Thanks to 31 unanswered points, defending 4A Division II champion Phoenix Thunderbird rolled past Arcadia 31-14 Friday night -- handing the Titans their first loss of the season.
The Chiefs scored on their second play of the second quarter when quarterback Vinnie Marin hooked up with Scott Beaudoin on a 56-yard touchdown pass. A bolt of lightning flashed over the field as Marin released the ball. The flash of lightning appeared to stun players on both sides of the ball but Beaudoin kept running with the play and finished in the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
“I was hoping it would have been about five seconds earlier,” Arcadia coach Jim Ellison said, hoping the game would have been postponed by lightning before the play occurred.
Arcadia got on the board first with a trick play. The Titans caught the Chiefs on a misdirection play and running back Steven Moala took a pitch 84 yards for a 7-0 lead.
Thunderbird tied the game barely a minute later when Kani Benoit scored on a 25-yard touchdown run. Benoit took the snap in the wildcat formation and eluded a trio of Titans in the backfield before breaking free for the score.
Benoit struck again with 7:37 left in the first half when he rumbled off tackle to the left and scored on an 80-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs a 14-7 edge before the Chiefs' "bolt" play.
Thunderbird also tacked on a 36-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. Beaudoin later added a second touchdown catch in the fourth to finish off the 31-point run.
Arcadia got a late touchdown from Sosaia Maafu in the final two minutes to close the scoring. Maafu ran for 321 yards and seven touchdowns in the Titans' first two games, but was held to 95 yards.
“We knew teams were going to start keying on him and they did a good job of hitting him low,” Ellison said. “We have a real good staff and we’ll review film. We will fix the things that need to be fixed.”