To stay alive in the postseason race, Westwood needed a big win on Friday night. Quarterback R.J. Martinez rose to the occasion.
The junior went 21-for-31 with 361 yards and four touchdowns through the air, as well as 75 yards and a touchdown on the ground, helping Westwood defeat visiting Leander 49-20 at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
"We did a lot of good things tonight," Martinez said. "Leander played their hearts out but we had a good game plan, and we did everything we needed to do to win."
Westwood improved to 3-3 in District 13-6A play, with a 4-4 overall record. The Warriors would need some outside help to find a way into playoffs, but their victory on Friday keeps them in the hunt.
"R.J. just makes really good decisions with the football, and does an outstanding job finding our receivers," Westwood head coach Anthony Wood said. "He's always doing the things that I ask him to do and I'm really happy with his game tonight."
Nate Anderson provided excellent auxiliary support in the Westwood backfield, rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Robbie Jeng was Martinez's favorite target, as the junior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
On the Leander side, Xavier Dotson was the star of the show. The senior running back rushed for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 23 carries, while quarterback Garrett Landry threw for 162 yards on 13-for-18 passing.
"They kept fighting until the very end," Leander first-year head coach Kris Price said after the loss, which dropped the Lions to 0-9 on the season and 0-7 in district play. "We're still a long way from taking that next step, but overall there's still a lot to be happy about."
The Westwood offense got to work early. After forcing a Leander punt that pinned them down at their five-yard-line, Martinez led the group 95 yards downfield on 15 plays, before Anderson rushed the ball in from two yards out.
Later in the first quarter, Martinez would sprint to the endzone himself on a 35-yard scramble on another drive that amassed over 90 yards of offense.
Anderson would score once again in the second half, pushing through the line for a one-yard touchdown. The team's leading rusher, the junior running back increased his season rushing total to 707 yards.
Leander would strike back before halftime, as Dotson would run for the left corner of the endzone with less than 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Dotson set up the two-yard rush by catching a 47-yard throw from Landry just three plays before.
In the third quarter, Martinez stole the show. On three consecutive passes, the quarterback threw three straight touchdown passes. First, a 17-yard strike to Jeng, followed by a 34-yard pass over the middle to Oliver Yu, and later, a play after a Leander touchdown, Martinez hit Jeng again with a 37-yard pitch for a touchdown.
"Coach Wood put us in a position to succeed, and we executed our gameplan tonight," Martinez said. "We got the win tonight, that's what matters most."
Yu hauled in another Martinez pass in the early parts of the fourth quarter, as the quarterback found him streaking down the middle and heaved him a 45-yard lob for the score. Leander would return with a four-yard rushing touchdown from Landry with under five minutes left.
"I told the guys at the beginning of the week that if they wanted to play past the regular season, our playoffs start tonight," Wood said. "We want to play meaningful football and if we take care of things, we can go onto the postseason."
Westwood will travel to Dragon Stadium to face Stony Point next Friday. Leander plays their final game of the season when they host district-leading Vandegrift at Bible Stadium next Friday.
"Game in and game out, we're still competing," Price said. "We want to send the seniors out on the right foot, and give some of our other guys some use they usually wouldn't be getting."
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