The Eagles, who came into the game 4-5 and had to win last week just to reach the playoffs, knocked out the previously unbeaten Conquerors.
KENT — Skylor Elgarico believed. Austin Wells kept the faith.
Most thought the Arlington football team’s Class 4A round-of-32 playoff matchup with sixth-ranked Kentwood was a mismatch.
Everyone but the Eagles.
Elgarico piled up 313 yards of total offense, including 202 passing with three touchdowns as Arlington turned back Kentwood 21-14 Friday night at French Field.
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Wells caught a pair of TD passes and secured an interception as the Eagles (5-5) got an upset win for the second week in a row. Arlington beat Mariner 36-21 last week to reach the postseason.
“I’m pretty sure we were definitely the only ones in the state who believed,” said Elgarico, an all-league receiver who was moved to quarterback in Game 3 this season.
“Once we got on that roll, we just kept going. We feed off our successes.”
Arlington plays at third-ranked Camas (10-0) in the first round of the state playoffs next weekend.
The run-oriented Conquerors (9-1), the SPSL North champions, were limited to just 40 yards rushing and 277 total yards. Leading rusher Chansen Kalua-Fuimaono of Kentwood was limited to 41 yards on 14 carries.
Arlington had 399 total yards, including 197 on the ground. Elgarico rushed 21 times for 111 yards.
The Eagles last reached state in 2010 and qualified for just the second time in eight years.
“Coaches all week were saying, we’ve got to believe it,” said Wells, whose TD catches both covered 21 yards. “We had to shut down their run, because they were 70 percent run.
“There’s going to be a lot of people seeing the score and saying, ‘No way.’ Feels great to be the underdog, picked to lose and showing them they were wrong. It’s awesome.”
The Eagles went in front 21-14 by driving 64 yards with opening possession of the second half, capping it with the second 21-yard TD pass from Elgarico to Wells.
Kentwood had tied the score at 14-14 as Dane Hernandez-Manio threw to wide receiver Jackson Huerta, who turned a 20-yard pass into a 38-yard touchdown with 1:14 left before the halftime break. Huerta then lined up in the Wildcat and took the direct snap around right end for a successful two-point conversion.
Kentwood missed out on securing its third consecutive trip to state and fourth in five years. The Conks won state titles in 2001 and 2002.