SNOHOMISH — Needing a scoring drive to preserve Snohomish’s season, quarterback Brandon Jodock and the Panthers’ offense came up clutch.
In a game that produced six second-half lead changes, 68 yards stood between Snohomish and a Class 3A District Playoff berth with three minutes to play, and the Panthers refused to be denied at least one more week of football.
Snohomish engineered a 13-play, 68-yard touchdown drive in 2 minutes, 41 seconds and converted two fourth downs along the way before standout back Keegan Stich scored from 3 yards out with 0:25 remaining.
Arlington didn’t threaten in the final seconds, and Snohomish earned a thrilling, back-and-forth 37-33 3A District Playoff Play-in game Tuesday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The win sets the Panthers (7-3) up with a winner-to-state game against 3A power O’Dea this weekend.
Arlington (3-7) ended its season despite a gritty effort.
Jodock flashed his dual-threat ability, gaining 164 rush yards and scoring two TDs on 25 carries while throwing for 160. Stich finished with 184 rush yards and three touchdowns on 34 attempts.
Arlington, which only ran the ball 11 times, was led by sophomore quarterback Anthony Whitis, who completed 24-of-40 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns.
Snohomish dominated first-half possession, using its ground game to wear down Arlington’s defense and the clock. Snohomish ran 55 plays to Arlington’s 14, but the Panthers’ inability to capitalize in the red zone wasted a pair of promising Snohomish drives.
Still, the Panthers held a 14-12 halftime lead, thanks in large part to the rushing duo of Stich and Jodock. Stich had 103 first-half rushing yards and scored on a 27-yard run that gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead 35 seconds into the game. A 1-yard TD plunge from Jodock gave the Panthers their second score, with 2:26 left in the first quarter.
Both of Arlington’s touchdowns came off big plays. Whitis connected with wide receiver Griffin Gardoski for a 54-yard touchdown three plays after Stich’s TD run.
Arlington quickly answered the Panthers’ second score, too. Following Jodock’s touchdown, Eagles sophomore Tallen Williams picked up a Snohomish squib-kick and ran it back 78 yards for a touchdown that cut Snohomish’s lead to 14-12 after a failed two-point conversion with 2:12 to play in the first quarter.
Snohomish missed a 27-yard second-quarter field goal, and facing a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line with 10 seconds to play in the half, a Panthers rushing attempt was stuffed at the goaline, and the clock ran out before Snohomish could get off another play.
Snohomish and Arlington exchanged counter punches throughout the second the half, answering each other’s score time-and-time again.
A 5-yard TD pass from Whitis to Campbell Hudson gave Arlington’s its first lead, 20-14, with 5:23 to play in the third, but after a safety and a 4-yard TD run from Stich, Snohomish went back in front 23-20.
A 5-yard touchdown run from Williams off an option pitch put the Eagles in command 26-23 with 11:12 to play in the fourth before Jodock scored his second TD — an 8-yard scamper than gave the Panthers a 30-26 advantage with 7:36 to play.
Arlington had one more response left.
Dylan Simmons capped of an Eagles 11-play drive with a 12-yard touchdown reception from Whitis. The score gave Arlington a 33-30 lead with 3:14 to go, setting up Snohomish’s clutch game-winning drive.