Wildcats keep hope alive

It was a tough task, but the Oak Harbor football team was certainly up for the challenge on Friday night.

Facing the surprise team of the WesCo North, Arlington (5-1, 6-1), the Wildcats accomplished a feat failed by four other quality teams this season. OHHS entered the Eagles’ stadium and for the first time, handed the home team a loss, 20-14.

More importantly, the win kept Oak Harbor’s chances at one of the three district playoff berths a realistic vision.

“It was a must-win and we went out and played that way,” OHHS head coach Dave Ward said.

The Wildcats wasted no time showing they meant business on Friday, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

After recovering a fumble on the Eagles’ first drive of the game, Oak Harbor marched 41 yards on nine plays before junior running back Gabe Vest broke into the end zone for a 3-yard score.

The Wildcats took advantage of another Arlington fumble in the second quarter after James Blunk recovered at the 40-yard line. On the ensuing OHHS possession, Blunk caught a 43-yard pass to the Arlington 1-yard line. Senior running back Dan Raymond punctuated the drive on the next play, scoring on a 1-yard dive.

Arlington tied the game in the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Taylor Brown, but Oak Harbor didn’t’ give in.

With less than two minutes to play, sophomore quarterback Marshall Lobbestael connected with senior tight end Dallas Sullivan on a 21-yard touchdown pass to the end zone.

The Wildcats held the Eagles off on their next drive, gathering two key sacks in the final 30 seconds. OHHS had six sacks for the game.

Oak Harbor (5-2, 5-3) hosts first-place Marysville-Pilchuck (6-1, 7-1) at 7 p.m., this Friday, Oct. 29 at Memorial Stadium in the final regular season game for both teams. A win and Oak Harbor will be involved in some sort of post-season play, a loss would require losses by Arlington and Snohomish to stay alive.

“It’s kind of exciting to have it come down to the final game of the season,” Ward said.

Among the many possibilities, there is potential for a five-way tie for first place if Oak Harbor, Snohomish and Arlington all win. As of press time Tuesday, OHHS athletic director Bob Smithson said a format to decide this particular tiebreaker situation was yet to be determined.

According to Ward, a playoff would likely take place Saturday, Oct. 30 between the tied schools. The playoff would resemble an overtime period with teams each getting a chance to score from the opponent’s 30-yard line until one fails. Oak Harbor won a coin flip before the season started that would earn them a first-round bye under this circumstance.

Oak Harbor 20, Arlington 14

Oak Harbor 7 7 0 6—20

Arlington 0 7 0 7—14

Scoring—Oak Harbor: Vest 3 yard run (Fakkema kick). Oak Harbor: Raymond 1 yard run (Fakkema kick). Arlington: Payne 7 yard run (Tilton kick). Arlington: Brown 4 yard run (Tilton kick). Oak Harbor: Sullivan 21 yard pass from Lobbestael (kick blocked).

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