Westview readies next for its Class 6A opener at Canby on Friday night
by: Miles Vance TAKE IT BACK — Westview's Justin Leatherman returns a kick during his team's win over McKay on Friday night.

ROCK CREEK - Now comes the real test.

The Westview football team went just 2-7 during the 2011 regular season, but came out strong in its Class 6A Play-In game on Friday night, beating McKay 31-17 at Westview High School and winning a berth in the OSAA's 32-team Class 6A state playoff bracket.

The Wildcats, ranked 23rd in the final OSAA power rankings for 2011, will now test their mettle in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs, facing 10-rated Canby (5-4), third third-place finisher from the Three Rivers League, at Canby High School at 7 p.m. Friday.

And the Cats (3-7 overall) say they're ready to compete.

'I always feel like we can do damage against any team,' said junior running back Xavier Williams, who had three rushing touchdowns in the win over McKay. And 'our offensive line has been blocking good for us all year.'

'We feel like we're always in the game,' added senior quarterback CJ Garcia, explaining that was because 'we actually prepared a lot better this week. We had a lot of good practices this week.'

Besides Williams' three rushing TDs, Westview got another 200 yards on the ground from Jordan Bacon and extended its lead to 31-10 in the third quarter.

'I'm just going out, doing what I do in practice, playing hard and doing the same thing in the game,' said Williams, who finished with 80 yards rushing on nine carries and TDs of 12, 20 and 6 yards.

'We've had a hard schedule all year, but we knew that we were better' than our record, said Westview senior defensive back Nick Heisen, who picked off a McKay pass and returned it 75 yards for a score late in the third quarter. 'We just wanted to show people that we had a hard schedule, but we're still a good team.'

The Wildcats came out strong Friday night, driving for touchdowns on each of their first two series, getting a 12-yard Williams run to end the first, and a 20-yard Williams scoring run to end the second. Garcia connected with Justin Leatherman for a 23-yard completion on that first series, and Leatherman's 29-yard punt return set up the next. From there, Bacon went 41 yards on first down and Williams did the rest from the 20.

McKay answered early in the second period with a 13-yard TD run from Tyler Gonzales to make it 14-7. Westview tacked on a 32-yard Matt Gorman field goal on the ensuing series, but the Royal Scots answered with a 30-yard Jalen Carbajal kick to make it 17-10 at the half.

The Cats built on that lead quickly in the third, though, getting a 51-yard Bacon run on the Cats' first offensive play of the half to set up Williams' third TD run and provide a 24-10 lead.

Eight plays later, Heisen picked off McKay quarterback Alex Emerson and took it back 75 yards up the sideline to extend his team's lead to 31-10 with 2:58 to go in the third quarter.

'I can tell when they're running 'outs' because they line up more inside,' said Heisen, who also had an interception and TD return against Aloha earlier in the year. 'I just bit off it and tried not to get tackled.'

McKay added a 14-yard Joey Thorn TD run with 49 seconds left in the game, but it was too little too late.

McKay saw its season end at 2-8.

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