The Arcadia Titans found its rushing offense and squeezed out a 28-21 home victory over the Maricopa Rams on Friday night.
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Arcadia after struggling offensively last week against Higley, the Titans relied primarily on the run against the Rams and ran for 347 yards. Sosaia Maafu led the charge with 109 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns and also caught a pass for 22 yards.
“We worked with our offensive line to improve our running game,” said Arcadia coach Jim Ellison. “We hit the sleds and worked on their footwork in an effort to get their feet moving again.”
The line responded to the extra work. Sophomore Brendan Turelli stood out as the unit opened up huge holes for the running backs.
The Titans broke a 21-21 tie with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run by Maafu. Arcadia drove down the field from its own 23-yard line and did not throw the ball once. Maafu carried the ball five times for 52 yards on the drive.
The Rams quickly moved into Titan territory on their next drive and looked poised to tie the game before safety Brendan Satran came up with an interception.
After starting the drive at his own 23, Maricopa quarterback KJ Diehl found receiver Travis Brown for a 41-yard gain. Following a few ineffective rushing attempts, Satran jumped an out route on fourth and 10 and gave the Titans the ball with just over four minutes remaining in the game.
The Arcadia rushing attack then put together several first downs and ran out the clock. Marty Chavez reeled off a 19-yard gain to seal the victory. Chavez ran the ball seven times for 72 yards in the game.
The Titans jumped out to a 14-0 lead before allowing the Rams to creep their way back into the game with a score late in the second quarter.
Arcadia scored on its first two drives of the game. The first came on a 7-yard run by Bradley Tefft. The Titans ran for 80 yards on the drive and only threw the ball once.
Tefft finished the game with 76 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.
The Titans scored again at the beginning of the second quarter on a 6-yard run by Maafu, wjho also set up the score with a 22-yard reception. Tefft and Ryan Fochtman also contributed with nice runs during the drive.
Maricopa finally got on the board with 24.6 seconds left in the first half. Running back Randel Barber set up the score with a 32 yard run. Diehl then punched it in on a quarterback sneak from 2 yards out.
The Titan defense had shut the Rams down completely prior to the score. Lineman Phillip Kern and linebacker Alex Bolton led the charge. Bolton sacked the quarterback midway through the second quarter.
Titan Linebacker Landen Berry covered the field well and made two touchdown-saving tackles in the game.
Maricopa used the swing in momentum to score on its first drive of the second half and tie the game. The drive started at the Rams 20, and Maricopa needed only eight plays to drive 80 yards for the score.
A 26-yard run by running back Kentrell Coleman followed by a late-hit penalty put the Rams in Arcadia territory. Diehl then found Spencer Wilson over the middle on a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Arcadia immediately responded with a touchdown drive of its own on its next possession. After losing a 24-yard run on a penalty, Titan quarterback Cole Richardson found tight end Jared Thorn on a 50-yard pass play to put Arcadia at the Maricopa 9.
Richardson struggled with accuracy in the game but made the big throw to set up a score. He also fell victim to a couple of dropped passes that he had put on the mark.
After a false start penalty, Maafu ran in the score from 11 yards out.
The Rams tied the game on the next possession on a 3-yard touchdown run by Diehl.
Arcadia came out on top in the back and forth scoring procession thanks to Satran’s late-game interception.
The Titans face their toughest challenge of the season next week when they travel to Scottsdale to face Notre Dame.
“Our running game is solid now,” said Ellison. “We feel good going into Notre Dame running the ball.”