Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 | 11:20 p.m.
Many thought the Northwest league would be the toughest in town this season. Few thought it would turn out this tough.
Palo Verde sits atop the standings with three weeks of the regular season to go but still must play the three presumed favorites — Arbor View, Centennial and Faith Lutheran, a trio that just finished off a round-robin of defeating each other.
First, Centennial beat Arbor View. Then Faith Lutheran knocked off Centennial. Arbor View completed the parity puzzle with a 24-17 home victory over Faith Lutheran on Friday night.
“It was the kind of game you would expect with a championship atmosphere,” Arbor View coach Matt Gerber said. “This game had huge implications.”
The Aggies fired out of the gate, scoring the first two touchdowns on long runs from Daniel Mitchell, who finished with a team-high 154 yards on 20 carries. Faith Lutheran cut into the lead with a long field goal in the second quarter, but Arbor View quickly matched the three points.
The Aggies converted on a fake punt to extend a drive before halftime, setting up Easton Jones to boot through a 45-yard field goal.
“Our special teams played awesome,” Gerber said. “Special teams and the offensive line were great all night.”
Neither special teams nor the offensive line could do anything about Faith Lutheran’s third-quarter surge as the Crusaders tied the game at 17. They also held strong with a goal line stand against the Aggies early in the fourth quarter, but the home team ultimately wouldn’t be denied.
Justin Hausner scored a touchdown in the final minutes that wound up as the game-winner. The challenges aren’t over for Arbor View yet, though. Not in the Northwest.
The Aggies go to Shadow Ridge, which only lost to Centennial and Palo Verde by a combined four points, next week.
“This is as deep as the division has been in a while,” Gerber said. “Everyone is playing well.”