Arcadia High School received just what the doctor ordered when they defeated Apollo High School on a last minute drive during their Sept. 23 match-up.
After five long weeks of frustrating losses, the Titans were finally victorious, defeating Apollo 34-33.
After five lead changes, the score was 33-28 Apollo with 4:17 left in the fourth quarter of the game. With the ball on their own 49-yard line, Arcadia failed to get the first play of the drive off due to a false start, one of the many penalties that Arcadia had throughout the game.
After being sent back, running back Ryan Alexandre stepped up and made the biggest run of the day. He gashed up the hole created by the offensive line and took it all the way to Apollo’s 2-yard line on a 60 yard run.
Arcadia had an opportunity to take the lead late, something the Titans haven’t been able to do all season. After two failed attempts at the goal line, Arcadia head coach Lenny Abt called a timeout and brought his players in a huddle.
According to quarterback Luke Ashworth, Coach Abt told them, “Let’s get a good run here. Just punch it in and let’s just get a win.”
On fourth down, Alexandre, a player who has been productive all season for the Titans, drove himself into the end zone to give Arcadia the lead. After a failed 2-point conversion, the score was 34-33, but there was still 2:19 left to go for Apollo.
Apollo cruised all the way down to their own 41-yard line with 1:40 left. On first down, Apollo quarterback Tazz Middleton attempts the ball to his receiver cutting on a slant, but it is picked off by Reed Richardson.
“He’s a god,” Alexandre said about Richardson’s play. “He puts in a lot effort and he’s definitely one of our key players.”
With everyone piling on Richardson after the game, a victory never felt sweeter for the Titans.
“I threw my helmet up I was so happy,” Ashworth said.
Visibly emotional over the game, Coach Abt teared up while simply stating, “amazing.”
“I’m so proud of these guys. They worked so hard and they deserve it,” said Coach Abt.
Alexandre proved once again why is he is one of the best running backs in the 5A East Valley section. For the fourth straight week in a row, Alexandre ran for 100 yards finishing with a season high 190 yards. He also had two rushing touchdowns, with one of the them being the game winner.
Richardson once again performed well on both sides of the ball with 121 receiving yards and two touchdowns with one of them being a big 56-yard catch in the second quarter and had game clinching interception on the defensive side of the ball.
“My receivers played great tonight,” Ashworth said. “They made some great catches even when I threw some shaky balls.”
Junior receiver Mark Wilkerson stepped up with a big performance on Sept. 23, his first game since Aug. 26. In his game back, Wilkerson had 71 receiving yards with a touchdown after totaling 91 yards in his first two games.
Editor’s Note: Matthew Stolbof is a student journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.