Arbor View’s first play from scrimmage couldn’t have gone much worse, as the Aggies fumbled into their end zone and Faith Lutheran recovered for a touchdown.
It was all Aggies from there.
Arbor View intercepted three passes and held Faith Lutheran to 80 yards of offense in a 28-7 home win Friday night in the Mountain Region championship game, the Aggies’ first region title.
“Defensively we pride ourselves on takeaways,” said senior defensive back Niles Scafati-Boyce, who had a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown. “We do that. We took the ball away a good amount of times, and the score represented why we work so hard on defense.”
Arbor View (12-1) made life miserable for Faith Lutheran quarterback Sagan Gronauer. Along with the three interceptions, the Aggies collapsed the pocket all night, forcing Gronauer to scramble or throw the ball before he wanted to. He was 5-for-24 for 84 yards.
“We got pressure on him, so we made him throw off his back foot a few times, and a couple tipped balls came our way,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “Niles took the one to the house.”
The game was tied 7-7 when Scafati-Boyce came up with the team’s second interception and raced down the right sideline to give Arbor View the lead with 8:27 left in the first half.
That play gave Arbor View all the momentum after the Crusaders (8-5) had stolen it early with Hunter Kaupiko’s fumble recovery in the end zone.
“Defense has got to help us out here,” Scafati-Boyce said of his thoughts after the fumble. “And our defense stepped up in a big way. And our defense made plays, and that’s the outcome.”
After Kaupiko’s touchdown, the Aggies marched 80 yards, capped by Logan Bollinger’s 1-yard quarterback sneak to tie the game with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
“What can you do. You shake it off, and here we go,” Barnson said of the fumble. “But then what did we do. We went 80 yards on 13 plays and tied it up. That shows the pride of our offense, because they went right back out there.”
Easton Jones kicked field goals of 42 and 33 yards, and Justin Hausner had a 4-yard TD run to close the scoring for Arbor View, which had lost in the region title game the four previous seasons.
“We’ve been waiting so long for this,” Scafati-Boyce said. “It’s just a huge relief. My last home game at Arbor View, it’s just a great way to end it this way.”
Kyle Graham rushed for 135 yards on 19 carries, and Darius Williams added 114 yards on 19 carries for the Aggies, who didn’t complete a pass.
Arbor View plays Northern Region champion Bishop Manogue (10-3) in the state semifinals Nov. 24 in Reno. Bishop Manogue defeated Damonte Ranch 49-48 in overtime Friday.
“We worked all summer for this,” Scafati-Boyce said. “We were here every single day in the morning waiting for this. And we’re not done yet. We’re about to go get it up in Reno, too.”
Arbor View 28, Faith Lutheran 7
Bishop Gorman 49, Foothill 3
Liberty 36, Sierra Vista 14