A leader is only as good as the legacy he leaves.
On Friday night, D.J. Foster proved that his legacy will be vast; not only because he hung up 296 yards and five touchdowns, but because he trained a leader in the 70-35 romp against Arcadia.
The scenario: Sophomore quarterback Luke Rubenzer was getting frustrated. The Titans were within two touchdowns, because Arcadia's Fred Escoto returned a Rubenzer interception for a touchdown. Worse yet, the Titans (7-2) had momentum; and they were within two touchdowns, after the Sabercats (8-1) had been up 42-7.
What does a leader do? He sits his quarterback down. He talks to him.
"I told him ‘You are the leader of this team. You have got to stay calm in this position; your position can't be getting frustrated," Foster said. "I told him to stay calm and maintain your composure."
The response: Rubenzer goes under central and drops a 47-yard bomb to Christian Kirk, and gets Saguaro's swagger back.
The Sabercats didn't look back; just like Foster didn't look back on the decision to start Rubenzer over him at quarterback.
"Luke, I think, took offense to the fact that I was going to start D.J. at quarterback [over the spring]," said Coach John Sanders, later adding, "The thing is, D.J. is an athlete. He doesn't pretend to be the quarterback that's going to spray the ball around. ... He can play corner, safety, slot, running back. We just so happen to use him at running back. But when you're sitting in my position, and you see some skinny sophomore that put on 20 pounds over the summer, who was in the weight room and just refused to sit him down, he won the job."
Rubenzer finished the day throwing 9-of-12 passing for 325 yards in the air and four touchdowns passing, and 261 of those yards came in the first half.
His first strike was when he saw the safety bite on second down.
"I was just reading the safety on that one," Rubenzer said. "He flew over, and I just hit Cam, because he was open. He beat the linebacker and had a one on one, so I hit him over the top."
The result was the 71-yard touchdown pass. Then, on his next offensive series, he put the exclamation point on a Sabercat half by dropping a 37-yarder to Kirk.
But, the Titans marched in the third quarter - Cole Richardson logged a 1-yard quarterback keeper to score first; then Richardson lobbed a pass to Ryan Bollinger for a 42-21. That's when Rubenzer threw the pick-six.
"The majority of [the weak first half] was, ‘Guys, we can play better than this,'" Arcadia coach Jim Ellison said. "I think we were a litte intimidated about it at first; we came out the second half and that went away. We played a good game, we unfortunately had dug a hole too deep to come out of it."
Next week, Foster gets to build his legacy further at Chaparral.
"I just try to be the leader for this team and just do what I can to help this team win," said Foster. "I know it's a big game and a rivalry and everything, but I'm just going to take it as any normal game, and just have the same preparation as every week."