Pre-game Notes: It's homecoming night for Arcadia. The Titans are coming off a tough loss to 4A East Sky foe Queen Creek 14-7. Not only did they lose the game but also starting QB Colby Kirkegaard to a shoulder injury and he will miss this game. Titan Coach Jim Ellison brings in a banged up team as four starters are being replaced in this game. Coach Ellison makes a decision to go with senior WR David Thompson to start at QB. He has no QB experience but has the coach's full confidence. Arcadia's rush defense has struggled the last four games so they will be put to the test against the strong Higley running game. Higley RB senior Chris Campbell (the nephew of former football player Earl Campbell from the Houston Oilers) has been averaging about 190 yards a game for the last four games. He is difficult to contain. Included in the running attack are senior Jace Smith and junior Emmanuel Caro Del Castillo. It's common for the Knights to deal with 8 to 9 men up front to stop their running game. Radio station KDUS is at this game to broadcast this 4A East Sky battle.
Recap: Higley sets the tone of the game as it begins with a 15-play drive that has 13 running plays but the drive ends at the Arcadia 21 yard line as the ball is turned over on downs. It's 5:29 remaining in the 1st quarter when Arcadia begins its first drive. Arcadia sends a signal that their inexperienced QB can throw long even though the pass falls incomplete. The drive ends with a punt and Higley is driving deep into Titan territory but RB Jace Smith fumbles and Arcadia recovers. After a very quick 1st quarter Higley starts a 5 play drive that ends with senior QB J.P. Beall hitting RB Emmanuel Caro Del Castillo on a 6 yard pass and its 7-0 Higley.
The next possession for Arcadia starts with a fumble inside their own territory giving Higley good field position. RB Chris Campbell runs over Arcadia defenders for a 26-yard TD run and the Knights lead 14-0. Arcadia knows it needs to change the tone and they begin at their own 22 and somehow manages to overcome a couple of mistakes and 13 plays later junior RB Pat Schrimsher runs 6 yards to the end zone and it's 14-7 Higley. The Knights try to run out the clock until the half but Arcadia forces them to punt. WR David Carroll receives the punt and laterals across field to lineman Casey Rockwood and he stumbles and rumbles to the 17 and RB Jake Hirschi runs it in from the 5 and at the half its tied 14 all.
After an exciting 1st half, Arcadia struggles to score in the 2nd half and the Titans shoot themselves in the foot with a bad punt. Higley puts points on the board with a 28-yard Field goal by Matheus Pasin to give Higley a three-point lead. Higley scores one more time with a short TD run by QB J.P. Beall and a two point conversion makes the final score Higley 25, Arcadia 14.
Bottom line: This was a hard-hitting game on both sides. Arcadia just could not over come losing their starters. The good news QB Colby Kirkegaard is expected to play next week. Coach Jim Ellison does express some pride in his defense for hanging tough against the run and not letting Higley run up the yardage. The goal the Titans had at the beginning of the year was to be 3-2 in their region and he feels they can do this and be in the playoffs. Higley Coach Jim Beall had strong words for his team at the half and wanted his key players to do better after the breakdown just before the half. His defense comes through with some big plays and this makes Coach Beall one happy camper. After losing their first two games the players made a promise not to lose again and so far its six straight wins.
Game ball: Coach Beall wants his defense to get the game ball. They stepped up at critical times with two sacks and two interceptions to hold Arcadia at bay. He thinks it was a total team effort that got this win. Who can disagree with his wishes to have the defense share the game ball?
Up Next: Higley (6-2 3-0) host undefeated Coronado. This is for sole possession of first place in the East Sky region.
Arcadia (6-2 1-2) travels to play Tempe.