Glacier Peak wins OT thriller, 52-51

SNOHOMISH — If the first game of the season is any indication, the Glacier Peak Grizzlies high-powered offense is poised to break a few records.

Glacier Peak battled point-for-point with a feisty Arlington squad and came out on top 52-51 in overtime in the season-opening contest for both teams Friday night at Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Arlington (0-1) and Glacier Peak (1-0) erased each other’s leads throughout a second half chocked-full of touchdowns. The teams combined to score 103 points in the contest.

Glacier Peak placekicker Jackson Miller nailed a 26-yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime.

In the extra period, Arlington scored first on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Andy Smith to Conner Varnell, but the point-after attempt was blocked.

Varnell, in the starting lineup after having off-season spinal surgery, grabbed four touchdown passes for the Eagles.

After a false start penalty to begin it’s overtime drive, Glacier Peak benefited from a pass interference call in the end zone, which set up an Alex Stepanchenko 6-yard run and the game-tying 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Richter to Tommy Rollins.

Jackson’s extra-point attempt was true and the Grizzlies sideline erupted in celebration.

“It was a barn-burner,” Glacier Peak head coach Rory Rosenbach said. “I did not expect it to be 52-51 in overtime, but we knew it would be a close game.”

Glacier Peak’s 6-foot-2 senior quarterback Richter passed for four touchdowns and ran for another and Rollins, a senior wide receiver, hauled in three touchdown receptions.

The Grizzlies kept the pace fast, even when they trailed by three points (38-35) with 4:46 remaining in the game.

“When you’re rolling, you’re rolling,” Rosenbach said.

Rolling, indeed.

On the next offensive possession after Arlington took a 38-35 lead, Glacier Peak sprinted down the field with a four-play, 93-yard drive that ate up a mere 41-seconds and included a magnificent diving catch by Luke Westburg on a 32-yard pass from Richter.

“There were so many plays in the game that won-or-lost the game,” Arlington head coach Greg Dailer said. “It became quite the track meet and we both adjusted well at halftime.”

Marcus Heard ignited Glacier Peak in the first quarter with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.

On Arlington’s first offensive drive, Heard jumped a passing route with 9:19 remaining in the quarter and took the ball untouched into the end zone to give the Grizzlies an early 7-0 lead.

The Grizzlies built a 21-3 lead with 2:25 to go in the first quarter when Richter ran a naked-bootleg to the right side for a 22-yard touchdown.

Arlington struck back with 14 unanswered points as its defense forced a fumble and intercepted Richter late in the first half.

“It’s tough to judge our defense based on tonight because (Glacier Peak) is a pretty prolific offense,” Dailer said. “I’m excited, I wanted to see how we would compete tonight and we competed pretty well.”

Eagles quarterback Andy Smith lead the first-half comeback by completing 14 of 21 passes for 152 yards in the half. Smith completed eight consecutive passes, including two for 33 and 34 yards, respectively, during the first half.

“The best thing for me with Andy was how well he recovered from throwing the pick for a touchdown,” Dailer said. “Sometimes that’ll be it for a guy, but he has that mentality where he forgot about it and he had a great night.”

Arlington was hurt by a large number of false start penalties on the offensive side, something Dailer said would be fixed in future practices.

At Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium

Arlington1077216—51

Glacier Peak2107177—52

Glacier Peak—Marcus Heard 45 interception return (Jackson Miller PAT good)

Arlington—Brandon Pierce FG 29

Glacier Peak—Zach Richter 9 pass to Tommy Rollins (Miller PAT good)

Glacier Peak—Richter 22 run (Miller PAT good)

Arlington—Riley Cobb 3 run (Pierce PAT good)

Arlington—Andy Smith 5 pass to Griffin Ginnis (Pierce PAT good)

Glacier Peak—Richter 19 pass to Southard (Miller PAT good)

Arlington—Smith 13 pass to Conner Varnell (Pierce PAT good)

Arlington—Smith 12 pass to Varnell (Pierce PAT good)

Glacier Peak—Alex Stepanchenko 15 run (Miller PAT good)

Arlington—Smith 2 pass to Ginnis (Pierce PAT good)

Glacier Peak—Richter 14 pass to Rollins (Miller PAT good)

Arlington—Smith 7 pass to Varnell (Pierce PAT good)

Glacier Peak—FG Miller 26

Arlington—Smith 19 pass to Varnell (PAT blocked)

Glacier Peak—Richter 1 pass to Rollins (Miller PAT good)

Records—Arlington 0-1 overall. Glacier Peak 1-0.

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