PHOENIX — The Combs Coyotes lost 21-14 to the Arcadia Titans in a controversial finish in Phoenix on Thursday night.
With scores locked at 14 and going into overtime, Combs tried to match the Titans' first touchdown and extra point conversion. That attempt fell short when on fourth down as Coyotes quarterback Tanner Hale threw a pass to wide receiver Hunter Clare who was closely marked by Arcadia’s Cale Christiansen in the end zone.
As Clare attempted to catch the ball he was clearly interfered with, as Christiansen’s arms wrapped around him. Christiansen then pushed off Clare and tried to intercept the ball, but failed leaving Clare on the ground looking to the official for a flag. The sideline judge waved his arms to signal an incomplete pass and there was no yellow flag thrown on the play.
Pandemonium broke out from the Arcadia sidelines as the Titans stormed the field delirious with joy, whilst the Combs players stood in disbelief pondering how the game ended in such a manner.
Earlier Combs dominated the game in a low scoring three quarters of football. Hale was solid in offense and connected several times with Clare. Clare was simply outstanding, when he wasn’t catching offensive passes he was intercepting the ball and creating turnovers for his team.
For Arcadia, Braylen Rooney had a mostly inconsistent night but stepped up in the dying minutes and in the overtime period to carry his team to victory. His running back in Quintyn Isabell was the pick of the Titans' offense. He completed several punishing runs against the Coyotes defense.
Defensively for Combs, Ty Strebeck and Landon Merkley pressured the Titans' quarterback for the majority of the game.
The Combs touchdowns were scored by Hale (a running TD) and a short catch and run into the end zone by Blake Lyons.
For Arcadia, their touchdowns were scored by Jeremy Smith and Isabell scoring a running touchdown.
The overtime winning TD was scored by Alex Alba from a pass by Rooney.
Combs should have iced the game in the final quarter with two minutes remaining, but a crucial blocked punt by Arcadia, gave them superb field position just 9 yards outside the end zone. Titans running back Isabell punched his way though for a TD and then Rooney did likewise tying the game up at 14.
The loss means Combs will now have to wait until Saturday and rely on other results to see if they will make the postseason.
A clearly disappointed Combs coach in Levi Hoaglund told PinalCentral despite the loss he was proud of how his team played out the game.
“One thing we preach to our guys all the time is you gotta control what you can control,” Hoaglund said. “Things didn't go our way tonight and I can't ask these guys to play any harder than they did. At the end of the day it's on our coaching staff and getting them in the right spots and doing stuff, and executing but unfortunately we just came up for short.”
Hoaglund was full of praise for his wide receiver in Clare.
“He's a great player and we're gonna see where we're at after Saturday if we're still playing," Hoaglund said. "He's gonna be a weapon for us like normal and if we're not playing then he’s probably one of the best players to come through our high school."