Offense wasn’t a problem for Vista Ridge or Westwood Friday night.
The two teams combined for 13 touchdowns, more than 1,100 total yards of offense, and 105 points in the Rangers’ 56-49 win over the Warriors at Gupton Stadium. It’s the first time in four meetings Vista Ridge has beaten Westwood.
“I was proud of our offense and we were a lot more consistent than we have been in the past,” Vista Ridge head coach Rodney Vincent said. “Our defense was able to get some stops early on and I’m proud of them because I felt like if we could do that, we’d have a chance against Westwood.”
The Rangers combined to rush for 398 yards, led by Joe Goodwin with 137 and three touchdowns and Jamil Pittman with 136 and two scores. Quarterback Jacob Taute and Naequwan White both found the end zone on the ground as well.
Taute finished 7-of-10 passing for 106 yards and one touchdown, a 32-yard rainbow pass to Devin Walker. Pittman led the receivers with four catches for 41 yards.
Westwood’s high-powered offense saw Will Jennings throw for 322 yards and one score on 29-of-47 passing. He also ran for four touchdowns and 10 yards on just six attempts.
Jaikem Murphy had 128 rushing yards on 20 attempts. Dylan Frazier had 104 receiving yards, Matthew Pravednikov added 85 receiving yards, and Cameron Thomas caught seven passes for 62 yards and a score.
Sophomore Ryan Lindley, who made his first start of the year for injured senior Reid Carrier, caught four passes for 55 yards.
“After the first series, you saw it was going to be a high-scoring affair,” Westwood coach Anthony Wood said. “Coming into it that’s what we thought. We knew their offense was pretty good and we know we have a pretty good offense.”
The game turned on the first drive of the second half. The Warriors drove down to the Vista Ridge 2-yard line, and the Rangers forced a turnover on downs by holding them on 4th-and-goal.
Taute scrambled 54 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive highlighted by a devastating block by one of the Rangers receivers, and Goodwin capped off the 98-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run eight plays later to give Vista Ridge a 21 point lead.
Every time the Warriors scored in the second half, the Rangers immediately answered.
“Coming in we all knew it was going to be an offensive game,” Goodwin said. “We all had to keep our heads up and play hard. It was a really fun game. We all feel confident. We’re trying to be better than we were last year.”
Vista Ridge and Westwood traded touchdowns on the first three drives of the game. The Rangers scored back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter and the Jennings ran for his second touchdown on the final offensive play of the first game to cut the lead to 28-14 at the break.
The Rangers’ 98-yard drive was the first of eight straight possessions with a touchdown in the second half. The streak ended with just over two minutes left in the game when Vista Ridge punted on the penultimate drive of the game.
Westwood scored to cut the lead one score with just over a minute to play, but the Rangers recovered the onside kick to seal the game.
“What I want to be able to do is to be able to line up and play a complete game and we weren’t able to do that tonight,” Wood said.
Westwood kicks off district play next Faraday at 7:30 p.m. at Hendrickson, while Vista Ridge starts the district 25-6A slate on the road against Lehman on Friday night.
“In the districts that we’ve been in and the people we play week in and week out, you’ll take a win however you can get a win,” Vincent said. “Obviously defensively, we’d have liked to have performed better in the second half. Our guys kept fighting all the way through and I’m proud of them for that.”