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Hawks turn early deficit into a blowout

Volcano Vista started Friday night against West Mesa at Community Stadium much the way it has started the season. Struggling.

Then the Hawks soon turned it around in a big way – the same way they hope to turn their season around in District 1-6A play.

Volcano Vista erased a second-quarter deficit on the way to a 53-16 rout.

“We didn’t overlook them at all,” Hawks coach Chad Wallin said. “We’re sitting on one win (coming in). We were a few plays from being 3-2, but we were 1-4 and we weren’t overlooking anybody. But for some reason, it just felt like that. Our kids are just young, really young at a lot of key positions, and sometimes they seem like they’re just dipping their toe into the pool, deciding how they’re going to play. Once they decide they can play, they really get after it.”

West Mesa (1-5) went 77 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession. The big play came when quarterback Marcos Gonzales hit receiver Zach Schroer, who split two defenders for a 66-yard gain to the Volcano Vista 5. Gonzales ran it in for the score on the next play.

Hawks junior quarterback Josh Williams came right back with a 28-yard TD strike to David Cormier, but the point after was blocked. The Mustangs, whose only win this season is against winless Highland, made it 10-6 midway through the second quarter on a 48-yard field goal by place-kicking sensation Sabino Morales. But that was it for West Mesa’s upset hopes.

Volcano Vista senior Dominico Chavez took over. He rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the half – scoring on runs of 32, 18 and 13 yards – to make it 28-10.

“The last couple of games, we haven’t come out very well,” said Chavez, who finished with 258 yards on 26 carries. “Tonight, we showed what we are about, and that we can play. This gives us confidence going into the Cibola game. We won’t be big-headed, but this gives the confidence we needed.”

Williams, meanwhile, completed 16 of 21 passes with no interceptions – one of the incompletions coming when he spiked the ball to stop the clock prior to halftime – and threw for 249 yards and four touchdowns. His final scoring pass came on an 18-yarder to Chavez on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Backup Matt Otero added 85 yards and a score on six carries for the Hawks, who had 650 yards in offense.

“We feel like we can be very balanced,” Wallin said. “Nico (Chavez) has been big with the program a long time. And we love Josh’s ability to run the offense. When we’re clicking on all cylinders, we should be very balanced.”