Arbor View coach Dan Barnson gathered his players around the 30-yard line following the Aggies’ chippy victory over Legacy on Thursday night and delivered one of his more impassioned speeches.
“You asked for it in January, and now you’ve got it,” he told his players, referring to next week’s Sunset Region final matchup with Bishop Gorman.
They sure do.
The Aggies pitched a second-half shutout, holding the Longhorns to just 14 yards of total offense in the last 24 minutes, and earned a 48-21 home win over their biggest rival in the region semifinals to set up a date with Goliath.
“It feels great (to win this rivalry game), but we’re looking forward to our next game already,” said junior left tackle Matthew Smith, who helped the Aggies dominate the line of scrimmage and rush for 292 yards Thursday.
Arbor View (10-0), which earned its seventh consecutive victory in the “Battle of the Bulls” rivalry, will meet Gorman (10-2) in the region final next Friday for the fourth straight season. The Gaels won the past three meetings, outscoring Arbor View 140-33.
On Thursday, senior running back Deago Stubbs had 131 yards of total offense and two touchdowns in the first-half, including a 12-yard touchdown catch from Logan Bollinger with 9.1 seconds left in the second quarter, to give Arbor View a 31-21 halftime lead.
It was that 13-play, 73-yard drive that chewed up over 7 minutes of clock, slowed the pace of play and set the tone for the entire second half.
“That’s what we practice for,” Stubbs said of the long drive. “That’s what we condition for.”
Barnson credited his offensive line for stepping up then, and when the Aggies scored on their first possession of the second half after a 10-play, 62-yard scoring drive. Davis capped the 6-minute drive with a 2-yard plunge, and Legacy didn’t have any more big plays in them. The Longhorns scored on a 70-yard run by Aubrey Washington, and two passes over 50 yards from Roberto Valenzuela in the first half.
“We just realized we had to step up,” Smith said of the line. “It was a big part of the game plan. Last time, the o-line wasn’t aggressive enough. But we came out ready to go this time.”
Barnson added: “We wanted to come out in the third quarter and score on our first drive. That was big-time for us.”
The Aggies’ possessed the ball for all but 52 seconds of the third quarter, and Davis’ short touchdown run put his team ahead 38-21. Stubbs didn’t return to the game after halftime and had ice on his knee, but his teammates more than picked up the slack.
Kyle Graham, who scored on a 65-yard punt return in the second quarter, finished with 79 yards rushing on 10 carries. Eason Jones converted field goals of 28 and 21 yards, and Nathan Egbalic added an 11-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Aggies.
Valenzuela threw for 140 yards and two touchdowns — both to Davick Clark. Washington had nine carries for 116 yards and a score for the Longhorns (7-4).