At 5-foot-9, Manny Collier doesn’t have the prototypical height for a jump-ball receiver.
He’s also been doing battle with a balky hamstring – a cruel injury for a receiver, one that’s robbed the Westwood junior of the explosiveness, which allows him to compete with taller and lengthier defensive backs.
On Friday night, though, there was no competition.
It didn’t matter what went up in the air – if it was in Collier’s vicinity, it was coming down in his arms.
Collier recorded a season-high 113 receiving yards on six catches, including three for spectacular touchdowns, as Westwood romped to a 35-14 victory over host and 6A East Valley foe Dobson.
“This is a big win for us,” Westwood coach Kyle Ide said, his team improving to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in region play. “We did our jobs when we needed to, and obviously Manny stepped up and made some really big plays.”
Collier and Westwood quarterback Carter Layton had chemistry throughout Friday, particularly on the fade to the right side of the end zone, a route with which the pair burned Dobson repeatedly.
The first connection came at the start of the second quarter, when Collier snagged Layton’s high toss and just managed to bring a foot down in bounds to put Westwood in front, 14-6.
Two other touchdowns came on nearly identical plays, with Collier ripping the ball away from a defender in mid-air on one and securing a rainmaker in the middle of triple coverage on the other.
“That’s our play,” Collier said. “It’s a jump ball. He throws it up wherever he can and I just go get it.”
Collier’s third score made it 28-6 near the end of the third quarter, part of a stretch in which Westwood notched 35-consecutive points after Dobson (3-4, 0-2) opened the game with a touchdown.
Westwood is hopeful Collier’s hamstring, which has forced the receiver to miss one game this season and limited him in others, will continue to be a minimal issue going forward.
“He’s still got a little bit of a limp, but he’s getting healthy,” Ide said. “We’re thankful for that.”
— Tyler Killian is a freelance sports writer for MyNewsMesa.com.
Westwood 35, Dobson 14
W 7 7 14 7 – 35
D 6 0 0 8 – 14
D – Gomez 23 pass from Gundersdorf (kick blocked), 3:45
W – Layton 36 run (Gonzalez kick), 0:00
W – Collier 21 pass from Layton (Gonzalez kick), 11:39
W – Collier 22 pass from Layton (Gonzalez kick), 6:56
W – Collier 25 pass from Layton (Gonzalez kick), 2:20
W – Mecham 2 run (Gonzalez kick), 9:36
D – Langwell 12 pass from Saro (Lupe pass from Gundersdorf), 7:06
First downs 16 9
Rush-yards 39-180 22-61
Comp-Att-Int 11-18-3 12-21-3
Pass yards 173 125
Total yards 353 186
Pen-yards 4-40 6-51
Fumbles/lost 1-1 5-0
W – Burchard 21-78, Layton 8-88, Collier 6-13, Hornsby 3-(-1), Mecham 1-2. D – Gundersdorf 7-4, Gomez 5-6, Duarte 3-29, Langwell 3-20, Wilson 3-2, Beltran 1-0.
W – Layton 10-17-3-170, Hornsby 1-1-0-3. D – Saro 7-14-1-86, Gundersdorf 5-7-1-39.
W – Collier 6-113, Mecham 1-28, Whiting 1-12, Driggs 1-12, Richins 1-5, Palmer 1-3. D – Langwell 5-46, Gomez 3-49, Wilson 2-3, Jimenez 1-21, Lupe 1-6.