Arapahoe opens football season by beating Legacy

Arapahoe’s defense stepped up in a 10-3 season-opening football victory for the Warriors over Legacy.

The Arapahoe defense was under pressure for most of the game, but held on for victory on August 25 at Littleton Public School Stadium.

Arapahoe ranked 10th in the CHSAANow.com preseason poll and used his defense to spark his opening win of the 2022 season.

The Warriors turned the ball over four times, but the defense was strong and limited the Lightning to just an opening field goal.

“Our defense played really outstanding,” Arapahoe first-year coach Tyler Brayton said. “They did a great job of getting stops after turnovers and possession changes and they had a great save on the fourth down. The offense played hard, but we just need to execute a little better.”

Arapahoe gave Legacy the ball at the 14-yard line after an interception on their first drive of the game, but the defense stiffened and held the visitors to a 35-yard field goal.

Legacy recovered a fumble and had a first down at the 8-yard line, but Arapahoe forced Legacy to give up the ball on attempts at the 3-yard line.

Arapahoe then responded with a 97-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Moynihan to senior Charlie Eckhardt.

After a good kickoff return, Legacy had the ball at the Arapahoe 31-yard line, but once again the Warriors defense was on its feet and Legacy missed a field goal.

Another Arapahoe interception turned the ball over at the 8-yard line, but the Warriors’ Cade Huggins recovered a fumble at the 3-yard line to prevent another Legacy score in the second quarter.

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After a good drive to start the third quarter by the Lightning, Legacy had a first and goal from the Warriors 5-yard line but the defense got up and Legacy missed another field goal.

Arapahoe’s offense moved the ball and made a 35-yard Jackson Smith field goal with six minutes left to put the Warriors ahead by a touchdown.

Will Nox came up with an interception for the Warriors to foil a Legacy drive in the fourth quarter.

And then the defense had to withstand a last-minute rally by Legacy and recover the ball on opportunities at the 39-yard line with less than 20 seconds left.

Arapahoe held the Lightning to 87 rushing yards and 125 receiving yards with most of the passing yards coming on Legacy’s last drive.

Eckhardt was a key contributor for the Warriors. He is a safety, wide receiver and kick returner. He caught the touchdown pass, which was one of four receptions for him in the game. He had five tackles and rushed for eight yards on one carry in unofficial stats.

“Charlie is a great athlete and a great competitor,” Brayton said. “He made some big plays to help us win the game.

“Our defense played very well. Matthew Green played well. Will Nox came up with that great interception. All the linebackers played pretty well all night.”

Arapahoe has a game against rival Heritage on September 2.

“This team is brave,” Brayton added of his team. “They fight and we learned that in our fights. They usually get up. We are not the biggest team, we are not very flashy, but what we do is fight.

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In key games on August 26, fourth-ranked Regis Jesuit defeated No. 2 Valor Christian in overtime, 23-17. Three-time defending state champion and top-ranked Cherry Creek used a strong fourth quarter to defeat No. 6 Ralston Valley, 35-21.

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