ARLINGTON — The Arlington High School football team’s high-powered passing attack features plenty of dynamic playmakers.
And on Friday night at John C. Larson Stadium, they were all on display.
Standout senior quarterback Trent Nobach needed just two quarters to rack up six touchdown passes, do-it-all wide receiver Levi Younger had two touchdown receptions and returned a kickoff for a score, and nine different Eagles caught a pass as Arlington (2-0, 1-0 Wesco 3A North) cruised to a dominant 54-0 victory over Oak Harbor (1-1, 0-1) to open conference play.
“That’s the strength of our offense — quarterback and our wide receiving core,” Arlington head coach Greg Dailer said. “Our O-line is really starting to come along. I wish we could run the ball a little better. That’s something we’ve got to keep working on. We’ve gotta be able to run the ball against better teams. But we’re obviously very blessed at wide receiver.”
The Eagles ran for just 23 yards on 12 carries and had a negative rushing total heading into halftime, but it didn’t matter much as the Wildcats had no answers for Nobach and the Eagles’ deep receiving corps.
Arlington scored touchdowns on six of its eight first-half drives, with the defense setting the team up with good field position multiple times after forcing two turnovers and three three-and-outs.
“I think our defense played with a crazy mentality,” Younger said. “Hunter Eastman, Quintin Yon-Wagner, they come to play. Our whole front line and our DBs — Ethan Martin with another pick — I think we’re lockdown.”
The Eagles’ first drive of the night started on Oak Harbor’s 41-yard line and they quickly took advantage of the short field. A defensive pass interference call on the second play of the drive put Arlington at the 20-yard line, and the Eagles dialed up Younger’s number on back-to-back snaps, capped by an 11-yard touchdown on a shovel pass that the shifty senior receiver took around the left edge and into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
Two drives later, Nobach found senior receiver Gage Price up the seam. Price nabbed a well-placed ball from his quarterback and outraced an Oak Harbor defender to the end zone for a 76-yard score at the 5:07 mark of the first quarter to make it 13-0.
The Wildcats’ best scoring opportunity followed, as they marched down the field on a drive aided by a pair of costly Eagles penalties. One a 15-yard unsportmanlike conduct call on a second-and-long play, and the other a pass interference on fourth down. But Arlington’s defense erased those miscues when Martin secured an interception in the end zone.
“We talked about that after the game actually,” Dailer said of the penalties. “Coach (Jay) Silver, our defensive line coach, brought that up. When you play the good teams, really good teams, those penalties will bite you. You can’t make those penalties because those teams are going to score because of that.”
Arlington capitalized on Martin’s interception by orchestrating a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with Younger catching his second touchdown. This time he took a short pass in the middle of the field and quickly burst up the seam for a 24-yard score.
Nobach then started to put on a passing clinic. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback threaded the needle on touchdown passes to senior Luke Brown and Martin, including a perfectly placed back-shoulder fade from 14 yards out to Martin that made it 34-0 with 6:16 left in the second quarter.
It looked like that would be the score going into the half, but Younger made sure that wasn’t the case. He returned a punt 46 yards to the Oak Harbor 15 with just 41 second remaining in the half. Two plays later, senior wide receiver Elisha Jackson leapt over two defenders and hauled in another dime from Nobach for a 21-yard scoring strike with 23 seconds left in the half.
Elisha Jackson makes a nice leaping grab between two defenders for a 21-yard TD just before the half.
Half: Arlington 41, Oak Harbor 0#wafbscores pic.twitter.com/V4VZpbCKAM— Zac Hereth (@ZacHereth) September 11, 2021
“We work on that everyday in practice,” Younger said of tough catches. “We’ve got a lot of weapons on our team, we got a great quarterback, a great line and I think the pieces to win.”
Younger struck again on the opening kickoff of the second half when he sprinted down the right sideline for a 93-yard touchdown.
“He’s just unbelievable,” Dailer said of Younger. “We know the talent we have with him. We just try and get him the ball as many ways as we can. … We’re very blessed at the receiver spot and he’s probably the most talented out of the group.”
Arlington rested most of its starters for the remainder of the game and scored again when senior wide receiver Andrew Bryant took a shuffle pass from backup quarterback Jacoby Falor into the end zone from 10 yards out.
Nobach completed 15-of-20 passes for 251 yards to go along with his six touchdowns. Younger had three catches for 44 yards, Price two for 89, Martin three for 46 yards and Jackson three for 45.
The Eagles head north for a key league battle with Class 3A No. 10 Ferndale at Blaine High School next Friday. Oak Harbor hosts Stanwood.
“We’re gonna practice hard this week,” Nobach said. “We’re gonna watch film tonight, watch film tomorrow and prepare for (Ferndale) and go out and get them.”