South Holds Off Arcanum Comeback.
South would race out to an early lead in this game, but would have to hold off a determined Arcanum team. South owned the first quarter, but were outscored in the other three quarters as they just held off the Trojans for the win. Smarting after an opening day loss to Carlisle, Arcanum wanted to right their ship and win their conference opener against South. Still elated after their opening day win, South wanted to show that they were for real with a quality win over Arcanum - a team that has been in the upper echelon of the Cross County Conference for many years.
Arcanum won the coin toss, but elected to defer to the first half. They hoped to make a statement with their defense. But instead it was South who made the statement with an opening touchdown drive. Devin Eisenhour set up the TD with a 40 yard catch of a Josh Flynn pass to put the ball on the Arcanum 16. Then Stephen Balthis caught an 11 yard pass for his first score of the night. The South defense was intense in the first quarter hardly allowing an Arcanum first down. And the South offense matched their intensity on the next drive that was capped by a 44 yard Joe Maleski TD run. On Arcanum's next possession, Josh Flynn fell on a fumble and South was back in business with a short field. Josh Flynn finished what he had started with a 34 yard TD pass to Joe Makeski. The only shortcoming for South in the first quarter was that they had missed all three extra points.
In the second quarter, the game had the makings of a rout. Stephan Balthis found the end zone again, this time after intercepting Arcanum's Josh Stone. Down 25-0, a lot of teams would have folded. But Arcanum doggedly stayed on the heels of the Panthers. Their next possession they scored on a pass play. Then they did an onsides kick that was recovered by Arcanum. South did make them turn over the ball on downs, but fumbled the ball back to Arcanum. They managed to drive the ball to the South 1 yard line where they scored with 21 seconds left in the quarter. Suddenly the South lead did not look so solid.
The Arcanum momentum carried over to the second half. Josh Flynn had sacked the Arcanum quarterback to put the Trojans into a 4th and 17 situation - which they converted. They scored on 4th and 1 at the goal line and suddenly it was a whole new ball game with the South lead trimmed to five; 25-20. Turnovers would aid South the remainder of the ball game as twice Arcanum ended drives deep into South territory with lost fumbles. Bryan Dalton would set up a TVS score with his fumble recovery in the third quarter. Joe Maleksi scored on a 15 yard TD yard. That would cap the scoring as neither team could find the endzone in the last quarter. South drove to the redzone one last time, but ended the game by taking a knee at the Arcanum 9.
South's coach Cottingim was asked for comment after the game: “Anytime that you can beat a team like Arcanum with their football history we are very much pleased. I believe that we have only beat them 6 times before Friday night, so it was a huge win for our program.” On letting Arcanum outscore South in the last three quarters, “We told the kids that they have to learn to play with a lead. In the second quarter we had like three offensive snaps and two of them were fumbles. We have to learn to keep our focus, learn how to put a team away. We had them in a position that if we scored again in the first half then they might have been ready to give up, but we let them back in the game and it ended up being a whale of a ballgame.”
On the defense, “We have to learn not to give up the big play, we had them 3rd and long and 4th and long. We had them in a passing situation and then gave away a big play. This is the second week in a row where we gave up the big play.” Injuries: “Due to injury we had to play the last two quarters with 4 sophomores on the offensive line. And in the second half we were able to run the ball. So I was very pleased with the way that our 4 sophomores played.” Tail of the tape: “Joe Maleski had 118 yards on 15 carries. 2 catches for 52 yards. Josh Flynn threw for 100yards and ran for 79. Stephen Balthis had a good night on both sides of the ball. Caught one TD pass and intercepted another one and ran it back for another touchdown, as a freshman playing against a quality team like Arcanum, I was really pleased. Josh Flynn kept pressure on the quarterback with 2 sacks on defense and JT Stone had a good defensive game. “ Comments: email: Chris Tilton