Arabians football opens season with dominant defensive effort


PENDLETON — Pendleton Heights knew coming into the season that it was a deep and talented group on the defensive side of the ball.
That showed in Week 1 and allowed the Arabians to avenge last year’s opening-season loss to Lebanon.
In last year’s matchup, the Tigers defeated the Arabians 26-12. This time, it was Pendleton Heights taking the win 15-0 at home on Friday.
The Arabians defense recorded its first shutout since a 35-0 win against New Castle early last season and did so with a well-rounded effort.
Fourteen Pendleton Heights defenders recorded tackles, four players recorded tackles for loss and two recorded sacks. As a team, the Arabians forced five turnovers and scored one defensive touchdown.
Two turnovers by each team led to a scoreless first half.
Lebanon forced and recovered two Pendleton Heights fumbles, one in each of the first two quarters, and the Arabians intercepted a pair of Lebanon passes.
After the Arabians fumbled on their first possession, Clint Miller intercepted Lebanon quarterback Jackson Folden. Just before halftime, Peyton Pollock followed suit with an interception of his own.
Another impact player on defense for the Arabians was Dresden Roberts, who wreaked havoc in the Lebanon backfield all night long. He led Pendleton Heights with nine tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack.
One of his biggest plays of the night, though, came on the other side of the ball.
A 57-yard run in the third quarter helped fuel a struggling Pendleton Heights offense to its first and only score of the night. The run was the catalyst to a nine-play scoring drive capped off by a 3-yard touchdown pass from Isaac Wilson to Caden Sims.
The Arabians added one more score after a punt grazed a Lebanon player and was recovered by Nolan Souders in the end zone.
Seniors Eli Libler, Nick Trout, Clint Miller and Eli Arthur all recorded more than five tackles on the night.
Pollock, another senior, added to his first-half interception by finishing the night with three tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack.
Trout and Garrett Pederson were the other two Arabians to stop Lebanon runners in the backfield.
Dontrez Braxton joined Pollock and Miller with the team’s third interception, and Souders had two total fumble recoveries on the night.
Offensively, Roberts led the Arabians with 76 rushing yards. Wilson added 45 yards, Keaton Jones had 31 and Bo Surface had 21.
Wilson completed four of his 13 passes for 30 yards and one score, while junior Colton Frank was 3-for-4 for 40 yards.
Sims led all receivers with 44 yards and one touchdown.
The Arabians are back in action at 7 p.m. Friday on the road at Anderson.