Arlington junior wideout Kaid Hunter reaches out and makes a basket catch on a deep ball against Ferndale on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Arlington junior wideout Kaid Hunter reaches out and makes a basket catch on a deep ball against Ferndale on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

ARLINGTON — The Arlington Eagles football team kept its dominant early season run in gear on Friday night as the Golden Eagles of Ferndale came to town.

In a big-ticket Wesco 3A North battle between two undefeated squads looking for a leg up in the regular season race, Arlington ran away with a convincing 46-14 win against one of its league rivals.

The Eagles (4-0, 3-0) only needed 19 snaps to produce five first-half touchdowns as they put forth a true two-way effort in the victory.

Ferndale (3-1, 1-1) was coming off a gutsy 20-14 win over Glacier Peak in Week 3, as well as a 17-14 victory in Week 1 over defending 2A state champion Lynden. Last fall, the Golden Eagles bagged a 27-24 win over Arlington.

“I think what I like the most is how we prepared during the week and how we practiced during the week,” Arlington head coach Greg Dailer said. “I almost felt like tonight was going to happen just because we prepared so well.”

Junior Leyton Martin had another impressive showing in the quarterback slot, dealing out 264 yards through the air with four TDs on 14-for-20 passing, while junior wide receiver Jake Willis was responsible for three of the touchdown grabs.

After Talan Bungard capped off a 15-play, nearly 7-minute opening Ferndale drive with a 1-yard TD, Arlington didn’t waste any time getting back in the mix.

The Eagles had a 35-yard touchdown catch from Willis called back on a holding penalty on their first drive, forcing an eventual third-and-20 for Martin and his offense. A 41-yard toss to senior Jacoby Falor on the right sideline set up a first-and-goal.

Senior tailback Caleb Reed (10 carries, 73 yards, 2 TDs) finished off Arlington’s initial drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, and junior Bookie Cramer tacked the two-point conversion with 2:24 left in the first period, making it 8-7.

Willis caught four balls for 98 yards, none bigger than 49-yard score at the 4:41 mark in the second quarter to put the Eagles up 29-7.

A 19-yard TD reception from senior Stevie Balderas (4 catches, 56 yards) with 2:04 left before half put Arlington firmly in command with a 36-7 lead as the Eagles would cruise the rest of the way.

“We knew what we needed to do ever since we lost to them last year,” Willis said. “We had signs up: Unfinished business, we knew what Ferndale had to offer (and) we knew we had to prepare well. We just rose up to the occasion and we finished hard, it was a great win for us, and we’re proud of it.”

Ferndale, which came in as the third-ranked 3A team in the state in the latest Washington Interscholastic Activities Association RPI rankings, couldn’t get its option-heavy offense to stick as the Golden Eagles mustered just 3.6 yards per carry on the night.

Arlington snuffed out the edges on the defensive side of the ball, forcing Ferndale into a bevy of third-and-long situations.

“We worked really hard all week with our outside linebackers with some different techniques to avoid blocks and make plays for us,” Dailer said. “And they played awesome, especially in the first half. Both Boogie Cramer and Chase Deberry just did an awesome job out there for us.”

With league matchups against Stanwood (3-1, 2-1) and Marysville Pilchuck (4-0, 3-0) in the each of the coming weeks, the Eagles face arguably their toughest stretch of opponents thus far.

“It just gets harder for us each week from here,” Dailer said. “We got Stanwood, Pilchuck. .. Both those games are gonna be really tough battles. So, we just gotta keep preparing, stay healthy and stay humble.”

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