By TED RADICK
ADA — Ada football coach Shawn Christopher took a calculated risk Friday night.
With his team down 12-0 in the second quarter and facing fourth-and-4 at the Ada 39-yard line, Chistopher elected to go for the first down.
Arlington’s Tyson Speyer sacked Ada quarterback Brandon Hull, the Red Devils scored on a 32-yard pass play on the next down to build a three-score lead and Arlington rolled to a 37-6 nonconference victory at War Memorial Stadium.
Arlington improved to 2-0 while Ada dropped to 1-1.
“I gambled, and it didn’t work,” Christopher said. “That happens sometimes. I thought we needed a shot in the arm a little bit at that moment. I gambled a little bit, and they made a play.
“On the next play, they made a play again on a jump ball in the end zone. Their kid got the ball over two of our kids. We had trouble with him last year, and I’m glad he’s a senior and we won’t have to see him anymore.”
Arlington’s Ivan Berry leaped up and caught a pass from Jacob Russell to give the Red Devils an 18-0 lead with 8:19 left to halftime. Russell and Berry hooked up on a 13-yard TD pass later in the second quarter to send Arlington to the locker room up 25-0.
“Those are big momentum plays,” Arlington coach Josh McGrain said. “We preach that all the time, try to win the third and fourth downs on defense to get off the field.
“That was big. With their pace and their tempo, they’re never out of it and you as a defense never feel comfortable.”
Russell finished 13 of 14 passing for 196 yards.
“That’s a surprising stat to me. I had no idea about that stat,” Russell said.
Russell and Berry, who had six catches for 89 yards, have the sort of chemistry that only experienced seniors can develop.
“With Ivan, we’ve had a connection since hi freshman year,” Russell said. “If he has someone shorter on him, I’m going to throw it up the ladder and let him have a chance to catch it. He usually helps me out and makes a play. It’s great to have those guys making you look good.”
Russell said the Red Devils wanted to strike quickly after Speyer’s fourth-down stop.
“It was a great stop by our defense, first of all,” Russell said. “Our defense was great tonight, they made our offense better. Like I said, Ivan and I have that connection. If he’s got a smaller guy covering him, he just gives me that look. And, we know.”
Ada scored on a 19-yard Hull run in the third quarter. Arlington answered right back with an 82-yard kickoff return touchdown from Carter Essinger.
The Bulldogs had just 10 first downs, 111 passing yards and 201 yards of total offense.
“We went three or four three-and-outs in the first half. We couldn’t get anything established,” Christopher said. “They did a nice job of applying pressure to us and keeping everything in front of them. I thought they played a lot harder and, quite frankly, they beat us. They played a better football game than we did.”
Hull finished 9 of 19 passing with an interception. Ada’s Phillip Coulson had seven receptions for 96 yards.
Arlington, meanwhile, rushed for 141 yards in addition to Russell’s accurate throwing.
“Our offensive line has been one of our strengths in the early part of the season,” McGrain said. “We’ve done a good job both in pass protection and in run blocking. That’s one thing we hope to continue, to be able to lean on those guys to help us out.
“That’s the big thing, if you get time from the big guys up front. It allows you to be better as a playcaller. You can pick and choose your opportunities to take some big shots. We were able to do that. We made some plays in the running game that obviously allowed us to make some big plays in the pass game. That allowed us to build the lead up in the first half and sort of take control of this thing.”
Arlington took its first possession 82 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. The Red Devils picked up six first downs on the drive before Essinger ran in from 5 yards out.
Later in the first, Russell found Jaret Vermillion for a 57-yard TD pass. Evan O’Rear plunged for a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Russell said the Red Devils are happy, but not complacent, with the 2-0 start as Blanchard Valley Conference play begins next week with Arlington facing 1-1 Hopewell-Loudon.
“Last year and the couple of years before that, we’ve started 1-1 or 0-2,” Russell said. “We just have a lot of confidence now, knowing Hopewell has a good team with a good running back. I’m sure our coaches will give us a plan to shut (H-L’s Sam Stickley) down.”
Arlington 12 13 6 6 — 37
Ada 0 0 6 0 — 6
ARL — Essinger 5 reun (kick failed)
ARL — Vermillion 57 pass from Russell (pass failed)
ARL — Berry 32 pass from Russell (kick failed)
ARL — Berry 13 pass from Russell (Metzger kick)
ADA — Hull 19 run (run failed)
ARL — Essinger 82 kickoff return (kick failed)
ARL — O’Rear 4 run (kick failed)
First Downs 14 10
Rushes-yards 29-141 30-90
Passing Yards 196 111
Comp-Att-Int 13-14-0 9-19-1
Punts-Avg. 1-44.0 3-42.6
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-30 4-45
rushing — Arlington, Essinger 13-59, O’Rear 7-45, Foust 5-34, Russell 2-5, Team 1-(minus-2). Ada, Blankenship 14-60, Coulson 5-13, Hull 11-17.
passing — Arlington, Russell 13-14-0-196. Ada, Hull 9-19-1-111.
receiving — Arlington, Berry 6-89, Metzer 4-27, Vermillion 2-64, Essinger 1-16. Ada, Coulson 7-98, Zimmerly 1-8, Blankenship 1-5.