ARCOLA — Nick Lindsey’s boys are accustomed to scoring in powerful waves.
Hence Arcola averaging 44.6 points an outing ahead of Saturday’s second-round Class 1A playoff game with Greenfield/Northwestern.
What might go unnoticed because of that statistic is just how good the Purple Riders’ defense can be.
It was hard to miss Arcola’s success on that side of the ball in its latest outing.
The fourth-seeded Purple Riders kept the fifth-seeded Tigers off the scoreboard in the first half and rarely let the visitors gain any sort of offensive momentum, leading to a 23-14 victory and a spot in the 1A quarterfinals.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage up front,” Lindsey said. “We know it’s playoff time, and we have to find different ways to win games and keep advancing.”
Neither side mustered up any first-quarter points, setting a tone that never changed all that much throughout the day.
Still, it was Arcola (9-2) that broke the ice when Beau Jones and lightly-used receiver Kacee Moore hooked up on a pass play.
Moore slipped a tackle and found daylight in the form of a 52-yard touchdown trip, giving the Purple Riders a leg up before halftime.
“It put our kids at ease a little bit,” Lindsey said. “It was kind of a sigh of relief that we were able (to score).” Kacee is not somebody that gets a ton of targets, but he stepped up when we needed him.”
Jones also hit Diego Perez and Ivan Garza on touchdown passes to go with a 28-yard Ivan Franco field goal.
Surrounding those moments was the Arcola defense — specifically its front four — making life difficult for Greenfield/Northwestern (8-3).
Hugo Garza recorded one sack and four tackles for loss to pace that defensive line, while both Jed Jones and Beau Edwards intercepted a Jacob Lansaw pass.
The Purple Riders will be able to use more momentum-changing plays like those when they visit No. 1 Central A&M at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the semifinal round.
Regardless of that result, this already marks both Arcola’s deepest postseason run in three seasons under Lindsey and its longest playoff plunge since winning the 2015 1A state championship.
“They’ve got some really good athletes,” Lindsey said of the undefeated Raiders. “It’ll be a great challenge for us.”
Bunnies can’t slow Raiders. Fisher’s offense wasn’t hapless Saturday in the eighth-seeded Bunnies’ second-round Class 1A showdown against Central A&M in Moweaqua.
It just didn’t matter how much Will Delaney, Tyler Wilson and the rest of the Fisher attackers accomplished.
The Raiders always had an answer. And more.
Central A&M boasted 41 points at halftime and never stopped scoring, taking down Fisher 69-34 to end the Bunnies’ year.
“Their skills kids are just very talented and made some really big plays for them on the perimeter,” Fisher coach Jake Palmer said. “On the interior, the defense held up pretty well at times. But at the end of the day, it was the big plays that hurt us.”
One of those big plays occurred less than 30 seconds into the event, as Connor Heaton and Connor Hutchins linked up on a 92-yard pass-and-catch to lift the Raiders (11-0) into the driver’s seat.
The Bunnies (8-3) found themselves trailing 21-0 before Delaney hit Cale Horsch on a 31-yard touchdown toss late in the first period.
“Our first two drives ended with turnovers,” Palmer said. “Our first play of the game was an interception. ... At time throughout the game we were dominating the line of scrimmage. The problem was we weren’t able to get stops on defense.”
Heaton soared to 321 yards and five touchdowns throwing the pigskin. It put a big dent in Fisher’s defensive game plan, as Palmer said the Bunnies “really wanted to make them throw the ball vertically. It’s something they weren’t as talented at as they are at some other things.”
That speaks to Central A&M’s level of talent, although Fisher got in some licks when it wasn’t giving up possession.
Wilson eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing mark for the season with 115 yards Saturday, and Delaney produced 244 ground yards and 103 passing yards. Horsch also wound up with two touchdown receptions on the afternoon.
Wilson and Delaney are part of a senior unit that banked a playoff victory in back-to-back years — something not previously seen in the program.
“It’s a class I’m going to hate see go,” Palmer said. “They’re the guys who got it done and got us to where we’re at.”
Bombers stunned at home. A wild fourth quarter between second-seeded Argenta-Oreana and seventh-seeded Carrollton ended with the Hawks laughing last.Hunter Flowers plunged 2 yards for a touchdown with 47 seconds remaining, and Ethan Moore returned a fumble to paydirt about 30 seconds later to set aside A-O 48-35 in Saturday’s second-round Class 1A game at Argenta.
The Bombers (9-2) entered the final period with a 21-20 advantage, built on a pair of Josh Williams scoring scampers and a Makail Stanley touchdown dash.
Carrollton (9-2) then produced 14 points in roughly one game minutes to go ahead 34-21 with 7:56 left.
A-O responded with two more Williams runs into the end zone — 37 and 33 yards — to stake the Bombers to a 35-34 advantage with 2:41 remaining.
Williams compiled 184 yards and four touchdowns on the ground to go with Stanley’s 152 ground yards and one score.
Bearcats dominate quarterfinal. Top-seeded Milford/Cissna Park racked up 32 points in the first period of Saturday’s 8-Man Association quarterfinal versus No. 14 Bunker Hill, setting the tone in a 62-6 drubbing in favor of the host Bearcats.
Milford/CP (10-0) outgained its foe 357-17 in total yardage, paced by Penn Stoller’s 122 passing yards, 35 rushing yard and five total touchdowns.
Stoller connected with Keegan Boyle on a pair of throwing scores, with Boyle putting up 97 receiving yards. Angel Salinas added 55 yards and one touchdown on the ground as well.
The Bearcats will take on fourth-seeded Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland (8-3) in the semifinal round.