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Stilly Cup goes to Stanwood
STANWOOD The Eagles first official game of autumn began with a sideline of cheers and ended up with a lot of tears of sadness.
After scoring on the games first offensive drive in the 36th Stilly Cup game against geographical neighbor Stanwood, their offense went stagnant en route to a crushing 14-6 defeat.
First-year head coach Tim Tramp said the Eagles are still in the 3A playoff hunt even after falling to the 4A Spartans.
Arlington fell to 1-3 in league play and 1-4 overall and Stanwood improved to 3-2, 3-2.
Eagle power, the Arlington student section yelled leading up to the opening kickoff.
Junior wide receiver and defensive back Jerad Barber hauled in a 15-yard pass from senior quarterback Trevor Milless on Arlingtons opening scoring drive.
Facing a fourth-down-and-six deep in Spartan territory, senior tight end Abe Bourasaw took his reception down to the Stanwood 4-yard line.
Junior running back Travis Doggett put the Eagles on the board with a
1-yard touchdown, and after an unsuccessful extra point attempt the visitors led 6-0.
The respective student sections, decked out in red and white for the Spartans and Vegas gold, blue and white for the Eagles teens, used their full vocal chords.
Weve got spirit, yes we do, weve got spirit how about you? the cheers rang out from sideline to sideline.
Arlingtons defense kept the Spartans offense off the scoreboard in the first half, and the teams entered halftime with the scoreboard reading Home 0 and Visitors 6.
The Eagles defense held Stanwoods offense to a three and out to begin the second half, but the Spartan defense made a statement with a quarterback sack on Milless.
Stanwood scored a handful of plays later, and with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter took a 7-6 lead.
Arlington attempted to reclaim the lead but a fourth-down-and-three Milless to Barber pass fell incomplete.
The Eagles drive was assisted by a 15-yard illegal substitution penalty on Stanwood, a long reception to senior wide receiver Tyler Varnell and a 15-yard gain by senior defensive back Brandon Gunter.
Arlingtons defense held the Spartan offense to another three and out, and it appeared that the Eagles were embarking on a potentially game winning and time consuming drive.
Milless and his offensive line surrendered back-to-back sacks and faced a third and 22 from their own 27-yard line.
A delay of game call on Milless made it a third and 27, but the Spartans defense was called for a pass interference penalty on a Milless to Barber pass that resulted in an automatic first down.
Junior defensive back Derek Johnson caught two critical passes from Milless and one more defensive pass interference penalty and the Eagles suddenly had a first down on the Stanwood 20-yard line.
A bad snap on second down gave the Eagles a third down and 30, but senior AJ Case punted a beautiful ball that his teammates stopped on the Stanwood 1-yard line.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Stanwood proceeded to drive 99 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and took a 14-6 lead with 1:48 remaining in the contest.
With chants of Eagle power fueling Arlingtons possible heroics, the back-to-back Stilly Cup victors saw their chance for a three-peat foiled by a Stanwood interception with less than a minute remaining.
The Spartans ran out the clock and their student section began the dreaded chants of its all over.
Milless, playing in his final Stilly Cup, said he and his teammates had a lot of effort but came up short.
It felt like we had it, he said in an emotional post-game gathering near friends and family.
Offensively, it felt like it was going to start clicking after our opening touchdown, but things just didnt go our way. We just lost it I guess.
Tramp said the players and coaches all fed off the energy surrounding the entire week leading up the annual rivalry.
It was a fun build up, he said. I hate to keep saying it, but I really hate to lose. It seems like when the field shrinks (penalties on the opposition) we tend to crumble. We cant make mental mistakes against tough teams like this. They (Stanwood) won the war in the trenches.
At Stanwood H.S.
Arlington 6 0 0 0 6
Stanwood 0 0 7 7 14
Records Arlington 1-3 in league, 1-4 overall. Stanwood 3-2 in league, 3-2 overall.