Arlington takes Craigmont

By Daniel McCrosky

Arlington head football coach Christ Wiley has always known that junior quarterback Hunter Sheffield has a powerful right arm. Able to make all the various throws in the complex Tiger aerial attack.
What Wiley didn’t know is how he would respond in a varsity situation when things went wrong. Last Friday night Wiley found out that not only does Sheffield have the physical tools to run the offense but he also has the mental tools to dig deep when things don’t go right.
During last Friday night’s District 14-AAA game against Craigmont at Raleigh-Egypt High School, Sheffield went back to pass on his first series as starting quarterback and has his initial throw picked off.
And for the first two quarters everything seemed to be going the Chiefs way as Craigmont built a 20-14 lead with the Tigers’ offense only producing an 11-yard run by junior Brance Draine. The other score came on a 40-yard interception return by Joseph Stevenson.
“We came out a little flat again in the first half,” Wiley said. “Our defense played well all game long and in the second half we played better offensively and Hunter did a great job.”
Sheffield connected on two scoring passes in the second half to lead the now 5-2 Tigers to a 35-27 win over Craigmont. More importantly, it kept Arlington’s district record a perfect 3-0 and tied with the Millington Trojans, who also is unbeaten in district play.
Down 20-14 heading in the third quarter, Sheffield took little time in getting the Tiger the lead as he hit all-everything position player Justin Boring with a 40-yard scoring strike. Stephan Simpson was true on his PAT and Arlington had the lead for good at 21-20.
The Tigers kept the pressure on in the final frame as senior running back Kody Flagg went over from one-yard out to make it 28-20. Sheffield, who threw 141 yards, finished the scoring spree when he found senior wide out Omari Hampton for a 16-yard touchdown strike.
Now the Tigers will take on a talented St. Benedict team and Auburn Tiger commitment Jordan Wilkens. Kickoff is set for 7 pm at Arlington High School.
“St. Benedict is a very good team,” Wiley said. “Wilkens is a talented player but he isn’t the only player they have. What we need to do is not come out flat and put together four good quarters. It should be a great test for us.”