BY BARRY WONG
On Arbor View’s first offensive play against Centennial, senior quarterback Bryce Poster connected with senior running back Maurice Harvey for a 60-yard passing touchdown. That was the only out-of-the-norm play for the Aggies in a 21-16 victory.
The rest of the night, Arbor View (9-0, 4-0) ground and pounded their way through two long second-half drives that helped decide the game and claim the Northwest League title over the Bulldogs (8-1, 3-1).
“That’s our offense,” senior running back Charles Louch, who rushed for 174 yards, said. “We chew up clock.”
Arbor View head coach Dan Barnson said that was the game plan, keeping Centennial’s offense, which had scored more than 50 points in three of the last four games, off the field. The idea: run the ball and avoid stopping the clock.
That thought process was more than justified in the first quarter, when Centennial junior running back Rhamondre Stevenson broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run to answer Harvey’s score. A Zach Mays second-quarter field goal gave the Bulldogs a 10-7 halftime lead.
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Aside from a couple of runs, Arbor View’s rushing attack was held in check by the Centennial defense in the first half.
“We went with three plays. We ran three plays the whole second half,” Barnson said.
One of those plays featured Louch running the ball to the outside, including a long run in each of Arbor View’s key second-half drives. Louch says the outside runs helped open up the middle.
Each of the Aggies key drives, one in the third quarter and one the fourth, drained more than six minutes of the clock and were capped off by short one-yard touchdowns by Herman Gray.
Centennial scored late in the fourth, when junior quarterback Juan Rodriguez connected with senior wide receiver Brandan Harley on a seven-yard slant to cut the lead down to five, but Arbor View picked up a first down on the ground on its next possession and then ran out the clock.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Louch said.
Arbor View will host Shadow Ridge next Friday to open Sunset Region play while Centennial will host Legacy.