Arcadia dominates defensively in win over Seton Catholic

(Photo by Jennifer Turelli)

(Photo by Jennifer Turelli)

Arcadia High School’s football team started off section play with a 20-6 victory over Seton Catholic on Friday, Sept. 18.

The Titans (3-1, 1-0 Division III, Section I) forced the Sentinels (1-4, 0-1) to turn the ball over three times in the game.

Arcadia head coach Lenny Abt says opening up section play with a win was very important.

“With so many teams in Division III, we don’t know what it’s going to take to make the playoffs, which is our ultimate goal,” Coach Abt said in a Sept. 21 phone interview.

The Titans and Sentinels played a scoreless first quarter on Friday, but the Titans had their chances to get on the board. After an interception, Arcadia marched down the field but turned the ball over on downs on the Seton Catholic one-yard line, according to MaxPreps.com.

Arcadia had trouble scoring in the red zone all game, as they were stopped three times inside Seton Catholic’s 20-yard line, turning the ball over on downs, throwing an interception and fumbling the ball one time.

Coach Abt hopes to correct the red zone flaws as the season rolls on.

“When we’re that close, we’d like to think that it’s automatic,” Coach Abt said. “That’s something we are going to make sure we work on this week as well as keeping improving at all facets of the game.”

In the second quarter, the Titans picked off a Seton Catholic pass and started a drive on the Sentinels’ 19-yard line before turning the ball over on downs at the 26-yard line.

Sophomore quarterback Luke Ashworth (Photo by Jennifer Turelli)

Sophomore quarterback Luke Ashworth (Photo by Jennifer Turelli)

Late in the second quarter, sophomore quarterback Luke Ashworth found junior wide receiver Grant Loftin for a 23-yard touchdown to give the Titans a 6-0 lead heading into halftime (missed extra point).

In the third quarter, junior running back Ryan Alexandre rushed the ball into the end zone from 11 yards out to increase the Arcadia lead to 13-0. Alexandre finished the game with 26 carries, 106 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, according to MaxPreps.com.

The fourth quarter saw the two teams trading turnovers. Arcadia turned the ball over on the Seton Catholic one-yard line, and then the Sentinels turned the ball over on downs at their own six-yard line a few plays later.

Arcadia started its next drive inside the red zone, but fumbled the ball back to Seton Catholic with approximately five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Sentinels fumbled on the very next drive, giving the Titans the ball ten yards away from the end zone.

With approximately four minutes left in the final quarter, Alexandre iced the game with a four-yard touchdown run to give the Titans a 20-0 lead.

The Sentinels got on the board late in the fourth with a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Garrett Boyd to junior wide receiver Jacob Terril. The two-point conversion attempt failed and the Titans emerged victorious 20-6.

Before the end-of-the-game score by the Sentinels, the Titans had played near-perfect defense.

“We really focused on making the quarterback uncomfortable and making sure we were in the correct coverage,” Coach Abt said. “That was something we wanted to focus on, fixing those things. We had given up a lot of points the last two games. We really focused on that in practice, the coaches got on the kids and we were hoping for a result like this.”

In the two games before the Seton Catholic game, the Titans had allowed 92 points. Senior middle linebacker Dylan Turelli says a great week of practice allowed the Titans to perform well last Friday.

“Defensively, I think we had a great performance,” he said. “We were just a lot more intense, flying around to the ball during practice. I think that the Sunrise Mountain week, we kind of were slow and weren’t really getting into the game and stuff, so I think the intensity picked up so we were ready for game speed.”

Ashworth says the section win will help the Titans as they look forward to a Sept. 25 matchup against Shadow Mountain High School (2-2).

“It was obviously extremely important because we think the way we are going to get into the playoffs is to win our section,” he said in a Sept. 21 phone interview. “To start out with a section win gives us a lot of momentum. I feel like we feel a lot more confident going into our next couple games.”

Scottsdale Independent Sports Correspondent Justin Maskulinski can be contacted at jmaskulinski@newszap.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/Maskulinski.

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