Stanwood’s Elias Caniglia is tackled by Arlington’s Jake Willis during the game on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Stanwood’s Elias Caniglia is tackled by Arlington’s Jake Willis during the game on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Arlington reclaims Stilly Cup after short hiatus, routs Stanwood 42-7

Leyton Martin registers 277 yards, 4 TDs as Eagles notch fifth straight game with at least six TDs.

STANWOOD — It didn’t take long for the Arlington High School football team to reclaim its usual hold of the annual Stilly Cup.

After dropping last season’s rivalry game 37-6 in their home stadium, the Eagles blew out Stanwood 42-7 on its own turf in the 2023 edition. Arlington hadn’t dropped a Stilly Cup since 2009 prior to last year’s loss.

The Eagles (5-0, 4-0) have shown to be at the top of the ladder in the Wesco 3A North division this season. And, on Friday, they took another step forward.

Arlington’s high-powered spread offense came into the matchup having scored at least six touchdowns in each of its first four contests and matched that number against the Spartans (3-2, 2-2).

Junior quarterback Leyton Martin found his rhythm after the Eagles came up empty in their opening two drives, connecting on 22-of-29 passes for 277 yards and 4 TDs with one interception. He added 30 yards on the ground on seven rushes.

Junior running back Caleb Reed ran in the other two scores, coming up with 43 yards on eight carries.

Stanwood, which registered nine penalties (eight offensive) in the first half, struggled to finish off drives despite being able to move the ball up the field within its Wing-T scheme. The Spartans had 299 yards of total offense leading to just one score and lost three fumbles. Cruise Swanson led the rushing attack with 113 yards on the ground as the Spartans rushed the ball 51 times as group.

After a scoreless first period, Arlington harvested a 21-point second quarter as Martin completed touchdown throws from 9, 5, and 7 yards out. Junior Jake Willis, who grabbed three TDs in a Week 4 win over Ferndale, came up with a game-high 117 yards receiving on six receptions and was responsible for two TDs. Senior Stevie Balderas had eight catches for 70 yards and one score and senior Jacoby Falor added a touchdown.

Stanwood wouldn’t get its lone score until the tail end of the third quarter, as 6-foot-5 wideout Eli Caniglia caught a 9-yard TD from junior signal-caller Luke Brennan (8-for-11, 90 yards). After a failed onside kick, Caniglia would intercept Martin inside the red zone, setting the Spartans up for a chance to pull within two possessions with 11:39 left in the fourth quarter.

After turning it over on downs, the Eagles would cruise the rest of the way.

Arlington can clinch the Wesco 3A North title next Friday against Marysville Pilchuck (4-1, 3-1). The Eagles will enter boasting an average of 45.6 points per game. The Spartans will look to rebound next Friday as they host a non-league bout against Union of Vancouver (1-4).

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