By Johnny Sanders, For the Tribune
ARAB — Friday night, the Arab Knights hosted the Moody Blue Devils in a matchup of two teams experiencing historic seasons. Before 2022, neither team had ever won 10 games or more in a season.
Unfortunately for Moody, their historic season came to an end with a 42-20 loss in second-round playoff action.
The game started as a defensive battle with both defenses stifling the opposing offense. With the first quarter almost over, Moody’s Cole McCarty found Davion Dozier for a 14-yard touchdown strike and the only points of the period.
The second quarter would lead casual observers to believe that two totally different teams had taken the field. Arab wasted little time scoring as running back Drake Franklin found paydirt from 13 yards out. Less than a minute later, McCarty found his favorite target once again, a 60-yard bomb that saw Dozier make an amazing catch over a defender and break tackles on his way to the end zone.
Not to be outdone, Arab pounded the ball down the field, and Franklin ran it in from the 12-yard-line, tying the game at 14 at the 7:55 mark of the second quarter.
Moody turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, allowing Arab to go on an 11-play drive to run out most of the remaining time, capping it off with a 3-yard touchdown run from Franklin.
Moody had just 33 seconds to score – and they almost did. On the heels of a 43-yard pass from McCarty to Dozier, McCary completed four consecutive incomplete passes to close out the half as Arab led 21-14 at halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, Moody received the ball first and took full advantage of it. Running back Blaine Burke and the running game caught some traction and set up McCarty at the 11, where he would do his best Superman impersonation and leap into the end zone from the four-yard line. The missed extra point cut the lead to one point 21-20, as Moody seemed to grab the momentum.
The Blue Devil defense held Arab to a punt on their next possession. Then disaster struck. Moody fumbled the punt and the Knights recovered the ball on the seven-yard line. Three plays later, Arab quarterback Aidan Cox found Brody McCain for a touchdown to put the home team up 28-20.
From that point on, Moody would find little traction on offense, not scoring again. Arab added a pair of touchdowns from Fraklin to add insult to injury and put an end to the 2022 Moody Blue Devil football season.
Dozier had a great night with ten catches for 231 yards and two scores, while McCarty went 21 of 39 for 300 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception at the end of the game.
“We just didn’t have enough tonight. They’re a great football team, very physical,” said Jake Ganus of his team’s performance. “I’m proud of the fight and the way the guys played. We have faced adversity. I’m really proud of the 14 seniors. The legacy they left for our program will live on.”
Summing up this season, Ganus said, “I think there is a new standard for Moody football. If anyone would have said we would go 10-2, everyone, including my players would have said ‘Oh yeah. We will take that.’ I think there’s a new standard set for Moody football and I’m proud to be a part of it.”