to offensively,” said coach Dan Hinds, whose team despite an outpouring on offense was flagged 12 times for 110 yards. “We definitely need to clean up those penalties. This was a pretty emotional week for us, but we fought through it and we’re just glad it’s over.”
Desert Vista (3-1) set the tone right from the opening kickoff, marching 62 yards in seven plays, a drive that was culminated by a 2-yard plunge from senior running back Zach Gonzalez.
Westwood converted on a fourth-and-two with a fake punt on the ensuing drive but couldn’t capitalize. Westwood was three-for-three on fakes, which pleased first-year coach Spencer Stowers.
“I’m so proud of how hard these guys have worked,” said Stowers, whose team slipped to 1-3. “Our special teams were great. We worked hard on that this week. We just need to cut down on the big plays by the other team.”
After the opening score, Phoenix Desert Vista put two more touchdowns before halftime to take a 20-0 lead into the locker room. Senior wideout Kaleb Germinaro hauled in a 16-yard pass from senior quarterback Matt Young and junior tailback Isaiah Kilby dashed in from 2 yards out.
Phoenix Desert Vista then put the game seemingly out of reach when Germinaro raced in from 10 yards out for his second score of the game with 31 seconds left in the third quarter.
Westwood ignited the crowd at the end of the third quarter when Egger hit senior tailback Ray Robinson with an 80-yard bomb. Then, Westwood recovered the ensuing onside kick and Egger hit Robinson again, this time for a 45-yard scoring strike and all of a sudden we had a game at 27-13.
But Phoenix Desert Vista’s offense proved too potent when it responded with two fourth-quarter touchdowns of its own.
Young, who finished the evening completing 13 of 20 passes for 203 yards, darted in from 2 yards, and junior running back Cullen VanGosen broke free for a 66-yard touchdown to round out the scoring.
“We were pretty sloppy and we need to take care of a lot of things,” said Young, who also rushed for 63 yards of his own on the night. “It was a tough week, and we’re just happy to get the win.”
Meanwhile, Robinson finished the evening with four catches for 160 yards, and Egger, who was harassed most of the evening, tossed for 263 yards after completing 15-of-28 passes.
Defensively, Robinson had a fumble recovery for Westwood, while senior defensive back Austin Hicks picked off an Egger pass in the second quarter for Desert Vista, which racked up 454 total yards on the night.