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Arlington’s Stilly Cup, playoff dreams come up short
STANWOOD — Elsewhere in Snohomish County, a big win by the Snohomish football team rendered Arlington’s playoff dreams mute.
But the implications of that other game did little to take the sting out of Arlington’s 48-39 loss in the Stilly Cup on Halloween night. When the night started, Arlington was hoping for a key road win and a Snohomish loss to qualify for state with a small, close-knit squad under first-year coach Greg Dailer.
Arlington got off to a start that seemed promising to their aspirations.
Stanwood was only able to execute a handful of plays before Arlington defensive back Dylan Lindberg picked off a Spartan pass. Arlington quarterbacks Jake Parduhn and Andy Smith moved the first down markers with a little help from Stanwood penalties.
At the Stanwood 10-yard line, Spartan Ryan Schroyer intercepted a pass by Smith, but the ensuing Stanwood offensive drive was short-lived. On the next pass, a tackle by Jon Shell shook the football loose and Parduhn picked it up along with 10 yards for a defensive touchdown.
But Stanwood quickly answered with the kind of drive they would run successfully all night long. Stanwood running back Devon Wooldridge scored from three yards out to tie it up. A Stanwood interception on the next Arlington drive had the Eagles playing catch up 80 yards later as Stanwood took the lead with another rushing touchdown just seconds into the second quarter.
Arlington mixed rushing and passing on their next drive as Kellen Botten and Parduhn carried the ball, setting up Smith to wide receiver Connor Varnell for 37 yards down to the Stanwood two-yard line. The four-minute drive culminated in Varnell getting those last two yards for Arlington as another six points went up for the Eagles.
Stanwood regained a touchdown advantage as their running back Brad Gee drove two minutes and the bulk of 64 yards to give the Spartans a 21-13 lead.
Arlington retied the game at 21-21 with a 63-yard pass from Smith to Lindberg and a two-point conversion pass to Shell. But Stanwood ran at will against the Arlington defense, scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 19 seconds before the half.
The Stanwood run would prove effective as Gee scored twice more against Arlington. The Eagles trailed by 20 before Parduhn scored for Arlington from eight yards out early in the fourth quarter but Stanwood re-established the gap on the next drive.
Arlington showed heart for all 48 minutes of the game, putting together two more scoring drives in the last two and a half minutes, but the efforts — a Smith keeper and a pass to Lindberg — came up nine points short when the final whistle blew.
“I told them I love them no matter what happens,” Dailer said after the game. “We never gave up.”
It was a tough end to the regular season for a team that worked hard to establish the spread offense in their first season. The boys enjoyed early success, starting the season 3-0 with wins over Glacier Peak, Lynnwood and Jackson.
Arlington gets a crossover game Nov. 7 against a Wesco South team to wrap up the season. They’ll return next season a year wiser in the game plan and with a strong veteran core.
“We’re doing good. They guys are picking it up,” Dailer said, adding in reference to the crossover game, “We’re hoping to go out strong, 6-4 instead of 5-5.”