EVERETT — In a game of big plays by both teams, Arlington’s last big play from scrimmage was also its best.
With less than two minutes to play, a 42-42 score, and backed up to their own 10-yard line, the Eagles had some decisions to make. Take a knee a few times and play for overtime? Throw some high-percentage short passes and try to manage the clock down the field for perhaps a late field goal?
Nah, why do that when you can score a touchdown in one play?
Dropping back almost into his own end zone, Arlington quarterback Blake McPherson spotted running back Colton Hordyk sprinting free down the middle of the Jackson defense. The pass was perfectly thrown, catching Hordyk in full stride, and he went untouched to the end zone for a 90-yard game-winning TD in Arlington’s 49-42 non-conference football victory Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“What a game!” Eagles coach Greg Dailer said. “We always seem to have great games with Jackson and it always seems to be some sort of last-minute shootout. It’s becoming quite a fun rivalry, and tonight was no disappointment for the crowd.”
“That was a classic football game,” Jackson coach Joel Vincent said. “There were two good football teams out here, and the difference was they made a handful of more plays than we did. But both teams played well, and it was just a great football game.”
With the two teams combining for 91 points and over 800 yards of offense, there were offensive highlights aplenty. But for more than 46 of the game’s 48 minutes, the ledger was evenly balanced between the two squads.
Indeed, overtime seemed likely when Jackson punter Trai Patrick lifted a terrific kick that bounced and rolled to the Arlington 10, where it was downed with 1:43 on the clock.
Dismissing the idea of overtime, the Eagles instead called “3 Right 53,” which put three wide receivers to the right and one to the left. Hordyk would be the inside of the three right receivers, and as he headed for the line of scrimmage he stopped to give his quarterback a message.
“The whole game there was no one in the middle (defending that route), so I said, ‘Blake, look for me over the middle. TD,'” said Hordyk, who grabbed his teammate’s face mask just to make sure he was paying attention.
From the shotgun, McPherson took the center snap and made a pump fake to the right. That drew the Jackson safety to the side and Hordyk scooted into the open seam.
“He’s my go-to receiver,” McPherson said. “He’s probably got the best hands on the team and he’s super fast. … When I threw it, I thought it was over his head, but he sped up and it was right on the money.”
And with Hordyk on his way to the end zone, “I knew they weren’t going to catch him,” he added.
“I didn’t plan on scoring from 90 yards right off the bat, but it worked out,” Dailer said with a laugh. “Blake looked the safety off and put the ball on the money, and Colton did the rest.”
“I knew they weren’t going to take a knee (on the last possession),” Vincent said. “That’s not coach Dailer. … He’s a little bit of a riverboat gambler.”
McPherson was a stellar presence for Arlington, with 33 passing attempts and 22 completions for 401 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed 12 times for 19 yards and two more TDs.
Timberwolves quarterback Sam Brown was nearly as good, going 23-for-44 for 291 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
“We had our opportunities,” Vincent said. “If we make a play here or there, I think maybe we see a different result. But the bottom line is we didn’t make plays when we needed to and we didn’t make tackles when we needed to. They did, and as a result they came out on top.
“My kids played great and (the Eagles) played great,” he added. “But I think now both of us are going to go back and watch film of our defenses, and figure out what the heck we have to do to stop one another.”
At Everett Memorial Stadium
Arlington 15 6 14 14 — 49
Jackson 7 20 8 7 — 42
Arl–Hordyk 27 pass from McPherson (Brummel pass from Hordyk)
Arl–Elgarico 50 pass from McPherson (Hordyk kick)
Jack–Plaisance 25 pass from Brown (pass failed)
Jack–Patrick 4 run (Patrick run)
Jack–Patrick 9 blocked punt return (pass failed)
Arl–Hordyk 8 run (kick failed)
Arl–Hordyk 8 run (Hordyk kick)
Jack–Patrick 8 run (Robinson pass from Brown)
Arl–McPherson 1 run (Hordyk kick)
Jack–Brown 5 run (Hodge kick)
Arl–McPherson 5 run (Hordyk kick)
Arl–Hordyk 90 pass from McPherson (Hordyk kick)
Records–Arlington 2-0 overall. Jackson 1-1.