Titans ready for ‘new’ opponent in Bradshaw Mountain

The Arcadia Football Team running onto the field before their game against McClintock High. (Photo by Jennifer Turelli)

The Arcadia Football Team running onto the field before their game against McClintock High. (Photo by Jennifer Turelli)

Rematches have advantages and disadvantages that go hand-in-hand. Scottsdale’s Arcadia High School football team has a rematch in the first round of the playoffs with Bradshaw Mountain High School, a team they defeated 35-14 all the way back in week one.

The Titans are not thinking about what happened on Aug. 28.

“We’re not focusing on what happened 10 weeks ago,” Arcadia head coach Lenny Abt said in a Nov. 2 phone interview. “We’ve changed so much, I’m sure they have. So we’re looking at it as a team that’s the first round of the playoffs for us. We know they’re well-coached, tough kids so it’ll be a physical game. We’re not looking back at week one and the results or anything that happened. I mean, we’ve changed so much, I’m sure they have as well.”

To say the Titans (8-2) have changed is an understatement.

Since the week one win, the Titans have been through many changes including losing their starting running back, junior Ryan Alexandre, to a season-ending injury and losing his back up, senior Keon Okyere, for a game to injury.

Injuries have not been the only change, however. Sophomore quarterback Luke Ashworth has grown exponentially as the season has progressed.

The quarterback who threw for 134 yards against Bradshaw Mountain (7-3) in week one, now has 1,241 yards and 13 touchdown passes on the season, according to MaxPreps.com.

“I think I’ve been a lot better, obviously, because I’m smarter and can approach different defenses,” Ashworth said in a Nov. 4 phone interview.

Ashworth also says although the Titans cruised passed the Bears in their first meeting, Arcadia won’t be focusing on the past.

“We’re not going to go into the game thinking that we’ve played these guys and we’ve already beat them,” he said. “We’re going to act like they’re a new team, because we’re a new team and so are they.”

In the first matchup between the Titans and Bears, the Titans won the game on the ground, rushing for 314 yards and five touchdowns on 32 carries. Coach Abt says the Titans are preparing an even attack, just like they always have.

“The game will dictate what we do,” he said. “If we have success running the ball, we’ll do that a little more…We’ll just let the game play out. Going in, like every other week, we like to be balanced and prepare equally. The game will dictate how the play calls go.”

Amidst all the changes for the Titans is one constant–senior middle linebacker and team captain Dylan Turelli. He has played all ten games for Titans and has recorded 66 total tackled and 5.5 tackles for loss.

Turelli, like Coach Abt and Ashworth, says the Titans need to worry about week 11, not week one.

“We need to focus on our game plan and stick to what we do,” he said in a Nov. 4 phone interview. “We can learn from that first game with what we did well and hopefully we can bring some of that into this next game.”

One of the reasons cited for not thinking about the week one win is change.

Things have changed for the Titans all season, but there was one particular turning point—an Oct. 2 loss to Tempe High School. From that moment on, the Titans adopted a ‘playoff mentality,’ and that playoff-style thinking has helped the team develop into a playoff team.

“They’ve grown,” Coach Abt said. “They’ve learned to trust each other, buy into the system, trust the system and trust the coaching plans. Every week they’re developing and becoming better football players and a better team. We’ve been playing well lately so we’ll just keep working hard and things will work out in our favor in the end.”

The first playoff game is to be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, at Arcadia High School, 4703 E. Indian School Road.

(by Jennifer Turelli)

(by Jennifer Turelli)

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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