Arlington Eagles win Western Conference championship

ARLINGTON — Despite winning the Western Conference 4A title, Arlington coach Greg Dailer has still got the itch.

The Eagles dominated Jackson 42-21, Oct. 29, but did so by throwing the ball just three times.

“That’s very un-Dailer-like,” Dailer said, who has run a spread offense nearly the whole 2010 season. “I’m itching all over. I can’t remember the last time I threw less than 15 passes.”

Of course, it helps when a junior gives his coach no reason to throw, which was the case when Colton Hordyk had his breakout performance.

“It’s something I’ve never been able to experience before,” said Hordyk, who ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns. “To start like this and win the district. It’s amazing.”

Being more used to a slot receiver position, it took Hordyk a little while to get used to running the ball.

“After that first series, we gave him a couple of carries and he just looked over at me and said, ‘Give me the ball,’” Dailer said.

Hordyk scored the Eagles’ final four touchdowns to power his team into the No. 1 seed out of District 1.

After a 15-yard pass from Arlington quarterback Skylor Elgarico that Connor Cummings brought in with one hand for a score, Hordyk broke three tackles en route to a 55-yard score. On Jackson’s ensuing possession, Hordyk blocked a punt that rolled back 36 yards before Gaillard fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown.

“I was just coming off the edge and nobody was there blocking,” Hordyk said.

With the score tied 21-21 at halftime, the Eagles’ defense allowed just 45 total yards in the second half, while grabbing a pair of interceptions, to shut out the Wesco South champs for two quarters.

“Our defense did an outstanding job that second half,” Dailer said. “That is without a doubt the best half of football we’ve played all season. And Jackson is a good team — we had trouble with their quarterback (Sam Brown) — but we really came together in the end.”

Arlington had a pair of 100-yard rushers, with Tre Mandenhall gaining 115 on the ground to join Hordyk.

The Eagles will play the winner of the Graham-Kapowsin vs. Auburn Riverside play-in game that was scheduled for Nov. 2. Arlington’s match-up will be a home game, but it has to be on a turf field. That is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 4 at Marysville-Pilchuck’s Quil Ceda Stadium.

The Eagles will be playing for their first football state berth since 1997.

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