Arcadia ends Higley's playoff hopes - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Arcadia ends Higley's playoff hopes

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Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011 11:20 pm

Even Ryan Fochtman's lead blocker, Tyler Richards, doesn't know what to expect when he clears the path.

But Fochtman glided through the defense like a hot knife through butter. And what happens afterward generally winds up in a dash to the end zone.

In a victory that guaranteed Arcadia a playoff spot, Fochtman slashed his way through the Higley defense to score three touchdowns on the Titans' 40-13 win against the Knights.

No. 7-seed Arcadia will host No. 10 Peoria next Friday, while Higley's strong start to the season was derailed by injuries, and ultimately a falling out of the top 16.

"When I'm blocking for Ryan, he tries to direct us as well he can," Richards said. "He's just a great runner though.

... "You never know what he's going to do, so you have to go out there and do your best and make the best of it."

Fochtman, who finished with 101 yards on the ground for the Titans (8-2), started the scoring for the Titans. He lowered his shoulders and sliced his way to open field for his first touchdown at the 7:33 mark of the first quarter.

"When he's in there, that's what you get. He squares his shoulders and hits the hole better than almost anyone I've ever had," said Arcadia coach Jim Ellison. "He's just so good at reading the blocks."

Ellison said that having a weapon like Fochtman also eases the pressure on his power running back Sosaia Maafu, who finished with 160 yards and three touchdowns.

Adding to Fochtman's pair of rushing touchdowns, Titan quarterback Cole Richardson, who threw 13-for-20 with three interceptions and 179 yards, tossed him a screen pass that put the Titans up 34-13.

"We talk before the game; he tells us what his game plan is going to be," Richards said. "He says, ‘I'm just going to play off of you guys, so hit somebody and I'm going to go off of you.'"

The only time that Arcadia looked to be out of control of the game - especially after taking a 14-0 lead with 9:41 left in the first half - was after Richardson threw an interception that Higley's Christian Garza returned it for a touchdown at the 3:28 mark of the second quarter.

"What scares me with them is that it seems like every year when I play them they always linger around, and I thought that would be something that may let that happen," Ellison said. "Cole knows it was not the best read, but he's doing a lot of great things, so I'm proud of him."

When Arcadia's offense wasn't on the field, the Titans defense was solid. Arcadia didn't allow the Knights to gain a first down until the 10:53 mark of the third quarter and gave up only 69 yards on the ground against the Knights' recently-installed rushing attack after losing QB Eric Kump for the season with a knee injury in late September.

Higley did, however, put together a 9-play 53-yard drive in the third quarter that ended with a score by Mythias Young.



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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]