By Colby Gordon / American-Statesman Correspondent
Posted at 8:49 AM
Westwood is known for its vaunted passing attack, but the Warriors quietly have a strong rushing attack as well.
Keyed by senior running back Nate Anderson — who may be the one of the better players in Central Texas you’ve never heard of — Westwood showed that aspect of its offense Monday with 187 yards on the ground as part of a balanced offensive showing during a 42-15 win over Stony Point at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
“Our run game is slept on a little bit,” said Anderson, who ran for 100 yards and three touchdowns. “Whenever people say, ‘Westwood,’ they think of throwing the ball and our great quarterback and receivers. … But I think we showed that we can run the ball, too.”
It’s not as if the Warriors abandoned the passing game, as RJ Martinez threw for 207 yards and three touchdowns, but Westwood did run the ball more than throw it.
Martinez added 74 yards rushing, while Anderson had 21 carries and scored on runs of 5, 3 and 13 yards.
“I think (Anderson) is one of the best running backs I’ve seen at pad level and running in between the tackles,” Westwood coach Anthony Wood said. “He’s tough as nails, isn’t afraid of contact and has great ball security. And, by the way, he can catch the ball out of the backfield. I’m glad he’s on my team.”
Neither team had played since Oct. 1 due to coronavirus issues, but Westwood (2-1, 1-0 District 25-6A) didn’t look affected by the layoff — or the rainy and cold conditions — especially on defense.
The Warriors kept Stony Point to less than 100 yards of offense in the first half, with nearly one-third of that coming on a meaningless run at the end of the second quarter. Meanwhile, Anderson scored twice in the first half while Martinez fired touchdown passes to Robbie Jeng (19 yards) and Zach Pryor (54 yards) as Westwood led 28-0 at the break.
“When you have something taken away, you really don’t understand how much you miss it,” Wood said. “To have all the kids back and be able to practice last week and see their excitement in the walk-through (earlier Monday), it was just fun. We had the feeling we could do something special tonight.”
Stony Point’s running game got on track in the third quarter with two scoring drives of 65 yards capped by touchdown runs from Jaden Leonard (4 yards) and Cameron Cook (18 yards), but it was too little, too late.
Anderson’s third scoring run came midway through the third, and Martinez’s brilliant pass to the back corner of the end zone on an 11-yard TD pass to Jeng finished off the game’s scoring in the fourth.
Cook’s 132 yards rushing paced the Tigers (1-1, 0-1).
“To come out and see the things we did tonight against a good football team like Stony Point in these conditions was really exciting,” Wood said. “We played well in all phases of the game and it really was a great all-around team win.”
The game marked the beginning of a stretch where the Warriors play three games in 11 days.
After not playing for 25 days, it’s a result Westwood had to have in a district that presents a brutal seven-game slate.
And it can thank its rushing attack for kick-starting what it hopes is a run to the playoffs.
“That was a ton of fun,” Anderson said. “It was probably the most-fun game I’ve played. … After 25 days with no game, to come out here and have a performance like that, it means a lot to me and my family.”