SHORELINE – With Halloween coming up, you just knew someone was going to have a monster game.
Arlington’s Michael Tsoukalas terrorized Shorewood Friday night like a Frankenstein.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore linebacker-wide receiver frightened Thunderbird quarterback David Snell all night long, chasing him around the backfield as part of the Eagles sack attack.
He also played a major role in stopping their running game.
And on offense he caught some long bombs from Eagle quarterback Anthony Whitis, the last one that put the game out of reach with 11:04 left in the game at 41-17.
The Eagles move on to host Bethel at 7 p.m. Friday in a winner-to-state game.
“We know they have some D-I guys, and they play in a really tough league,” Dailer said of Bethel. “They’re really tough, but we’re excited about the opportunity to get a home playoff game and be in front of the Arlington fans.”
Whitis tossed four TD passes, two to Griffin Gardoski, as Arlington claimed the Wesco 3A No. 3 seed with the victory.
The Eagles dominated play for 46 of the 48 minutes, but some freakish plays led to Shorewood scoring 17 unanswered points during that time period in the third quarter to make this scary for the visiting team.
Trailing 27-0, Shorewood scored on a field goal with 6:11 left in the third. Eagle penalties aided that drive.
Then the Thunderbirds scored on a short run with 5:30 left, after Whitis fumbled on the 7-yard line while being chased by the Shorewood pass rush.
Shorewood scored again at the 4:32 mark on another short run after Arlington fumbled on the kickoff to make it 27-17.
Whitis then tossed an interception at the 3:56 mark, and the Eagles had to wonder when their misfortunes would end. The defense needed to come up with a big play, and it did.
With 17 seconds left in that long third quarter, linebacker Kristain Fairbanks scooped up a Shorewood fumble and returned it about 70 yards for a score to make it 34-17. “The guys just got together on the side line and said, ‘Hey, this is enough,’” Eagles coach Greg Dailer told the Herald. “… When things aren’t going well our guys don’t get down. They respond very well.” Arlington moved the ball almost at will in the first half, taking the 27-0 lead. It could have been even more, but the horn blew, and Arlington’s last drive ended at the 2-yard line.
Eagle receiver Joey Stretch started the scoring with a short pass from Whitis. The two also combined on the extra point to make it 8-0. A long bomb from Whitis to Dylan Simmons set up the score. Being chased, Whitis threw the pass up for grabs, Simmons, at 6-foot-2, outjumped the Thunderbird defensive back for the catch.
Stretch got open across the middle on another catch and ran it close to the goal line. Whitis connected with Griffin Gardoski from there to mount the scored to 15-0 after the kick.
Then linebacker Joseph Schmidt came up with an interception. After a bomb to Tsoukalas, Whitis and Gardoski connected again to make it 21-0 with 8:56 left.
Later, the Arlington defensive line sacked Hammer twice back to Shorewood’s own 7-yard line. Arlington scored after a good punt return set them up 15 yards away. The extra point pass was intercepted, so the score was 27-0 with 5:32 left in the half.
Whitis had another bomb intercepted, but Shorewood couldn’t move the ball, with a sack by Tsouokalas being the big defensive play.
After another long pass, Whitis hit Gardoski, who ran it all the way down to the 2-yard-line with 2 seconds left. But the horn sounded before the Eagles could score again.