Even when it was trailing American Fork by three touchdowns early in the second quarter last week, Arbor View could see signs that things were about to turn its way.
The double-wing attack the Aggies run was taking its toll on the Caveman defense. While their physicality hadn’t paid any dividends on the scoreboard, they were confident it would as the game progressed.
“We could see their defensive linemen were grabbing their knees and stretching their necks,” Arbor View senior center Tyler Kincheloe said. “Not a lot of offenses they go against in Utah run like us. When they’re getting double-teamed one play, singled the next, then they’re getting nobody touching them and we’re ripping the linebackers, they don’t know what to do. It wears them out.”
In what turned into a back-and-forth game in the fourth quarter, Arbor View stuck with its game plan and Darius Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run was the capper in a 35-34 victory that moved the Aggies to 2-0. A blocked field goal and 38-yard TD pass from Kyle Holmes to Daniel Mitchell also helped the Aggies complete the comeback.
Arbor View hits the road Friday to play another 2-0 team, Hamilton of Chandler, Arizona.
Conventional wisdom states it’s difficult to come from behind with a ground-and-pound offense, but the Aggies scoff at that notion. They’ve been running the double wing for years and have too many comeback victories for them to view that as an accident.
“This is a quick-strike offense,” Arbor View coach Matt Gerber said. “That’s how it’s designed. We’re looking at getting 4 yards a pop, and we feel like we can get 4 yards on every play. That’s our mentality, but we also know if there’s a missed tackle and we block our assignments properly, we can bust it on any play.”
The Aggies have busted several long runs this season, and it’s been a committee of backs getting the job done.
In their opener, a 42-0 win over Basic, they had three players — Mitchell, Jaedyn Jackson and Justin Hausner — who scored two touchdowns apiece, with each taking one to the end zone from 60-plus yards.
“I love watching all of my guys run. Especially when they get the big runs, I love greeting them all and getting hyped with them,” Mitchell said. “It’s just fun because you go out there and do your thing, and then they go out there and do their thing.”
Mitchell has received the bulk of the work, and he’s responded with 340 yards rushing and five scores. Hausner and Jackson, who missed most of last week’s game with an injury, also have rushed for more than 100 yards.
Gerber said being able to rotate backs has allowed him to keep everybody fresh.
That’s a departure from the way the Aggies handled their offensive attack last season, when everybody on the field knew Kyle Graham was getting the ball most of the time. Graham responded with 2,102 yards and 21 touchdowns to earn a first-team all-state nod and lead the Aggies to a 12-2 record and the Class 4A state semifinals.
“I love Bubba (Graham), and he’s such a good athlete,” Kincheloe said. “But we have so much more than that. I don’t think people realize that. They thought we lost Bubba and we’re done, but we have four very good backs that can carry this team and start anywhere in the valley.”
Contact Jason Orts at email@example.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.
All times 7 p.m. unless noted
Canyon Springs at Marist (Ga.), 4 p.m.
Fredonia (Ariz.) at Beaver Dam, 6 p.m.
Centennial at Wasatch (Utah), 6 p.m.
Liberty vs. St. John Bosco (Calif.) (at Bishop Gorman)
Arbor View at Hamilton (Ariz.)
Calvary Chapel at Western
El Toro (Calif.) at Eldorado
Moanalua (Hawaii) at Sierra Vista Green Valley at Moapa Valley
Legacy at Paraclete (Calif.)
Mojave at Cimarron-Memorial
Durango at Basic
Las Vegas at Silverado
Clark vs. Valley (at Las Vegas)
Desert Oasis at Palo Verde
Virgin Valley at Del Sol
Pahrump Valley vs. SLAM Academy (at Chaparral)
Rancho at Cheyenne
Coronado at Sunrise Mountain
Foothill at Shadow Ridge
Mountain View at Indian Springs
West Wendover at Lincoln County
Laughlin at Pahranagat Valley
Beatty at Round Mountain
Spring Mountain at Bloomington Christian (Calif.)
GV Christian at The Meadows
Logan (Utah) vs. Desert Pines (at Bishop Gorman), noon
Saguaro (Ariz.) vs. Faith Lutheran (at Bishop Gorman), 4 p.m.
Servite (Calif.) at Bishop Gorman, 8 p.m.