After losing his second fumble, Williams Field running back Alex Howard walked slowly back to his sideline. Sullen. Fuming.
On his next carry, the junior running back sprinted 55 yards for a go-ahead – way ahead – score.
“I was thinking one thing,” he said as recalled sprinting past the last two defenders. “Touchdown.”
Howard's three rushing touchdowns led No. 2 seed Williams Field to a 37-10 4A-II first-round playoff win over visiting Arcadia.
“He was fired up,” said Williams Field coach Steve Campbell about Howard.
Howard closed out the game with 142 yards on 15 carries.
After a 49-21 loss to Williams Field last week, Arcadia came better prepared and took a second-quarter 3-0 lead after taking advantage of Howard's first fumble.
“We came in with a good game plan,” Arcadia coach Jim Ellison said.
The Black Hawks answered right back with a five-play, 72-yard drive, which was capped by Howard's 1-yard touchdown.
On the Black Hawks' next drive, they got all the points they would need when quarterback Tom Ross hit J.D. Layton on a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Arcadia turned the ball over twice in the next four plays.
“They are too good for us to make mistakes,” Ellison said.
With a solid lead, Arcadia was forced into a passing game. That was enough for Williams Field's defensive line to send Arcadia quarterback Cole Richardson running for his life.
The Black Hawks recorded six second-half sacks that set back the Titans 56 yards.
Overall, Williams Field recorded nine sacks, including one that led to a safety.
“We have very quick D-linemen,” Campbell said.
With the win, the Black Hawks next host No. 7 seed Tucson Amphitheater, which defeated Coronado 48-8. Williams Field lost to the Panthers in the first round of the 4A-II tournament last year.
Amphi is led by coach Vern Friedli, who is in his 35th year at the school.
“He's been coaching longer than I've been alive,” said Campbell.