TROY — The Arcanum Trojans defeated the Troy Christian Eagles 20-18 in a tug-of-war contest Friday night.
The Trojans struck first with 5:41 left in the first quarter with a 4-yard run by quarterback Daniel O’Donnell. An extra point later, Arcanum led 7-0.
The Eagles enjoyed advantageous field position as the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving them the ball on their own 35-yard-line. Less than two minutes later, Eagle running back Luke Dillahunt ran into the endzone. A failed extra point kick kept the Trojans one point ahead, 7-6.
Dillahunt was a key component of the Eagle offense in the second quarter, snaring a key fourth-down conversion and rushing for his second touchdown from the 5-yard-line with 2:17 left in the half.
A pass attempt for an Eagle 2-point conversion was broken up by Trojan defensive back Austin Gibboney — vital points Troy Christian would woefully regret missing later in the game.
Down 12-7 with two minutes remaining in the half, the Trojans went into hurry-up mode, driving from their own 26 all the way to the Eagle 9-yard-line with six seconds left on the clock. However, an O’Donnell pass was intercepted near the goal line.
Arcanum received the second-half kickoff and made good use of it, putting together a sustained drive that culminated in 1-yard touchdown run by running back Brandon Kinney with 6:37 left in the third quarter. A successful extra-point kick put the Trojans back in the lead 14-12.
Another Kinney touchdown run with 6:51 left in the game added to the Trojan lead. The extra-point kick, however, was blocked, leaving Arcanum up 20-12.
With the time remaining, the Eagles made things interesting. Arcanum was on the verge of wrapping up the win with Trojan linebacker Hunter Saunders intercepting an Eagle pass at midfield. A pass interference penalty, though, took away the turnover and gave the Eagles the ball at the Trojan 10-yard-line.
An Eagle touchdown reception by running back Jacob Calvert with 3:31 remaining put Troy Christian in a position to tie the game. The Trojan defense sacked the quarterback on the 2-point attempt, leaving Arcanum up 20-18.
The Trojans recovered the onside kick at the 50-yard-line and proceeded to burn time off the clock, leaving the Eagles only 44 seconds with which to attempt a comeback.
Arcanum intercepted the Eagles’ desperation pass as time expired, ensuring the Trojan squad its third win in a row.
Pleased with the outcome, Arcanum head coach T.J. Powers called the victory “a total team effort.”
“I’m very proud of these kids for persevering,” Powers said. “Troy Christian is a good team.”
The Trojans (3-5 overall, 2-4 in Cross County Conference play) next play at home versus the winless Mississinawa Valley Blackhawks on Friday.
Erik Martin may be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 937-569-4314.