ROUND ROCK -- Behind seven total touchdowns from the high-flying Warriors offense, Westwood knocked off Austin High 49-35 on Friday night at Dragon Stadium.
Running backs Mario Debs and Nate Anderson combined for 202 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries behind a strong offensive line. Sophomore quarterback R.J. Martinez completed 22 passes on 29 attempts for 229 yards and two touchdowns over the air in addition to one on the ground.
In their final game before District 13-6A play, Westwood made a big statement and improved to 2-0 for just the second time in the past six seasons. Dubbed a battle of two potent offenses, the game certainly lived up to the hype.
The two teams combined for 82 passing attempts, 900 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 84 points in the matchup. “Offensively, we’ve got really good weapons, and they’ve got an explosive offense too,” Westwood head coach Anthony Wood said post-game. “Offense is definitely a big strength for our team.”
Austin got on the board first when a surprise onside kick to start the game led to a Ben Koch touchdown reception from quarterback Charles Wright. It was one of four touchdown connections between the senior wideout and the sophomore quarterback.
Westwood and their high-flying offense were unfazed, and quickly answered with a 10-play, 90-yard drive that culminated in a Debs (10 carries for 87 yards) four-yard touchdown scamper. After the Maroons found themselves in the endzone again in the middle of the first quarter, Westwood went to work and tallied four unanswered touchdowns over the next 11 minutes of play.
Martinez (10 carries for 50 yards) ran for a 10-yard touchdown rush, then followed it up with a 37-yard passing score to Luca Mazzola (10 receptions for 120 yards) less than a minute later in the first quarter. Anderson (15 carries for 115 yards) and Debs each added rushing touchdowns later in the second quarter.
“Our offensive line played exceptionally, which really opens up the running game,” Wood said. “And any time you can run the football, it will open up your passing game. We’ve got a senior-laden offensive line, and it makes my job as a playcaller easier with those guys.”
At the half, Westwood led 35-21, and they would soon extend the lead shortly into the third quarter. Debs rushed for his third and final touchdown on the night with a 10-yard effort to double Austin High up at 42-21, but the game was far from over.
Koch and Wright hooked up again for their fourth touchdown completion, and Wright followed it up with a 16-yard catch-and-run toss to running back Grayson Davis to cut the lead to seven.
That’s where Martinez stole the show. On 3rd and 9 from the Austin 28-yard-line, Martinez dropped back into immediate and abundant pressure from the Maroons defense, stepped up, and fired a 28-yard dime to wide receiver Mohan Hegde (five receptions for 57 yards) for the touchdown. The sophomore quarterback gained high praise from his head coach after the game.
“He’s got no fear. He wants the ball in his hands in those situations, and that’s all you can ask for,” said Wood. “He’s a fun kid to coach and a blast to watch.”
Westwood’s defense held on and allowed the offense to run things out near the end of the three-hour affair. “We’re a bend and don’t break kind of team,” Wood said. “We made some critical stops at the right time to win that football game.”
Westwood kicks off district play with a pivotal matchup against preseason district favorites Pflugerville-Hendrickson on Friday, Sept. 14 at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex. “All we need to do is focus on us getting better every single day and improve on the mistakes we made tonight,” Wood said. “It’s gonna be a pretty tough task, but I think we’re up for the challenge.”