Both teams won in convincing fashion in their first matchups of the season, as Arcadia took down Bradshaw Mountain 35-14 and Sunrise Mountain defeated Cibola (Yuma) 65-20.
The task at hand for the Titan defense is to slow down the dual-threat quarterback of the Mustangs, junior Chase Cord. In the opening game of the season, Cord completed 23 of 34 passes for 393 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, according to MaxPreps.com. On top of his passing success, Cord ran the ball 10 times for 77 yards and one touchdown during the rout of Cibola.
“We need to make sure that we can keep (Cord) in the pocket as much as possible,” Arcadia senior linebacker Dylan Turelli said in an August 31 phone interview. “We’ve watched him and we know how good he is, so we’re going to try to get a good rush on him and keep him in the pocket so he has to beat us with his arm.”
While defending the run is on the mind of the defense for Arcadia, keeping the running attack going may be the focus on the offensive side of the ball.
In their week one victory, the Titans had scoring runs of 89, 45 and 50 yards. Arcadia head coach Lenny Abt credited the offensive line for the explosive plays.
“The line really did well for us and our running backs believed in the line,” Coach Abt said in an August 31 phone interview. “The backs hit the holes hard and ran hard. They played well.”
The Titans used their rushing attack to defeat Bradshaw Mountain, but they may need to look to their passing attack in week two. The Sunrise Mountain defense held Cibola to just 53 yards on 23 rushing attempts while allowing 305 yards through the air, according to MaxPreps.com.
Sophomore quarterback Luke Ashworth says the Titans may need to look to the passing game for success against the Mustangs’ stingy run defense.
“Their offense is also very talented and we’re going to need to put more points on the board,” Ashworth said in an August 30 phone interview.
Coach Abt says the run/pass ratio will work itself out during the game.
“The game will dictate (the ratio),” he said. “We always go in with a 50/50 mindset for the most part, we like to be balanced. The game will dictate which way we go.”
The Titans came out on top by 21 points in their week one win. Coach Abt says the team needs to avoid an over-confident mindset after the big win.
“We need to come out and play hard, just like we did in our first game,” Coach Abt said. “They’re a well-coached team. It’s a good challenge for us to not get too high after the win.”
Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 at Arcadia High School, 4703 E Indian School Road.