A situation outside of his control nearly made Derrick Horne leave the Westwood football program.
The family was forced to move to Globe. He was supposed to join them. Turns out Horne couldn’t tear himself away from the Warriors and moved in with the family of one of his teammates.
So, he stayed despite being low on the depth chart.
He was the third team running back.
Until last week.
Injuries propelled the junior into a prominent role. The 5-foot-6, 168-pounder ran for 202 yards and a touchdown last week in 35-0 win over Maryvale.
“He’s been on quite the ride the last few weeks,” Westwood coach Kyle Ide said. “He did whatever it took to stay here and Derrick really stepped up. We have a lot of depth at running back and he really showed us what he could do when given a chance.”
Horne will be the main running back again this week as the team hosts Gilbert with Ethan Neeley still out and Manny Collier dealing with a hamstring, but expected to play.
Desert Ridge (2-1)
Offensive lineman Ian Den Herder wears the No. 72 in honor of his relative Vern Den Herder, who was a defensive end on the Miami Dolphins when they were undefeated Super Bowl champions, the only team to ever do it, in 1972. He played 12 seasons in the NFL. …. The defense should get a boost this week with senior linebacker Ty Smith returning to the line. … Defensive linemen Apollo Ta’ase is expected to be out another two to three weeks with foot injury.
Last week: L, 52-28 at Hamilton. This week: Mesa (1-3). History (since 2004): 5-2, five-game winning streak. Last five: 3-2, dating to 2016.
The Mustangs were shutout last week for the first time since lost to Skyline on Oct. 16, 2015. … The pass defense gave up only 133 yards, but four touchdowns against Jack Plummer.
Last week: L, 48-0 at Gilbert. This week: La Joya. History (since 2004): 1-0. Last five: 2-3, dating to 2016.
Special teams have been the biggest problem for the Jackrabbits as Tolleson was able to block a punt and had an 85-yard kickoff return. … Quarterback Nate Hanna completed 70 percent of his passes last week in the loss and has completed 61 percent the last three weeks after a 11 for 28 (.393) start to the season.
Last week: L, 37-14 at Tolleson. This week: Desert Ridge. History (since 2004): 2-5, lost five in a row. Last five: 1-4, dating to 2016.
Mountain View (2-1)
The Toros defense has 17 tackles for a loss, five sacks, five interceptions and 11 passes defensed. … Wide receiver has posted back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. … The rushing attack has been limited to 115 and 114 the last two weeks.
Last week: L, 26-9 at Pinnacle. This week: Mountain Pointe (2-1). History (since 2004): 1-5, lost five straight. Last five: 3-2, dating to 2016.
Red Mountain (1-2)
The running game got a huge boost from sophomore Ty McElroy against Basha. After 10 carries for 18 yards to start the season, he had 29 for 171 yards. … Siope Koloamtangi, who is is an accomplished rugby player, scored his first career touchdown last week. The 5-11, 255-pound fullback is load that probably isn’t much fun to tackle.
Last week: W, 27-21 at Basha. This week: Boulder Creek (0-3). History (since 2004): 1-0. Last five: 2-3, dating to 2016.Skyline (2-2, 1-0)
The Coyotes already have seven interceptions by six different players. … The defense has four players with at least 20 tackles in Zach Kriens (33, 22 solo), Brian Strobel (22 total), Aaron Romero (21) and Daniel Tootoo (20), while Sam To’oto’o has 19.
Last week: L, 44-13 at Desert Vista. This week: at Millennium (1-2). History (since 2004): 2-0. Last five: 2-3, dating to 2016.
Westwood (2-2, 0-1)
Collier is expected back after missing the second half last week. He has rushed for 221 yards on 21 attempts and has six catches for 113 yards. … Running back Junior Sonasi has been moved to the defensive line because the Warriors have some much depth at running back. …. Ide said the defense will be tested against Gilbert’s pass offense, and making the initial tackle will be vital on slowing down the Tigers’ offense. … Brimhall Field is having a “grand opening” after being refurbished.
Last week: W, 35-0 at Maryvale. This week: Gilbert (2-1). History (since 2004): 2-4. Last five: 2-3, dating to 2016.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.