Braeden Mueller
ASU Student Journalist

Tolleson's comeback falls short against Westwood

September 22, 2017 by Braeden Mueller , Arizona State University

It was feeling like a comeback. The momentum had shifted, and the hometown crowd came alive, but then it happened.

In the third quarter, after a 37-yard touchdown pass from Kory Barnes to make it a one-score game, everything seemed to be going Tolleson’s way against Westwood.

But then the unthinkable happened.

A fumble.

The fumble came at the worst time when the Wolverines were driving on the Warriors 43-yard line, hoping to tie the game but instead it put the dagger in the hearts of the Tolleson faithful.

The fumble led to a Warriors touchdown from senior quarterback Carter Layton to put the game out of reach at 28-14, the final score of this Class 6A non-region matchup.

“Unfortunately we got beat up front again," Tolleson coach Jason Wilke said. "They scored 21 by being more physical.”

Westwood came into the game averaging 173 yards on the ground, and on Friday night it proved too dominant.

Westwood opened the game by exclusively running the ball down the field after the opening kickoff and would run the clock down to 5:00 in the first quarter before the scoring would begin.

From the Tolleson 3-yard line, Layton kept it himself and found the end zone to cap off an impressive drive that required no pass attempts.

Tolleson, led by quarterback Patrick Ortega and wide receiver Andre Johnson, would struggle in the first quarter to gain momentum. Tolleson would only gain one first down in the quarter.

When Westwood’s offense came back on the field, they were dominating the line of scrimmage. With superb blocking, the Warriors took to the air.

After a block in the back penalty put the Warriors in a third-and-18 from Tolleson’s 35-yard line, Layton would scramble free from the pressure and fire a rocket to Calvin Bailey to convert the first down.

On first and goal, Lavton would keep it himself after a blown-up play in the backfield and tiptoe his way in the end zone to make it 13-0 with 9:04 remaining, following a blocked PAT attempt.

“We came out flat, and this is what happens when you come out flat,” Ortega said.

On the ensuing drive, Tolleson was forced to punt from the end zone, and the Warriors would start with great field position at Tolleson's 32-yard line.

The first play for the Warriors was a shot deep. Layton would roll out of the pocket and hit Calvin Bailey again for a touchdown to make it 21-0, after a successful 2-point conversion.

“We tried to take what they gave us, and we went over the top a couple of times,” Westwood coach Kyle Ide said.

Tolleson, having never crossed the 50-yard line, would find a huge momentum booster in a deep throw from Ortega to Johnson to the 30-yard line, despite pass interference on Westwood.

After a 10-yard loss on a sack, Ortega found Johnson in the end zone to complete a 40-yard bomb to make it 21-7 with two minutes remaining in half.

Tolleson is at home next week vs. Westview in its first regional game slated for 7 p.m. kickoff.

“This next game is not a regular game," Johnson said. "It’s a sectional game. We can’t let this game hang over us."