When Arcadia forged an early two-touchdown lead over Seton Catholic Friday night, it appeared the Sentinels were on their way to saying goodbye to any playoff hopes, as well as casting a big "boo-hoo" on homecoming festivities at Seton Catholic Stadium.
Instead, quarterback Anthony Wallace and receiver Adam Engelbert went on to have monster nights, and the defense stiffened for the Sentinels as they rolled to a 35-21 victory over Arcadia in a key 4A-II East Sky Region on Friday.
Wallace completed 23 of 26 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns while Engelbert was on the receiving end of 10 of those throws for 239 yards and a pair of TDs. Ethan Springston also caught two scoring passes as the Sentinels' air game was in high gear.
“It's something that you dream about to play a game like that – it's incredible,” Engelbert said. “They just didn't change their defense in the first half, and we were able to capitalize on that.”
With the big night, Engelbert takes over the team lead in receiving with 810 yards on 47 catches.
“Engelbert may have had the game of his life tonight,” Seton coach Rex Bowser said.
The win keeps Seton (5-4, 2-3) in the hunt for postseason eligibility, giving them a boost in the power-point ratings with games against Maricopa and Higley remaining to close out the regular season.
“This for us tonight was a playoff game,” Bowser said. “We've got to win everything we play now.”
Meanwhile, Arcadia's third loss in four weeks leaves the Titans (5-3, 2-3) in scramble mode as they look to lock down a playoff spot with two games remaining, and they must face unbeaten and region leader Williams Field in their season finale.
“We've got to turn it up, that's all there is to it,” Arcadia coach Jim Ellison said.
The Titans looked playoff-worthy early on against the Sentinels, scoring on their first two possessions on 26- and 20-yard runs from bruising fullback Sosaia Maafu, his 10th and 11th TDs on the season.
But the Sentinels, down 14-0, responded with their quick-strike offense as Wallace hit Engelbert for a 12-yard gain and then found him open for a 65-yard TD at the 4:06 mark in the opening quarter.
The Seton defense also cleaned up its act when C.J. McGrady picked off a Cole Richardson pass deep in Sentinel territory that prevented the Titans from possibly building a 21-7 advantage.
Wallace then took the Sentinels 70 yards on six plays, capped by his 15-yard scoring toss to Engelbert early in the second quarter.
“Our defense made great adjustments, and they were our big story in this ballgame,” Bowser said.
Arcadia finally managed to get its offense restarted late in the third quarter. The Titans pieced together a 60-yard drive capped by Richardson's quarterback sneak to tie it at 21-21.
But the Sentinels continued their aerial assault with Springston catching TD passes of 30 and 7 yards to to give Seton a 14-point cushion with more than 10 minutes remaining.
The Titans were going to rest star running back Bradley Tefft's bruised knee, but Ellison decided to play him in the second half in hopes of giving Arcadia a spark. He finished with 36 yards on five carries.