Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008 | 12:30 a.m.
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After upsetting Arbor View 26-19 on the road, Cimarron-Memorial junior fullback Zach Barbara knows it’s not going to be easy when the Spartans (3-2) host Palo Verde (5-0) on Oct. 3
“I think it’s the biggest game we have this year,” Barbara said. “It’s going to be a challenge. They are tough to play.”
Cimarron-Memorial coach Rod Vollan hopes the Friday game against Arbor View, which runs a double-wing offense similar to Palo Verde, will prepare the team.
“The double wing is so difficult to simulate in practice, so it’s a good opportunity to play a team that runs it,” Vollan said. “It doesn’t do us any good, though, if we don’t learn from our mistakes. We didn’t read our keys properly. We didn’t make plays on the ball, and we didn’t finish better.”
Cimarron-Memorial extended its winning streak to three games and ended Arbor View’s three-game winning streak in the Aggies’ homecoming game.
Coming into the game, Vollan said he was concerned about keeping the Aggies off the scoreboard. Arbor View out-scored its opponents 95-24 in its first three games.
“I felt if we came out and let them jump on us, we were going to be blown out,” Vollan said.
Arbor View scored the game’s first points when junior running back DeMarlo Virgil scored on a 33-yard run on fourth-and-5 with 9:39 left in the first half.
Cimarron junior running back James Poole responded with a 95-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff to knot the game at 7-7.
“The team spirit was down after they scored,” Poole said. “Things picked up after that run, and I think it got us back in the game.”
The Spartans defense then forced the Aggies to go three-and-out and, after blocking the punt, took over at the 50-yard line.
Cimarron junior running back Steven Nixon scored on a 2-yard run and Cimarron led 13-7 following a blocked extra point.
The Spartans got the ball to start the second half and promptly marched 62 yards in six plays when Barbara broke a 36-yard run for a touchdown and a 20-7 lead. He finished as Cimarron’s leading rusher with 165 yards, including 120 in the second half.
“They were focused on stopping Nixon tonight, but the line stepped up and made some big holes for me,” Barbara said.
Arbor View put together a 10-play series, moving the ball from its own 28-yard line to the Cimarron 32, before the Aggies turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert on fourth-and-17.
Cimarron took advantage of the turnover and, eight plays later, sophomore quarterback Cody Clark kept the ball on a 1-yard quarterback sneak and the Spartans looked to be in control with a 26-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Arbor View’s offense found some rhythm in the fourth quarter and put together a seven-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Taylor Wooten to cut the Spartans lead in half to 26-13. Wooten was the game’s leading rusher with 169 yards.
The Aggies defense held and blocked the punt to get the offense the ball at its 48-yard line. This time Wooten needed just one play as he broke for a 52-yard touchdown run to get the Aggies within a touchdown with a little less than seven minutes to play.
However, Cimarron was able to put together a 14-play drive that ran the clock down to 38 seconds before it had to punt.
The Aggies took possession at their 21-yard line, and junior quarterback Austin Anderson connected with junior receiver Jordan Miller on a 52-yard pass play.
Arbor View’s final chance came with four seconds left on the clock, but Anderson’s pass was batted down to preserve the win for Cimarron.