After a late comeback attempt, Arcadia High School fell just short to Chaparral High School 42–35, but Arcadia’s senior defensive back/running back Ryan Alexandre was the Titans’ Rocky Balboa Friday, Oct. 28.
The Titans made early mistakes, committing two turnovers and allowing Chaparral to recover a third-quarter onside kick. The loss of possession resulted in a rushing touchdown from Chaparral sophomore running back Marqui Johnson.
The comeback came in the third quarter. Arcadia was losing 35-14. Alexandre decided to step up and finish his final game as a Titan by “going the distance,” much like Balboa against Apollo Creed in the movie “Rocky.”
Alexandre continued to do what he has done all season long. He rushed for over 200 yards and four touchdowns. Three of his scores came in Arcadia’s second-half comeback.
“I wasn’t thinking as much (in the second half) and kind of just felt the game,” Alexandre said on his performance after the game.
Down one possession, AHS had a chance to tie the game by recovering an onside kick and scoring a touchdown.
On the onside kick attempt, the Titans recovered the ball, lifting hopes of the Arcadia faithful. However, those hopes and cheers were all silenced when the color yellow was visible on the field, a team’s worst nightmare.
The penalty was charged to Arcadia. They recovered the onside attempt one yard short of distance when the kicking team can legally touch the ball. The nightmare was real as the flag gave the ball back to the Firebirds, ending the game and Arcadia’s 2016 season.
Despite the loss, Arcadia head coach Lenny Abt said he’s proud of Alexandre’s performance both during the game and throughout his career.
“He’s amazing,” Arcadia head coach Lenny Abt said. “You can’t tell if it’s his first run or 100th run. That’s how good he’s been for us.”
Alexandre said he will miss playing for Arcadia and will never forget his four years here.
“I’m really gonna miss the coaches and the players. They’ve really had a big impact on my life.” Alexandre has received an offer from Phoenix College and his looking at other schools where he will have the opportunity to play at the next level.
The Titans ended their season with a 2–8 record. Despite the losing season, Arcadia was competitive in almost every game they played, and Abt said he is proud of their effort from opening week to the last game of the season.
“They played well together all year. They never quit all year,” Coach Abt said. “The record is what it is, but I throw that to the side knowing how well they played all year.”
Even through tough times, Arcadia’s atmosphere was positive and welcoming. Exactly what Coach Abt said he wants in a team.
“We break it down on family because it is,” Coach Abt said. “We knew we had low numbers coming in compared to our other opponents and (we) never made that an issue. They played so hard for me all year.”
Defensive tackle Mekhi Beler, a senior captain on Arcadia’s defense, said he was also proud of the effort his team put in his final game for Arcadia.
“We worked hard every play,” he said. “That’s all I can ask for.”
Beler is receiving offers from Adams State and other schools to play for their program.
“I’m very excited for the next chapter in my life,” Beler said. “I’m just open right now and ready to see where I go.”