After advancing to the state playoffs the last three straight years – the first three state appearances in school history – the Squalicum football team knew it needed a perfect Storm – if you will –to get back.
First step was a win Thursday night against Arlington.
Unfortunately for the Storm, many of the problems that plagued the team this year – difficulties on defense and mistakes at crucial points in the game – ended up costing it in a 38-35 3A Wesco North loss that officially ended Squalicum’s postseason dreams.
With the win, the Eagles (6-3, 4-2 3A Wesco North) wrapped up the division’s third seed to next week’s district playoffs, while Stanwood will claim the fourth and final berth.
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After spotting the Eagles the game’s first 19 points, Squalicum scratched and clawed its way back into the game and even took a 28-25 lead on Spencer Lloyd’s 3-yard TD run with 6:29 left in the third quarter.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Cade Younger raced 90 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles back up on top 32-28. Arlington added to the advantage early in the fourth with a 3-yard run from Anthony Whitis. The play was set up Payton Bastien’s 43-yard fumble scoop and return – his second fumble recovery of the night.
But the Storm (5-4, 2-4) refused to go away quietly, cutting the deficit to a field goal with Lloyd’s second 3-yard run up the middle with 5:52 remaining.
Arlington made sure that was as close as Squalicum would get, milking the rest of the clock with a 12-play drive aided by a crucial personal foul penalty against the Storm.
Arlington scored the game’s first 19 points on its first three drives, as Whitis carved up the Squalicum secondary for 182 yards in the first quarter, including touchdown throws of 8 yards to Jacob Hubbard and 30 and 37 yards to Campbell Hudson.
But the Storm got back in the game with a pair of touchdowns in 1:46, as Triston Smith ran it in from 7 yards out and, after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Ja’Lique Martin kept if for a 2-yard TD.
The Squalicum defense also showed signs of life in the second quarter, stopping an Arlington drive at its own 2, thanks in part to back-to-back incompletions on jump passes into the end zone by Eagle running backs on third and fourth down, to keep the halftime score 19-14.
Stars of the game
Whitis had a big night throwing the ball, as he used five different receivers to pass for 378 yards and four touchdowns. Hubbard had five catches for 95 yards and two TDs, while Hudson grabbed eight passes for 147 yards and a pair of scores.
Squalicum’s 1-2 running punch once again put up big numbers, as Lloyd finished with 139 yards and two TDs and Smith rushed for 122 as two scores. Martin passed for 131 yards, rushed for 46 and caught a 29-yard pass.