Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 | 12:30 a.m.
Barnson, the only coach in Arbor View's 12-year history, won game No. 99 against Faith Lutheran, meaning the Aggies' next contest in two weeks against Shadow Ridge could put the veteran coach into triple digits for career wins.
Barnson, though, wants little credit for the outcome against Faith Lutheran. That, he repeatedly said, goes to defensive coordinator John Gibbons. Barnson calls the offensive plays, Gibbons the defense.
And it was Gibbons’ defense that was the difference against Faith Lutheran, including Niles Scafati-Boyce’s interception in the end zone in the final seconds to preserve the victory.
“We knew Faith would be a really good team and that they would air the ball out against us,” said Arbor View senior linebacker JJ Tuinei, who easily had double-digit tackles in the win. “All we did was listen to our defensive coordinator coach Gibbons. He put us in the right position to win the game.”
Faith Lutheran had less than 50 rushing yards and its passing attack wasn’t effective most of the night. But in the final minute, Sagan Gronauer connected with Keagan Touchstone for a completion of about 40 yards to take the ball to the Arbor View 25 yard line.
It was only fitting that the highly anticipated showdown between Mountain Region powers be decided by defense. On first down, Gronauer nearly completed a pass into the corner of the end zone to Greg Oliver. On the next play, Scafati-Boyce ended the game.
The victory gives Arbor View the inside track to win its fifth straight Northwest League crown. They also beat Faith Lutheran by three points last season.
“They throw it around,” Barnson said. “They have a guy who can throw it and three or four guys who can catch it. If they were going to beat us, they were going to beat us in the air because we were going to stop the run.”
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Logan Bollinger had the lone Arbor View touchdown midway through the second quarter when he faked a handoff to Bubba Graham and went 30 yards for a touchdown — the final points of the game.
“They were hitting. That was the most physical team we have played so far,” Tuinei said. “We hit back harder.”
Faith Lutheran’s touchdown came on a 30-yard Gronauer pass to Peyton Thornton in the first minute of the second quarter to give the Crusaders a 7-3 advantage. In the loss, Faith Lutheran showed it’s going to be a force in next month’s playoffs, potentially meeting Arbor View for the regional championship game.
“Faith played great,” Barnson said. “They stifled us at times. We did the same to them. Proud of our kids.”