ARLINGTON — The Stilly Cup is staying with Arlington.
Anthony Whitis passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns, and the Arlington Eagles retained the Stilly Cup for the ninth straight year as they defeated the Stanwood Spartans 21-13 on Friday night at Arlington High School.
Arlington (1-1 Wesco 3A North, 2-1 overall) came into the night with an eight-game winning streak against its archrival. The Spartans (0-2, 0-3) gave the Eagles a game for the third straight year — last year Arlington needed a blocked field goal on the game’s final play to survive 28-27 — but didn’t have enough to end the streak.
Stanwood pulled within one score with 4 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the game when Paul Holm’s 1-yard quarterback sneak got the Spartans within eight. However, on the ensuing possession Arlington made two huge conversions — a 27-yard completion from Whitis to Michael Tsonkalas on third-and-6, a 16-yard completion from Whitis to Brayden Whetstone on fourth-and-10 — to run out the clock.
Arlington outgained Stanwood 395-192 in the game, but the Spartans intercepted three passes to keep themselves in the game.
After the game, when Arlington athletic director Tom Roys was presenting the Stilly Cup to the Eagles, he mentioned that five entire classes have now gone through Stanwood without winning the Stilly Cup their entire tenure in school. Arlington will go for a decade of dominance next year.
This game also keeps Arlington in the conversation in the Wesco 3A North. By rebounding from their 42-21 loss to Squalicum last week the Eagles remain on track early in the season for at least contending for a postseason berth.
Midway through the third quarter a Stanwood punt bounced out of bounds at the 1-yard line, pinning the Eagles as deep in their own territory as possible. However, Arlington proceeded to embark on a 12-yard, 99-yard drive that was finished off when Whitis hit Dylan Simmons in stride down the right sideline for a 35-yard touchdown that made it 21-7. That proved too big a deficit for the Spartans to overcome.
Anthony Whitis, Arlington. The senior quarterback made things happen in the pass game, going 21-for-29 for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He also kept plays alive with his feet, best displayed on the fourth-down conversion on the final drive in which he scampered around the backfield before flipping the ball to Whetstone for the conversion.
Joey Stretch, Arlington. The senior wide receiver caught five balls for 61 yards and a touchdown that covered 41 yards. But he was one of several receivers who made an impact for Arlington as Whitis spread the ball around well.
Paul Holm, Stanwood. The senior quarterback was 7-for-14 for 82 yards passing, plus he carried the ball 15 times for 34 yards and two scores.
Jeremy Anderson, Michael Newsom, Josh Fey, Stanwood. The defensive backs each came up with an interception as the turnovers were a big reason why the Spartans stayed in the contest.
Arlington needed this win as the Eagles have a tough test next Friday when they host Ferndale. Ferndale may be just 1-2, but the Golden Eagles’ losses came to Lake Stevens and Lynden, teams that are ranked in the top 10 in the state in other classifications.
Stanwood has perhaps an even tougher test as the Spartans play host to Wesco 3A North favorite Oak Harbor next Friday.