Arcadia improves to 6-2 with low-scoring win over Vista Grande

The Arcadia football team. (photo by Jennifer Turelli)

The Arcadia football team. (photo by Jennifer Turelli)

The Arcadia High School football team won a defensive battle Friday, Oct. 16 against Vista Grande High School, 16-7.

In its past three games, Arcadia (6-2, 3-1) is averaging 10.3 points allowed per game.

“We’re just making the reads better, we’re communicating better in the secondary,” Arcadia head coach Lenny Abt said in an Oct. 19 phone interview. “We’ve just been really aggressive with it and it’s paid off. The kids are really buying into what we’re doing right now and they have a really good feel for our defense.”

Senior middle linebacker and captain Dylan Turelli says the Titans’ defense is finding its zone in the second half of the season.

“We had a lot of good practices in a row and we’re trusting our reads,” he said in an Oct. 19 phone interview. “We’re just performing very, very well during the games.”

Vista Grande (5-3, 1-3) lit up the scoreboard first on Friday as the Spartans’ senior quarterback Bryant Henderson found junior Skylar Collins for a 16-yard touchdown pass, according to MaxPreps.com.

In the second quarter, senior running back Keon Okyere found the end zone on an eight-yard run to tie the game at seven going into halftime.

Okyere, among other Titan running backs, has been assigned with the difficult task of making up for junior running back Ryan Alexandre’s presence on the field, as Alexandre is out for the season with an injury.

“The line has really stepped up,” Coach Abt said. “Obviously, losing Ryan (Alexandre), we had a next-man-up mentality like we talked about, so the line has really stepped up and given Keon (Okyere) and all the other running backs opportunities to help out our offense.”

In the third quarter, sophomore quarterback Luke Ashworth found senior wide receiver Riley Erickson for a four-yard touchdown toss to give the Titans a 13-7 lead (missed PAT).

According to MaxPreps.com, Erickson kicked a 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give the Titans a 16-7 lead that would stand as the final score.

Now the Titans, who sit at 6-2, turn their eyes to Apache Junction (2-6, 2-2). Arcadia knows what it needs to do to make the playoffs, and the key to getting there is taking its last two opponents seriously.

“We know that we pretty much have to win out to assure our spot in the playoffs,” Turelli said. “We need to focus every day on our upcoming opponent and we need to have good days at practice. Then we’ll be prepared for the challenges on Friday.”

Coach Abt says the Titans need to stay focused in their preparation in order to compete in the playoffs.

“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” Coach Abt said. “The kids all want an opportunity to get to the playoffs, so that’s our goal—to get to the playoffs. Each game is important and I told them after the (week six) loss to Tempe that every game is a playoff game. That’s kind of the mentality when we go into each week. Hopefully it’ll work out; we’re playing hard and well right now.”

Arcadia High School is a part of the Scottsdale Unified School District and is located 4703 E. Indian School Road.

The Arcadia football team will face Apache Junction in their next game. (photo by Jennifer Turelli)

The Arcadia football team will face Apache Junction in their next game. (photo by Jennifer Turelli)

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

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.