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State of Mind

Arlee Warriors head to state championship game

The triumphant Arlee Warriors are headed to the State Championship game after snapping the semi-final win against the Twin Bridges Falcons, 22-14.

The undefeated Warriors hosted Saturday’s game and Arlee had the sidelines and stands packed with intense fans that loved to watch their boys play.

Fan Kevin Howlett has been going to the Arlee games since 1969. “One of my favorite things about coming to the games is seeing all the fans come together and watching the boys grow up from a young age, to performing on the gridiron,” he said. 

All four teams vying for a bid at state entered the semi-finals without a loss.

“We all have to stay on the same page, work hard on defense, and stay relaxed,” Arlee coach Todd Yocum said before the coin toss, which Arlee won and deferred the ball to the second half.

On the Falcons first drive down the field, Warrior Bradley Brazill stripped the ball, leaving the Falcons with a very long second down. The Warriors were working hard on defense just like Coach Yocum had said they would, but the Falcons scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Chace Guinnane to Tracen Eggers on their first drive down the field, opening the first wound of the game. 

When momentum shifted from a great defensive play to a great offensive play by the Falcons, the teams began their back-and-forth battle throughout the entire contest.

Everything seemed to be clicking for the Warriors on their fourth possession as they marched down the field to the 20-yard line. But when Patrick BigSam threw an interception at the 3-yard line, the Arlee defense seemed furious as they marched out onto the field. They attacked the ball with great tenacity and BigSam, who threw the interception, broke through the Falcons offensive line and tackled the quarterback for a safety in their own end zone, putting the score at 6-2 Falcons. 

That slowed the Falcons down and they were forced to punt when Brazill blocked the punt, giving Arlee the ball on the 3-yard line. BigSam scored on a 3-yard quarterback keeper, giving the Warriors an 8-6 lead.

An astonishing 76-yard kickoff return by Arlee’s Tyler Tanner after halftime planted the Warriors ahead 14-6.

The Falcons had to answer as the energy shifted in the Warriors favor once again. The Falcons score on a 50-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Christensen. The two-point-conversion was good, tying the game at 14-14 as the fourth quarter began. 

With only 7 minutes left in the game, senior Harold Yocum, the coach’s son, picked off Falcon’s quarterback, setting up the winning drive for the Warriors. It only took a minute for BigSam to throw the game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass to senior Isaac Desjarlais. The Warrior’s impeccable defense held the Falcons from scoring and sealed 22-14 win.

Arlee is now headed to the State Championship Game in Chinook.

“All the seniors are very level headed and the more intense the game gets, they play at the same force, no matter the score,” Yocum said. “Twin Bridges is a tough team. I’m super ecstatic that we beat a team that tough, well balanced, with very strong kids. I think that’s what makes the win so special.”

 

Twin Bridges 14, Arlee 22

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Arlee — Passing: Pat Big Sam 5-11-1-42. Rushing: Isaac Desjarlais 16-61, Big Sam 14-7-2 TDs, Tyler Tanner 1-4, Phil Malatare 3-13, Alex Bertollt 5-16, Rylan Crawford 1-3 Total: 40 – 104, 2 TDs. Receiving: Tanner 2-15, Malatare 2-12, Brazill 1-15, Total: 5-42.

Twin Bridges — Passing: Chace Guinnane 3-10-2-90 2 TDs. Rushing: Bill Yeager 22-90, Wesley Harshbarger 14-33, Guinnane 7- (-19), Tracen Eggers 1- (-6) Total: 44 – 98. Receiving: Yeager 1-30, Cooper Christensen 1-39 TD, Tracen Eggers 1-21 TD, Total: 3-90 2 TDs. 

 

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