By Daniel McCrosky
It might have been a lost weekend for the Arlington Tigers, but their head football coach Chris Wiley is confident that the season is not.
Last Friday night’s game between the Tigers and Briarcrest Saints took two days to play because of a light malfunction that halted play in the first quarter.
So when the game resumed Saturday afternoon at Arlington High School and the Saints holding on to an early 14-0 lead, Wiley didn’t think it could it any worst.
First his quarterback, Division 1-prospect Drew Reed, was hurt with a broken collar bone and will miss the rest of the season and then his Tigers got into a 31-0 hold that they couldn’t dig themselves out of despite a gallant effort from junior quarterback Hunter Sheffield as Arlington dropped a non district game 41-27.
“It was a tough weekend but the season is not over by a long shot,” Wiley said. “If you look at the game, we were tied with them during Saturday’s play. We just got too far behind.
“Losing Drew hurts not only because he is talented but what extras he brings to the team,” Wiley said. “He has started since his sophomore year and he always had the ability to make plays out of nothing. Those are things you can’t coach.
“Hunter did a great job directing our offense,” Wiley said referring to the strong-armed junior who threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns to senior Justin Boring, who now has 10 touchdown catches on the year. “Hunter could start for over 80 per cent of the teams in the state. Hunter and Drew are two different types of quarterback who can run this offense but we as coaches have to change it up just a little bit to Hunter’s strengths.”
Heading into the third quarter trailing 31-0, Boring got the Tigers on the board with an eight-yard touchdown strike to Kody Flagg. Junior running back Brance Draine then bulled his way over from three yards out and after Stephan Simpson drilled both PATs, suddenly it was a game at 31-14.
But the Saints, now 6-0 on the year, score late in the third to put the game away. Sheffield closed out the scoring with a one-yard touchdown pass and a 68-yard strike to Boring in the final frame.
“That long pass Hunter threw to Justin was in stride,” Wiley said. “We have confidence in Hunter but we do have an important game Friday night against Craigmont.”
Both Arlington and Craigmont are tied with the Millington Trojans for first in the District 14-AAA lead as all three teams are currently 2-0. The Tigers will go to Raleight-Egypt and take on the Chief with kickoff set for 7pm.
“Typical Craigmont team. Big and athletic,” Wiley said. “It’s going to be a good game. Nothing has changed. Our goal is to win the District and then make it to the state championship game. We still can do that.”