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Arlington stays perfect in overtime thriller
ARLINGTON — The Jackson running game gave Arlington it’s toughest test yet in the young season, but junior quarterback Jake Parduhn helped lead the Eagles back from eight points down to stay perfect with a 28-22 overtime win.
A clumsily executed fake punt in the fourth quarter gave Jackson possession of the ball and allowed the Timberwolves to extend their lead from 15-14 to 22-14 on a 35-yard touchdown run by running back Taylor Cox.
With 10 minutes left, Arlington began to drive toward the Jackson end zone with a touchdown on their minds. Instead, Parduhn was picked off by Cox on a long pass intended for Dylan Lindberg.
“There was a point when I thought, ‘I hope I didn’t lose this for us with a bad call on the fake punt,’” said Arlington coach Greg Dailer after the Sept. 19 game.
But nobody on the Arlington sideline was ready to give up.
“We worked too hard and came so far in the offseason to lose this game,” explained Parduhn.
The Arlington defense held on, holding Jackson to fourth and inches and forcing the Timberwolves to punt. The Eagles took over on their own 34-yard line with four and a half minutes to put eight points on the board.
A 30-yard pass to wide receiver Jon Shell gave Arlington a first down in Jackson territory. The Eagles struggled to gain yards on the ground and, on third and eight, Parduhn missed when he was looking in the end zone for wide receiver Connor Varnell, who had scored two touchdowns earlier in the game.
So in classic football drama, the game came down to one play.
“Everyone knew we had to win that game,” Shell said afterward.
Shell got the call. Parduhn rolled out to the right and passed across the field to Shell who caught the pass for 26 yards and another Eagle first down. The touchdown came on a 2-yard quarterback keeper with a minute and a half left in the game.
A two-point conversion would give Arlington the tie and force overtime.
Parduhn went through the air to team co-captain and running back Sherman Pruitt, who delivered on the play.
Jackson got the first possession in overtime, starting at the Arlington 25-yard line. The Eagle defense held Jackson to fourth and two at the 17-yard line, forcing Jackson to attempt a field goal for the win.
The kick went wide.
Taking over at the Jackson 25, Arlington gained a couple of yards on the ground. On third and eight, Parduhn connected with Lindberg for the game-winning touchdown.
“Everyone that stepped on the field gave it their all,” Dailer said.
At John C. Larson Stadium
Jackson 0 9 6 7 0 22
Arlington 7 0 7 8 6 28