MARYSVILLE — For one half the Arlington High School football team struggled to contain Marysville Getchell quarterback Carter Schmidt and the Chargers’ run-heavy option offense.
Schmidt ran wild to the tune of 144 yards and two touchdowns in the first half while Getchell dominated possession of the ball, running 32 offensive plays to just 16 by the Eagles on the way to a 14-7 lead.
But Arlington clamped down defensively in the second half, containing Schmidt to just 28 yards over the final two quarters, and the offense did just enough to push the Eagles over the top.
Spencer Fischer scored two touchdowns, Jacoby Falor connected with Neil Carroll for the go-ahead score in the third quarter and Arlington’s defense pitched a shutout in the second half of a 21-14 victory over Getchell in the Wesco 3A North opener for both squads Friday night at Quil Ceda Stadium.
“I just love the fight in this team,” two-way senior lineman Wyatt Tilton said. “I’m just so proud of these guys. They never give up.”
It was the second straight week the Eagles (2-0, 1-0 league) found themselves trailing 14-7 early on but were able to shut down their opponent the rest of the way. Last week Arlington did it against Kamiak in a 28-14 win.
The key to this Friday’s turnaround by the defense started with being more disciplined against Getchell’s option runs.
“That was a problem in the first half,” Arlington coach Greg Dailer said. “… Then, we just got tougher. They were kicking our butts up front and we told our dudes, ‘You better get after it or it’s going to be a long night.’ And they did.”
It showed in the stat sheet. The Eagles allowed 193 yards in the first half — all on the ground — compared to just 66 second.
“I was really impressed with the way Getchell prepared for us. They were ready to go,” Dailer said. “I was super excited about how we responded in the second half. … We’re just a super young team, but their potential is huge. We just gotta keep getting better every week.”
The momentum started to swing the Eagles’ way on their opening drive of the second half. Arlington marched down the field, with the help of a defensive holding call on a third-and-9 play, for an 8-play, 68-yard drive that junior Fischer finished off with a 23-yard TD run.
The Eagles then forced a punt for key stop that set up the winning drive.
Just two plays after Getchell (0-2, 0-1) dropped a would-be interception, Carroll found a soft spot in the Chargers’ zone coverage and Falor delivered a strike for a 46-yard catch-and-run and a 21-14 lead.
“It’s nice when we’re able to get some quick stops and get the ball back and get a little more rhythm (on offense),” Dailer said.
Getchell had two solid chances to even the score after.
The Chargers drove down inside the Arlington 25-yard line midway through the fourth but fumbled a snap. Junior linebacker Nolan Welch-Downing recovered to give the ball back to the Eagles.
After a three-and-out and a short punt, Getchell took back over on its own 45. Schmidt picked up a pair of first downs, but the Chargers found themselves facing third-and-20 from the Arlington 42 after a holding call. Getchell dialed up a trick play with a reverse pass by a receiver, but the throw was just out of the reach of the intended target. The Eagles followed with a sack on fourth down that sealed the game.
“I’m absolutely pleased by our performance tonight,” Getchell coach Davis Lura said. “This is year 11 for me and this is the hardest-fighting Charger team that we’ve ever had. … I’m excited for next week’s game because, if we build on what we did tonight, good things are gonna happen.”
Falor completed 7 of 14 passes for 113 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He chipped another 51 yards on 11 carries. Fischer posted a team-best 56 yards on seven carries and added an 8-yard TD reception. Six different Arlington receivers caught at least one pass.
Schmidt finished with 172 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries in a gutty performance. He also had an interception and was in on a number of tackles on defense.
“He played his heart out,” Lura said. “Usually you don’t have your quarterback being a free safety and on the special teams, but he’s such a dynamic player. … He made a lot of reads and a lot of checks tonight and did a great job as the heart of our offense.”
The Chargers were seeking just their second victory over Arlington in eight matchups. Early on, Getchell appeared to be up for the task.
Schmidt got loose for a 50-yard TD run on the fifth play from scrimmage for a 6-0 Chargers advantage less than four minutes in.
Arlington answered back on Falor’s 8-yard connection with Fischer for a 7-6 lead but gave the lead right back.
Getchell embarked on a 13-play, 69-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. Schmidt finished it off by plowing through a pair of defenders on his way to a 10-yard touchdown, and the Chargers converted a 2-point play to go up 14-7 early in the second quarter.
But the Eagles clawed their way back after and kept Getchell out of the end zone on its final five possessions.
“It’s big,” Tilton said of winning the team’s league opener. “It shows that we’re actually here and we’re coming to get you guys. We’re coming for everybody.”