Arbor View senior Salah Boyce came within inches of blocking a punt late in the first quarter Thursday night, but instead was called for running into Shadow Ridge punter Bryce Alexander.
For the remainder of the game, Boyce played flawless football, catching two touchdown passes, returning a fumble for a score and intercepting a pass to lead the No. 5 Aggies to a 51-7 win over their neighborhood rivals.
“We practiced hard all week and we came out and did it,” said Boyce, who finished with 38 yards rushing and 66 yards receiving. “We knew they were going to come out fired up hitting, but we practiced hitting the sleds all week and we got very physical during the game and came out fired up ready to hit.”
Boyce’s 60-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Andrew Cornwell helped the Aggies (6-1, 3-0 Northwest League) to a 24-0 lead with 7:06 left in the first half. In the fourth quarter, moments after tipping the ball to himself in the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown catch, Boyce scooped up Xavier Flores’ fumble at the 12-yard line and raced toward the right corner of the end zone to put the game out of reach at 44-7.
“He did very well. That’s two weeks in a row for him; he’s trying to tell us something,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “Salah was everywhere tonight. You couldn’t have asked for a better game out of him.”
Senior Anthony Smith rushed for 152 yards on 10 carries, including a 58-yard TD run for the Aggies. Junior Herman Gray added 120 yards on 11 attempts and a 33-yard TD scamper, while junior Maurice Harvey returned a punt 60 yards for a score.
The Aggies used 11 rushers to finish with 382 yards on the ground. Cornwell completed two passes — both scoring strikes to Boyce — for 66 yards.
Arbor View’s defense was stellar, allowing the Mustangs (3-4, 1-2) to cross midfield only three times over 12 possessions.
“We pushed the kids to be physical for this game, because we know how physical Shadow can be,” Barnson said. “We try to be more physical Monday through Wednesday (at practice) than we do on Friday nights. We know that’s not going to be the case, but we push them hard to be prepared for games like this.”
Shadow Ridge was led by seniors Cody Alfar, who ran for 95 yards on 12 carries, and Dustin Puia, who completed nine passes for 114 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown to senior J Henderson.
Wearing the initials “PH” on helmet stickers and also embroidered on the jerseys, the Aggies played with heavy hearts and dedicated the game to former principal Pat Hayden, who died Saturday while competing in the Pumpkinman triathlon at Lake Mead.
“It’s very emotional when you lose Pat Hayden,” Barnson said. “Not a lot of the kids knew him, but they knew we all knew him and they kind of fed off of us as coaches. It was just a tragic loss and we came out and played for him tonight. And we’re going to continue to play for him.”