By Travis Mounts
A strong defense and the ability to find the end zone gave the Argonia-Attica Titans a 48-0 victory in the first round of the 8-man Division I playoffs last Thursday against the Macksville Mustangs. The Titans hosted the game in Attica.
Xander Newberry gave the Titans four touchdowns – two running and two throwing – and the Titans’ defense created havoc in the Mustangs’ backfield all night.
Macksville finished the game with negative rushing yards, losing 17 yards in the game that was called in the third quarter. They managed 90 passing yards.
Newberry led the Titans with 64 rushing yards. Blake Goodman added 33 yards, and Adam Blanchat and Noah Phillips each scored touchdowns.
Conner Harnden had 48 receiving yards and a score. Phillips added a second touchdown on a 13-yard catch, his only reception of the game.
Goodman and Blanchat led the team with 10 tackles each, and Phillips and Cooper Traffas had six each. Goodman recovered a fumble, and Blanchat had an interception.
A pick-6 by Blanchat in the first quarter got the Titans rolling, as he returned the interception 26 yards for an 8-0 lead. A huge hit by Coady Blick got the A&A sideline even more excited.
After forcing a punt, the Titans needed just two plays to get an offensive touchdown in the early moments of the second quarter. Newberry kept the ball on an option run to the right, scoring from 32 yards out. That put the Titans up 16-0.
A fumble on Macksville’s next drive left the Titans just 15 yards from the end zone. But the Mustangs managed an interception on fourth-and-goal to stymie the Titans.
Another Mackville punt followed, and the Titans drove 45 yards in six plays as Newberry threw a 20-yard touchdown to Phillips. The ball was batted straight up in the air at the goal line, and Phillips corralled it as it came back to earth.
The Mustangs drove to the Titans’ 21 on the next drive, but a tackle for loss by Phillips and a sack by Blanchat and Cale Carlisle led to a failed fourth-down try by Macksville with 1:31 left in the half. The Titans needed less than half that, scoring on a 12-yard pass to Harnden for a 30-0 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Titans got scoring runs of 40 yards from Newberry, 15 yards from Blanchat and 1 yard from Phillips to close out the game.
As district champions, the Titans get to host again this Friday. This time, the game will be in Argonia and the opponent will be the La Crosse Leopards, who are 5-3.
La Crosse has won five of its last six games and last week beat Moundridge 60-40.