ARCANUM – A winless Arcanum Trojan football team manhandled the Twin Valley South Panthers, who entered Friday’s game at 2-2.
The Trojans opened the season with four tough teams on their schedule. They were competitive in most of these game but just came up short. But they mauled the Panthers with a smothering defense and a running attack that seemed to get stronger as the game went on.
Daniel Coats and Brandon Kinney had big nights for the Trojans, but Coach TJ Powers let it be known that the running game starts with the line and they had a big night, too. The backs can’t get to the second level of the defense unless the line clears the first level.
It was a close game in the first quarter with Arcanum up just 7-0. But the Trojans would end up running away with the game 33-3.
Arcanum’s first score was a 28-yard strike from quarterback Pierce Lindemuth to Kinney.
South was able to answer. The Panthers drove twice deep to Trojan territory, and the first time they were stopped on downs. The second time a tackle for loss put the Panthers into a long-yardage situation, and they opted for a field goal. Ryan Bassler connected on a respectable 41-yard field goal to put South on the board.
But from there the Trojan running attack took over; the remainder of Arcanum’s scores were on the ground. And the Trojan defense kept the Panthers pinned back.
A blocked punt by Dane Craport helped set up the first Trojan score.
And the Panthers went for it on fourth down several times on the night. The first time they were successful. But the Trojan defense dug in their heels on the next four tries and denied them each time.
And in the second half the Panthers took to the air to try and get back in the game. They spread out the field with receivers. But an ambitious Trojan secondary picked off the ball twice (Wade Meeks and Kinney) in the second half and dashed any hopes of a comeback by the Panthers.
The Trojans had a decent halftime lead (20-3) and Coach Powers later related that the staff decided to back off the passing game and focus on the run to keep South’s offense off the field and also to keep the clock running. This worked too well as Arcanum was able to grind down the South offense with the running game and also pad its lead with additional second half scores by Coats.
The team actually seemed to get stronger in the second half as runs for 4-5 yards in the first half became 10-15 yard yards in the second half.
“We have a great group of kids that don’t give up,” Powers said. “We worked our tails off, and we were 0-4. But they never hung their heads. They kept plugging away, and I am proud that they are rewarded tonight. Tonight was an old fashioned football game – we out ‘physicalled’ them tonight. Coats and Kinney were the dynamic duo for us tonight, but I will tell you – it all starts up front; we dominated the line of scrimmage tonight.”
Powers was pleased with the defensive side of the ball.
“I don’t know how many fourth down stops we had tonight – and Wade Meeks’ interception was great,” he said. “We were relentless in the second half and kept plugging away.
“We have five games left, and we have to focus on those one game at a time,” he continued. “It is now a five-game season, and we have to win out to get a winning record.”
Arcanum will travel to National Trail next where the Trojans hope to keep the momentum going.